I recently read an article in Inc. magazine about the traits of successful leaders, and as I read them over and thought about my own experiences in the work world and at my current company, I wholeheartedly agreed with all of them.
One was “care about your people.” The article quoted Dr. Jim Loehr as saying, “Care about your people more than the results, and they will do everything that they humanly can to make your business work.”
Another was “value your employees’ whole being” – meaning their emotional, mental, physical and even spiritual well-being. I’m not sure the tough guys in the room would agree with this one, but it is 2021 and I would hope we’ve moved from the old school to the new school.
Lead with empathy. One of the best bosses I ever had visited me almost daily to ask how me and my family was doing. And he really meant it.
Gain perspective. This is a tough one for me. Like other people, so many times, I want to just believe what I believe while ignoring others’ opinions. But sometimes we need to step back and take in all opinions and hear all voices before making a decision.
Be there to offer support and help. The article states, “It is up to leaders to be able to help remove the roadblocks from employees’ paths that keep them from running on all cylinders.” That reminds me of something Kevin Stefanski, head coach of the Cleveland Browns who just led the team to their most successful season in 18 years, said all last season: “It’s my job to put my players in a position to succeed.” And when he did not do that, he readily took the blame.
All this advice flies in the face of the “tough guy” leadership that is prevalent in the auto body industry, but it comes from some really successful business leaders like Warren Buffett and Jim Loehr (mentioned earlier). As you navigate 2021, keep these traits in mind as you strive to become a better leader.