What Makes A Good Leader?

Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman wrote, “People leave managers not companies. So much money has been thrown at the challenge of keeping good people – in the form of better pay, better perks and better training- when, in the end, turnover is mostly a manager issue.”

Most of us have had the opportunity to work with different bosses and managers in our career. We think some of them were exceptionally good, some were not so good, while others were just nightmares and we pray we never have to work with bosses like that again. But what are the specific traits leaders display that qualify them as good, bad, and ugly?

To simplify things, we’ve created a ready reference for you to figure out in which category your manager or leader falls… if you aren’t already sure! Here are the top five characteristics for each category.

The Good:

  • Communicates effectively and regularly
  • Gives constructive feedback
  • Listens to you patiently and tries to understand your point of view
  • Acknowledges and recognizes your work
  • Highly approachable

The Bad:

  • Poor communication skills
  • Irregular and inconsistent with feedback
  • Self-absorbed and egotistic
  • Highly biased and shows favoritism
  • Is a dictator and never listens to what others have to say

The Ugly:

  • Shows a bully attitude to the team
  • Abusive to the team
  • Belittles his or her team in front of others
  • Never takes ownership or responsibility
  • Selfish and thinks only of his or her own benefits (promotion and monetary)

For those good leaders and managers in your organization, let them know how much you appreciate their attitude and how much you look up to them for your professional growth. There is a lot to learn from such managers. In Coffman’s words, “A great manager is someone who says, ‘You come to work with me, and I’ll help you be as successful as possible; I’ll help you grow. I’ll help you make sure you’re in the right role; I’ll provide the relationship for you to understand and know yourself. And I want you to be more successful than me.

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For bad managers, organizations can conduct some training and coaching sessions if they are open to it. Through the right coaching and mentoring, there are high chances to convert these bad managers into good ones. There is hope yet!

There is far less scope of improvement for ugly managers. Their insecurities run deep and their negative behavior can hamper the success of the organization and the well-being and happiness of its employees. Organizations will have to spend a lot of time and effort for the learning and development of such managers to at least bring them up to the level of ‘bad’ managers.

In which category of leader do you fall into? The best way is to ask your team or those who are responsible for giving you feedback. Then we encourage you to act on the feedback to keep improving your leadership effectiveness.

To discuss your findings and other leadership development matters, you can get in touch with us at hello@focusu.com. If you want to deep dive into leadership and related topics, you can go and check out our blogs here.

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