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By Dr. Marie Gould Harper
Program Director, Management, American Public University
According to a recent article by Marissa Levin in Inc., “A study revealed that when leaders are stressed, their anxiety could be felt across the entire organization, often to the point where good employees will walk away from a job to save their own health. Only 7 percent of employees surveyed believe that their stressed leaders effectively lead their teams, and only 11 percent of employees with stressed leaders are highly engaged at work.”
Leaders bear a heavy load, attempting to further their own careers as well as developing and empowering employees who report to those leaders. However, a few good leaders manage to excel at both functions and their employees appreciate it. The workforce can easily identify good leaders with a spark for excellence and a passion to see others rise.
Effective Direct Reports Indicates the Presence of Good Leaders
However, there are some leaders who do not understand their dual role and believe their success is based on their personal merit alone. The best way to measure the quality of your leadership is to determine how effective your direct reports are.
By not coaching your team members, you open the doors of discontent and disengagement. In addition, the team’s perception of you sends the wrong signals to the other influential individuals in your organization. You do not want your legacy to be that of a bad boss who is incapable of making a direct report’s job better, even in a very good company.
What can you do instead? Work on your personal traits and become the type of leader that your employees are expecting. According to the Australian company 6Q, some of these leadership characteristics include:
- Honesty – Be straightforward and share pertinent information with your employees.
- Delegation – Allow others to participate in projects. Share the work.
- Communication – Provide written and verbal communication so that employees always know your mission, vision and purpose.
- Confidence – Show that you are firm in your foundation. The team needs to believe that you believe.
- Commitment – Work beside your employees and be their cheerleader as they get work done. Know your role and participate in the process.
- Positive attitude – Regardless of how it may look, always look for unseen benefits and share the good news.
- Inspiration – Find ways to keep your team motivated.
Take responsibility for being the best leader you can be. Show your staff that you are willing to take an active role in their professional development and assist them with finding opportunities for advancement.
Your employees must believe that you have their best interests at heart. If you can master this process, you have found a way to keep your employees motivated.
About the Author
Dr. Marie Gould Harper is the Program Director of Management at American Public University. She holds an undergraduate degree in psychology from Wellesley College, a master’s degree in instructional systems from Pennsylvania State University and a doctorate in business from Capella University. She is a progressive coach, facilitator, writer, strategist and human resources/organizational development professional with more than 30 years of leadership, project management, and administrative experience. Dr. Gould Harper has worked in both corporate and academic environments.
Dr. Gould Harper is an innovative thinker and influential leader, manifesting people skills, a systematic approach to problems, organizational vision and ability to inspire followers. She is committed to continuous improvement in organizational effectiveness and human capital development, customer service and the development of future leaders.
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