Here are seven reality checks you must face to answer the question, "Where do I really stand?"
1. Great leaders give others the glory.
So many bosses need the spotlight to keep their inflated ego fed. But the most remarkable servant leaders don't need the glory; they understand what they've achieved. They don't seek validation; true validation comes from within. They stand back and celebrate their accomplishments by letting others shine, which helps boost the confidence of others.
2. Great leaders understand how to meet the needs of others.
They are cognizant of what's needed to keep their most valued team members engaged. They ask themselves questions like:
- Do my employees know what is expected of them at work?
- Do my employees have the opportunity to do what they do best every day?
- Have my top performers received recognition or praise for doing good work?
- Do I, or does someone at work, encourage employees' personal and professional development?
3. Great leaders accept constructive feedback.
Many in management roles aren't willing to listen to the constructive feedback because they operate in an "ego-system," not an ecosystem. Leaders open to feedback about their own performance will actively listen -- without the urge to react or defend -- ask questions, get clarification, reflect on the gaps they need to close, and create action plans to improve themselves and benefit their teams.
4. Great leaders speak from the heart.
The best leaders don't sugarcoat the issue to please others or try to look good. They speak truth with emotional honesty, and use words and make decisions that are aligned with their character and integrity. That's why they have great reputations.
5. Great leaders foster healthy conflict and debate.
Top leaders build communities where people are allowed and expected to safely provide input, express differences of opinion, and debate their best ideas. In high-performing and collaborative work cultures, leaders encourage and model open communication, without taking the opinions expressed personally.
6. Great leaders foster an entrepreneurial spirit in the workplace.
They consider their employees as business partners and help make them feel as if they own a small business. When this happens, you have the blueprint for a high-performing organization.
7. Great leaders manage from the bottom-up.
Bottom-up leaders serve the needs of their employees first by inverting the organizational pyramid, which results in greater trust and loyalty. Ajeet Singh, CEO and co-founder of ThoughtSpot, leverages the concept fully for business results. He shared with me over email, "I practice the inverted pyramid concept all the time. In my one-on-ones with my direct reports, I focus the conversation on areas they need help, not on what I need them to do, and then figure out how I can actively contribute to solving the issues facing them."