What Defines a Leader

Is someone a leader because they have a title in a company?  Maybe, but it takes more than a title.  It’s not about just about having a team or being in charge of a group of people.  Nor is it just about being a department head and in charge of budgets, giving reviews, and going to meetings.  Sure that and more is important but we’re talking about being a leader.

What is it that defines a leader?  There are tens of thousands upon thousands of managers, supervisors, directors, and more in the workforce.  If the employees were asked if their manager, director, supervisor is a leader, what would be the response?  It is my belief that a leader would ask that question to the employees.  What better feedback can someone get than the people that are affected by that person?

There are many things that define a leader and below are listed a few of them.

1. A leader is involved.

Some would say they are involved because they are at work every day.  That’s not what I mean.  It is knowing what is going on with the employees and the work being performed.  Leadership is being proactive rather than reactive. Leadership involves identifying potential problems and solving them, allowing employees to make decisions, and finding new and innovative ways.  It is about getting the team to think and solve.

2. A leader has a vision.

Vision.  Where are we going?  It’s a wonderful thing.  If it becomes the same day after day and the employees do not know what they are working towards, if anything, it will affect attitudes and productivity.  Boredom makes the mind wander with it becoming the chore of sameness.  No thinking is required.  Challenge them.  Get ideas.  How can it be done smoother or better?

3. A leader believes in the team.

We see it in sports a lot, or dramatic plays, or school concerts, projects, etc. where having someone believe you will make a difference gets the adrenaline flowing.  There is a feeling of winning and certainly not wanting to disappoint.  There are great feelings about being able to complete the task and get recognized for the effort.  Even daily when the leader believes in the team it makes a huge difference.

4. A leader serves the team

Yes you implement planning and it is you that see it is carried out.  Yes the employees need and should do their jobs at all times.  Yes it is you making correction along the way.  And yes it is you making some very hard decisions along the way.  Yes it is your responsibility as the leader,  to have the best team possible perform daily.  But it is also part of being a leader to not blame but instead get the obstacles out of the way that may include further training, adjustments, different or better equipment, or finding new ways.

5. A leader mentors.

Who inspires you as a leader?  Why?  It’s probably someone who gets awards.  Someone who get things done and is on time.  Probably someone who is talked about well by the team members.  It is a person who cares about the job, the employees,  and the company.  It is also someone who holds the lines, expects a lot, but is extremely fair to people. And it is someone who listens to the team to name a few.

Leaders are always becoming.  By that I mean they are bettering themselves, are not afraid to learn more, can listen, try new things, and care about the team.  Leaders can see where things need to go and plan to get them there.  They are involved with seeing what is and is not working.  Leaders are about doing what it takes to serve the customer.