Here's a dismal fact: Since 2000, Gallup has been reporting that nearly 70 percent of U.S. workers have been either "not engaged" or "actively disengaged."

Who's mostly to blame? You've heard this Top 40 hit before: People leave managers, not companies.

Gallup CEO Jim Clifton said it best:

The single biggest decision you make in your job--bigger than all the rest--is who you name manager. When you name the wrong person manager, nothing fixes that bad decision. Not compensation, not benefits--nothing.

The best managers are also great leaders. But leadership isn't just a title; it is something that is earned. Here are six behaviors to master on your way to earning that title.

1. Be radically honest.

When you are radically honest with your employees they are more than likely going to reciprocate that honesty. If you are seeing hard times in the company, tell your employees. Let them know ahead of time that they will not being receiving Christmas bonuses, pay raises, or time off. But compensate for that by ensuring that if they perform and sales are up, they will see those things enter back into the picture in the coming year. It holds everyone accountable and makes them feel like a team. Honesty is always the best policy.

2. Be supportive.

Be supportive of employees who are up for promotions, job changes or going through transitions or difficult circumstances in their personal lives. When leaders show that they care about their employees as human beings and support their employees' future career choices, it helps employees feel more confident in their position and career path, whether it means moving up or moving on.

3. Be willing to give up power.

In successful leaders, you will find that many of them give up the power and entrust it in their team. They do this because they are confident in their team's ability, since trust is freely given as a gift even before it's earned. By giving up their power and pushing their authority down, they empower others to own decisions, this creating a proactive leader-leader culture of success, rather than a reactive leader-follower culture.

4. Be willing to share status by making others better.

Great leaders make others better by doing the unthinkable: sharing status. Since humility is a natural strength of theirs, instead of leveraging their positional power for personal gain, self-promotion or demands for special privileges, they set measures for success on making the people around them succeed by making them better.

5. Be willing to seek input from peers.

Wondering how you are doing on your leadership path? Ask. It takes humility to say "How am I doing?" And even more humility to consider the answer.

6. Be willing to admit being wrong.

This takes a level of rarefied authenticity. The cocky and conceited leader that proclaims his position, and disregards differing opinions or points of view, is a leader that will have few followers. Unforgettable leaders with loyal followers are secure enough to back down graciously when being proven wrong. To them, it's more important to find out what is right than being right. They will also often admit when they're wrong, make a mistake, or don't have all the answers.

Published on: Nov 29, 2016