Be a Good Leader: People Will Want to Work with You
By Tony Daniello, AVP, Support Services, CDI
Uphold shared core values, recognize individual and team achievements, and renew your commitment to the company culture. In short, be the best leader you can be and you won’t have to figure out how the work will be done. Inspired work teams will want to get their work done to align with the expectations of their leader.
Hands down, Simon Sinek is one of the best leadership speakers and motivators. His books Start with Why and Leaders Eat Last as well as his TED talks have inspired me to think about the way I lead and the way I want others to see me as a leader.
Simon Sinek summarizes leadership best when he says, “Leading is not the same as being the leader. Being the leader means you hold the highest rank, either by earning it, good fortune or navigating internal politics. Leading, however, means that others willingly follow you—not because they have to, not because they are paid to, but because they want to.” To view more quotations, visit www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/3158574.Simon_Sinek.
Yesterday, I was reminded of that passage again. As I sat down and contemplated what Simon Sinek said, I reflected on my career. It took me back to my days as a gas station attendant, my time with Tommy Hilfiger, my early experience at CDI, and eventually up to where I am today with one of the fastest growing companies nearly two decades later.
I also looked back at all my mentors, bosses, managers, and leaders, remembering what I saw in each of them. Often this simple act of reflection renews my spirit and strengthens my pursuit of current goals.
Cherished lessons learned from these career reflections continue to guide me today as I strive to achieve the most I can in my role as a leader. Allow me to share some of the most important points. These best practices will strengthen your leadership potential and inspire the people around you:
- Serve as an Extension of the Company Culture: Company culture is a very important reason individuals want to work for a company. As a leader, it is important to be able to extend the culture to all team members as it has been extended to you. Extending the company culture can include getting to know each team member on a personal level, appreciating a healthy work-life balance, and understanding where people best fit within the company. A positive company culture keeps individuals engaged in their jobs and inspires them to perform at their best.
- Believe in Core Values: A leader must often draw upon their core values and uphold company values while on-site, traveling, and communicating. To demonstrate these values, leaders must truly believe in them and understand what strong values can bring to the table. As a leader, portraying these values can help motivate individuals, especially if they share the same values.
For example, I recently hired an individual that wanted to work for the company because we both shared the same core values. Would you rather have direct reports and new hires on your team who were simply there to collect a paycheck or who were inspired to work for you because you shared the same core principles? For example, studies show that team members want to produce quality work faster and work longer hours for a leader who cultivates a sense of purpose, fairness, autonomy, and mastery.
- Inspire by Leading: One of the main goals for any leader is to inspire people. People will not want to work for someone if they don’t bring out the best in them. I personally feel that one of the best ways to inspire people is to challenge them to break out of their comfort zone. Positive reinforcement, encouragement, and coaching can carry individuals beyond their baseline comfort level and transform their lives forever. Ultimately, strong leaders help inspire individuals to take further action on their own.
- Practice Positive Recognition: Positive recognition can take many forms. As a leader, it is important to allow team members to take credit for work performed, for a job well done, or for an idea that had a positive impact. A leader ensures that their team members can achieve their goals and get the recognition they deserve. A leader will always put the best interests of the team before his or her own needs. Their focus remains fixed on maintaining the health of the organization and on achieving success.
For example, we recently produced a video webinar with two of our partners. My first thought was, “Who am I going to get to perform in these demo videos?” Not because I didn’t know how to, but because I wanted to bring out the best in our engineers, to cast the spotlight on their talents, and to help get them the industry recognition they deserved.