• Karen Woodward

How To Be a Leader

Updated: Apr 6, 2020

I never understood what made a good leader until I worked with one. Until that point, I’d worked with bosses who were uninterested at best, and abusive at worst. But when you work with a real leader, it feels safe to be yourself, you know there is someone who will give you enough room to learn and grow, but will catch you if you’re about to fall. I’ve learned that a good leader:

Is transparent.Obviously not everything can be revealed to an entire company. But a good leader keeps their employees in the loop with what information they can share. A good leader communicates to employees before they have the chance to reach conclusions without facts.

Admits mistakes. It’s a powerful thing when a boss admits to making a mistake. Instead of making people angry, it bonds them together as they move forward to fix it. This is true of anyone in the workplace actually. When a co-worker admits to making a mistake, we’re all more likely to help them fix it. Once a mistake is fixed, it’s pretty easy to move from it. But if they try to cover it up, or point the finger elsewhere, we’re more likely to resent them and toss them under a bus.

Learns what their employees at good at and lets them do it. It’s rare to find a boss who does this. Usually people have their job titles and they fill their roles and the tasks within them. A good boss sees what an employee is good at and lets them do more of it. If they have weak areas, a good leader either helps them learn how to get better, or assigns the task to someone who is good at it.

Now I’m going to embarrass the leader that I had in mind when I wrote this. Looking at you, Monique Elwell. When we first worked together years ago, I absorbed everything you did and I paid it forward when I was managing my own teams. I’ve been called a good leader, but that’s because I learned from the best.

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