After surveying thousands of organizational leaders, interviewing those that stand out on the "Follow My Lead" Podcast and being a true student of leadership for many years, it's evident great leaders are hard to come by. It's also clear they hone their leadership craft by relentlessly pursuing the development of their skills everyday because they know:
Leadership is a journey, not a destination
If your leader shows these 10 signs, consider yourself extremely lucky and learn everything you can from them during your time together:
They stay later than you
Your leader is the last person to leave because they understand their actions speak louder than their words. Even on days they leave before you or are out of the office you know they care you are hard at work.
They ask for your advice
They trust you. They recognize you're a valuable resource to solve problems and involve you in making impactful decisions. When they make a choice not to use your advice, they communicate the reason why.
They say "we" more than "I"
The easiest thing for a person to do is to look out for number one. Your leader understands the importance of giving the glory to others, but the first to take blame when things go wrong.
They "love" you
No, I am not talking about any kind of Human Resources violation here. I am talking about, "to contribute to your long term success and well being." You leader wants the best for your long term career and consistently shows it through their actions.
They help you be more disciplined
Most people assume leaders provide discipline. In fact, it's very much the opposite. It's the leaders job to "promote standards in order for an individual to choose to be at their best." Your leader doesn't choose for you, they help encourage you by providing clear and consistent standards, and you secretly like it!
They inspire you to achieve
There is nothing worse than showing up for work every day just to punch the time clock. Life is too short to be mediocre. Your leader challenges you and gives you the freedom/tools/resources to achieve things that you never thought possible.
They motivate you beyond money
It's easy to throw money at people to motivate them, but your leader knows what make you tick beyond the almighty dollar. It's nice to receive a little something extra, but when the novelty of money wears off, motivation has to be stirred in other places. They have observed or asked what motivates you and then put these things into action.
They ask for more than you think you're capable of
People typically won't stretch themselves past the point of being uncomfortable. We rarely stretch ourselves beyond that, because of a perceived limit. Your leader believes in your ability and challenges you to go far outside of your comfort zone.
They have a sense of humor
Your leader knows work is serious business, but they typically don't go more than a day without laughing at something funny. A lot of times they aren't the ones being funny, but they embrace a culture that makes time for a good laugh.
They are generous
It's easy for a wealthy person to be generous with money, but harder for them to be generous with their time. Your leader shows his generosity with with their most limited resource: time.
My hope is that every person gets the opportunity to have at least one great leader at some point in their professional career because the impact on their will be so great it's too hard to measure.