4 Leadership Tips That Will Make People Adore You

by  John Stoker  |  Leadership Development
4 Leadership Tips That Will Make People Adore You

In our leadership development training, we like to start out by asking people to list as many characteristics as possible about their former leaders that they both abhorred and adored.

This tends to start out as a fun exercise, but then it takes a more serious turn as people start to look at themselves and their own leadership skills and behaviors.

Here is list of leadership traits that people adore:

  • Has a clear vision of how people’s work meets the leader’s expectations
  • Provides timely, clear, constructive feedback
  • Expresses appreciation and gives credit where credit is due
  • Actively listens and answers questions
  • Treats others with respect and kindness
  • Consistently fair in their treatment of others
  • Trains, develops, and grows their people
  • Willing to jump in and help out when things become difficult
  • Has an open door policy and is available
  • Supportive and protective of their people when things go wrong

Obviously, this list is not comprehensive. There are many great leadership traits we could add to the list.

One of the primary skills of strong leaders is excellent communication. Look closely at the list. How many of these items are directly related to good communication? Every item on the list above is impacted by one’s ability to communicate. Indeed, the definition of “conversation” encompasses not only what we say, but also everything we do and how we treat others.

In spite of some people’s best efforts to avoid it, conversations play a large part in a leader’s success. Leaders are often promoted because they possess a high degree of skill and expertise in a given area. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they are good with people or know how to be an effective leader.

Questions That Improve Leadership Skills & Get Results

Here are a few questions you can ask yourself that can improve your leadership skills and help you get the results you want:

  1. How do you treat your people? – To help answer this question, you might ask yourself, “How do my people treat me?” For example, if you are warm and friendly, your people will probably be warm and friendly in return.

    On the other hand, if you are cold and blunt or if your demeanor is unpredictable, shifting between Mother Teresa and Attila the Hun for example, your people will likely go to great lengths to avoid you. Be approachable and consistent in dealing with others and they will reciprocate.

  2. Do your people understand how what they do contributes to the success of the organization? – Don’t assume they know this even though it may be obvious to you. Recent research indicates that between 70-95% of people do not know how what they do contributes to their organization’s success.

    If most individuals lack this understanding and you haven’t conveyed it to them, then you are missing the opportunity to increase their motivation and the likelihood that they will be as productive as they could be. Ask them if they know their impact on the organization’s success, listen to their response, and be prepared to fill in any holes.

  3. Do you express appreciation for a job well done to each person on your team at least once a week? – I once had a woman in class who had worked for a major telecommunications company for 19 years tell me that in all that time, no one had ever told her “thank you.” Unfortunately this example is not uncommon.

    People need to know they add value and make a difference to the organization, and they need to be acknowledged for their efforts. It takes so little effort to say, “I noticed you did ________ and the impact of that was _______. Thank you.” Leaders often don’t realize how doing this regularly can positively impact their organization, so they don’t. Good leaders do.

    A number of years ago, I decided I needed to express more appreciation at home. I determined that I would try to say one positive thing to each member of my family each day. That evening, my wife fixed a wonderful meal. After we finished, I told her that I greatly appreciated her efforts that evening in making sure we had such a wonderful dinner. Stunned, she looked at me and said, “Are you sick or something?”

    I knew right then that I was in trouble. Obviously this was something I wasn’t doing often enough. Look for opportunities to catch people doing the right thing, then tell them privately and specifically what they did well and the positive impact it made. Then thank them and walk away. You’ll make their day.

  4. Are you getting the results you want? – If you are not, take a look at yourself and review the clarity and specifics of the directions you are giving. If you are vague, then you are leaving the interpretation of your instructions up to your listener.

    If you didn’t get what you wanted and you were clear, the next step is to sit down with the individual and discuss why they got the results they did and what they could do next time to improve the outcome.

You can become an effective leader. As in anything else you do, awareness of what is working and what is not is the first step. Then make a plan of action to correct or improve what’s needed.

Ask yourself what you adore and abhor in a leader and them ask yourself if what you are doing is worthy of adoration. Being deliberate about your leadership development will improve your results.

Have you ever had a leader you adored?
Photo Credit: Fotolia iQoncept

About The Author

Articles By john-stoker
John Stoker is the author of “Overcoming Fake Talk” and the president of DialogueWORKS, Inc. He has been in organizational development work for over 20 years helping leaders and individual contributors to learn the skills to assist them in achieving superior results. He has experience in the fields of leadership, change management, dialogue, critical thinking, conflict resolution, and emotional intelligence.  »  View Profile

What People Are Saying

John Smith  |  21 Oct 2015  |  Reply

HI, John – very interesting and useful post.

I love your use of the term “adore” here, but I would probably say “respect” or even “engage with”, because that is the point of all your excellent observations about communications.

Each one of your four points is right on in terms of its importance to us as leaders. If we are not asking these questions and considering these dynamics, we are operating in a vacuum … and our organizations probably show it.

I especially enjoyed your comment about others reflecting what you project to you. This is key to understanding yourself, but I see many folks who will look everywhere but toward themselves as the possible reason why employees are working as needed.

As goes the boss, so goes everyone else, to a large degree. An important point here might be that, at least in my experience, this is not about everyone acting the same, but rather that our modeling of effective behavior moves the center mass of our workforce more toward the effective side of the spectrum.

I believe that when I am positive and even chipper in my daily work, those who work with me will tend to be more chipper than their “normal”. For example, the person who already lives in “Chipper” land will just blossom, while those who are naturally more reserved or even morose will become more friendly and relaxed. They will NOT become clones of me or of the naturally chirpy folks in the group. Just more than they would be otherwise ….

Thanks for a nice post:)


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