Everyone has probably had the misfortune of working for a bad boss. There’s lots of different types, unemphatic and uncaring leaders that see their team as machine cogs not real people; blame ready bosses that are quick to deny accountability & point out who’s fault something is, and of course the poor communicator. A leader that doesn’t keep their team in-the-know, update them on important conversation or assumes that everyone already agrees with them.
Pointing out faults is easy, there’s a never ending list, and it’s impossible to please everyone so there’s always someone that will have “feedback” for you. What’s harder is identifying key skills that will make a good leader, either in yourself or in a prospective boss. There’s lots of good articles that detail what good leaders are made from, like this one from HBS and this one from Forbes. Put together they all describe the boss everyone wants and that nobody can find.
I did it though, I found a great leader!
Whilst at the AWS “Women Who Build” seminar, I was listening to Siew Choo SOH (Managing Director, Consumer Banking, DBS) speak. At first she came across as an exceedingly tough character, but the more I listened the more confident I became that it would be excellent working for her. Why? It was clear she was results orientated and very driven (possibly a little intimidating), but she had a heavy focus on developing her team. Each one of her answers contained something about encouraging people to be brave, grow or evolve personally.
Leadership is not about micro management. To really be an effective leader you must be a servant leader. Help remove roadblocks for your team and help them achieve their (personal) goals. That’s how you will achieve more than just the company KPIs.
A leader that is continually investing in you is a leader that I would be happy to work for. They’ll get more from you because you’re growing – but importantly you’re not grinding away and wasting your time. You’re getting yourself ready for something better or something more.
Whilst there’s certainly more than just being nurturing to leadership, there’s no question that leaders that protect and nurture their team will be rewarded with substantial loyalty, and great performance. Providing a platform for the leader to grow themselves as well. That’s a great virtuous cycle.
What type of leader are you working for? More importantly what type of leader are you going to be?