4 Telltale Signs of a Good Leader

Micromanagement hurts your business. According to a workplace health survey by MHA , 74% of respondents felt micromanaged and hindered by trivial activities at work, which is detrimental to businesses looking to attract and retain talent. The survey also found that 70% of respondents were actively looking for new job opportunities, a major problem for businesses given the currently candidate driven market.

Does a Leader Need to Have All the Answers?

If micromanagement is so bad for business, why are there still so many? One explanation is that the fear of appearing less than smart drives a leader to become a micromanager. According to Forbes, 48% of bosses like to be seen as expert and authority figures, and 41% of leaders have a very strong desire for power.

While there may be people who naturally turn into Gollum at the face of power, a more likely reason for the number of micromanagers in the market is perhaps the lack of training for managers to be good leaders.

In fact, studies by Julia Milner, a professor and specialist in leadership and leadership coaching shows that the lack of training in proper leadership is why we see so many micromanagers. In one of her studies, she found that much of what many people engage in when tasked with the responsibility of leading and coaching  others was what they classified as “motivational micromanaging”.

What motivational micromanaging involved was the giving of advice with little wiggle room, paired with minor devices of motivation. Participants engaged in motivational micromanagement were easily frustrated and dissatisfied when participants disagreed with their approach. While both parties ultimately  means well, their time when engaged in motivational micromanagement proved to be frustrating.

How to be a True Leader in an Era of Micromanagement

So is there a silver lining for those out there trying to become better leaders?

Well, yes.  From the same study, they found that when given the right devices and training, people were able to drastically improve their skills in coaching and leading others. With that said, here are the 4 tips to being a better leader and improving the work culture within your company.

1. A Good Leader Learns to Speak Last

The common misconception is that leaders need to know everything, be the expert, and have all the answers. In reality, a good leader is one who brings out the best of others for a cause. Too often do we find leaders who are quick to give advice without fully understanding the matter at hand.

By being a leader who first listens not only allows you to be informed but is also a great way to build respect and confidence in others.

2. Knows What Questions to Ask

The point of withholding your opinion till the end is to allow room for others to express and come up with their own ideas and solutions. As such, it is also important that you as a leader ask open ended questions that nudges people to formulate their own answers. This way, your solutions is not restricted to your knowledge and instead holds the wisdom of everyone involved.

3. Assists Others in Seeing Beyond

Good leaders act as the glue in the team. Their key role is in ensuring that all parties are moving in the right direction and achieve this by taking the time to talk things through, avoiding any misunderstanding in the way.

Leaders are the ones to provide the team with a grand vision and direction as well as motivating the team by illustration, helping each member realise their part and value in the greater scheme of things.

4. Provides Constructive Feedback for Growth

Growth can be a great motivation for many people. By providing both positive and constructive feedback to the team, leaders help others readjust and grow to be better that what they do, making this a powerful marker of a great leader.

A habit of good and constructive feedback also builds a strong culture of change and development, allowing the team to stay agile.

Blog_3 take home message_HRO

Allow people to come up with their own answers
Avoid projecting your ideas on others before taking the time to listen.  Give people an opportunity to formulate their own ideas by giving them the space and freedom to think.

Be reflective of the employee journey
Nowadays, you cannot only think about your corporate branding, but also the employer branding. By carefully evaluating the employee experience and journey, you’re communicating to each person that they matter and will be able to better cultivate a company culture of people who care.

Stop thinking you need to know it all
There is without a doubt some great and talented people out there in the market. However, a  great leader isn’t one with all the answers, so stop trying to be that or hiring people who claim to know it all. Instead, learn to appreciate those with the markers mentioned above who are able to guide and coach others without trying to hold someone by their hands.

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