It’s Influence, NOT Authority that makes a Great Leader.

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The corporate world is littered with managers but lacks leaders. Over the course of my career, I only had one manager who was a leader ( Joseph). He made such an impact and influenced my leadership style. It is a rare individual who excels in both managing and leading. Joseph was such an individual, and I would have worked for him in any company.

Today, there are too many individuals in positions who abuse their power. This is why good employees quit jobs.

Here are Five Qualities of Leaders:

1. Integrity & Authenticity go hand in hand. Joseph was honest with employees even though this trait was sometimes unpopular with top management. He often took the slack for his team. If leadership is not authentic, then what is it?

2. Humility. True leaders always aim to serve rather than be served. Being humble makes you more approachable to your followers and allows you to create an environment of open communication and more effective feedback.

3. Empathy plays a critical role in one’s ability to be a successful leader. It sharpens your “people acumen” and allows leaders to develop and maintain relationships with those they lead. Leaders that possess this are interested in the well-being of their people.

4. Communication Skills – Great leaders are able to communicate their vision in such a way that motivates their team. They are great communicators; quick to listen and slow to speak. They possess high emotional intelligence skills.

5. Inspirational – Joseph didn’t need a title to get us to complete tasks. He had our full support. Words such as “Good work team,” “You are the best”, “I trust your judgement” were at the top of his dictionary. Team spirit was high during his reign.

The greatest legacy a leader can leave is having developed other leaders.

Managers are forgotten but true leaders live on in the hearts and minds of followers. Joseph passed on 5 years ago, but I can still remember him and the legacy he left behind. He truly cared about his employees, but sadly this didn’t sit well with top management and he was transferred from our department.

Can a manager become a leader? Yes, it’s possible. Sometimes it just takes being human and developing your people skills. Technical skills alone do not keep employees motivated. In this Artificial Intelligence economy, the new smart is not determined by IQ but by EQ. It’s about listening, relating, collaborating and connecting with your team. This takes humility, authenticity and empathy.

Studies have shown that leading with vision, inspiration, and purpose, produces better bottom-line results as well as happier, more engaged employees. Leadership is a privilege not a right. If we want employees to feel commitment to the organization; we need to show we respect and value them. The “human touch” makes all the difference. If you want to make a lasting positive impact – Don’t be a boss, be a leader!

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