Three Characteristics of a Good Leader.

Whether you are a teacher, a parent or the CEO of a major corporation, if you expect respect and hope to have a happy and productive team there are three leadership characteristics you must demonstrate.

1.  Good leaders clearly communicate expectations.
Let your team, family, or students know what you expect. There is a saying that expresses the frustration of many team members who follow a leader that is vague on what he or she expects.  The saying is this:  “I took a shot in the dark.”  Measurable goals and a comprehensive strategy to achieve them must be in sight at all times.

No one wants to take a shot in the dark.  There is nothing more demoralizing than not knowing what the expectations are.  Busy work without an objective or measure of progress demotivates.  A leader who keeps shouting fire, fire, fire, but never presents a clear target to aim at, can eventually expect to have the shots turned on him.

Oh wait. There is one thing that is more demoralizing than not knowing expectations.  It is a leader that keeps moving the target and doesn’t let anybody know.
2.  Good leaders keep the target stationary.  
Hopefully the core values and ultimate goal of a family or team will remain constant.  But as a leader there will be times when the strategy to achieve that goal has to change.  Good leaders keep the entire team aware of any target that is moved.

You can change you mind as long as you don’t expect your team to read your mind. 

Let your team know that what rules have changed.  Show them the location of the new target with plenty of time for them to adjust their aim.  Keep the bulls eye in plain sight.

3.  Good leaders listen to the voices of those they lead.  

They make an effort to respond to those voices. A leader that acknowledges the needs of a team and then ignores those needs destroys moral.  A leader that acknowledges the needs of a team and confesses that she will not be able to respond to all those needs will be respected.

If you are my leader, I will take a bullet for you if you do everything in your power to address my concerns, even if you can’t meet them all.  If I believe in your integrity and am invested in the outcome, I will regroup and find a way to get it done.

I have been a good leader and I have led poorly. 

I have worked tirelessly for good leaders and labored under poor leadership. 

I love following good leaders.  I want to be a good leader.  I hope my team and my family will read this post and will help me take the best steps to keep us excited about the target and aiming in the right direction.

What kind of leaders have you had?  How did their leadership affect how you felt about your work?