Everyone wants to work under a good leader – in the annual Singapore 100 Leading Graduate Employers Survey 2021 conducted by GTI Media Singapore (S100 Survey), 75.1% of respondents wanted to work under a good leader. Good leaders, though, don’t necessarily have to be managers. While it’s possible to mix both (like Jack Ma and Elon Musk, start-up founders who are both good leaders and successful managers), the biggest difference is that a good leader leads from the front, and doesn’t have to hold a high position in a company. Managers, though, usually have people working under them, and direct them accordingly.
There are different types and styles of leadership. For instance, there is transformational leadership, where leaders usually push employees outside of their comfort zone in order to help them grow. There’s also coach-style leadership, where leaders nurture individuals in their teams according to their strengths.
However, at the crux of it all is a common set of qualities that makes good leadership. Knowing what makes good leaders can help you to look out for the right mentors at your new job or help you make the decision if you’re on the fence whether to sign on after probation.
#1: They take time to understand you, your personality and your aspirations
Top leaders in the workforce understand that every individual has different personalities, skills, strengths, weaknesses, and motivations. By knowing each team member, they can play to your strengths and help you tackle your weaknesses.
Because these leaders take the time and effort to focus on your unique expertise, they can build strong teams that are able to leverage on a variety of skills and get work done. This will lead to a high job satisfaction and fulfilment, and keep you motivated!
#2: They keep motivation and morale high
Clearly communicating a vision is the foundation of leadership, but the ability to continually keep people motivated and inspired to deliver that vision is what makes a good leader. It’s not easy to keep a team motivated and morale high, especially when the initial enthusiasm fades, or the team needs to reconfigure the workflow.
But because good leaders work to connect motivation with your individual needs and goals, they ensure that you’re motivated both intrinsically and extrinsically (link to the article “How to Succeed in a High-Pressure Job”). And because you can now find meaning in what you do, you’ll be motivated – which leads to better performance and higher morale!
3: They foster a business culture of support, collaboration and cohesion
When a group of individuals can combine their skills and talents to work towards a common goal – all in harmony and with minimum conflict – everyone wins. When there’s a safe environment where colleagues feel free to collaborate, job satisfaction will rise, and the company (and even clients!) will reap the benefits.
A toxic workplace rife with politics isn’t a collaborative one, and conflicts and drama only serve to disengage employees from the common goal. Nobody wants to work in this sort of conditions, and if they are, you’ll find them disengaged and nursing a desire to move on.
#4: They’re comfortable with problem-solving
Stumbling across serious issues is a perennial problem in the workforce, and can range from uncooperative clients to workplace conflict. Good leaders are able to identify these problems, take a step back to assess the situation and nip them in the bud with the right combination of skills and resources.
They’re also able to make the problem-solving process much more efficient by recognising that each problem is unique and coming up with different strategies to tackle each.
#5: They are good listeners
Because good leaders actively listen and take the time to understand those who make up their teams, they can quickly build rapport, and translate that into smooth workflow. Moreover, they can also further engage you by listening to what your personal interests and career goals are, and aligning them with the company’s vision and mission. With this, you’ll be able to raise your level of productivity and effectiveness, as you’ll also quickly be able to discern the results of your work in the tasks you’re assigned to.
Good leadership is essential, and leaders need to lead by example, no matter the time and place. In the workplace, for example, they need to be willing to put in the hard work and dedication to their jobs in order to excel and keep the team glued together. So, although this list isn’t exhaustive, take note of these signs that you’re under a good leader – and if you are, take the opportunity to spread your wings and fly under their guidance!