There are many aspects to becoming a good leader. Specifics of what good leadership means vary from person to person. But in general, a good leader is the most important factor in whether or not one can stay content and productive at work. A bad leader can damage a workplace environment and lower employees’ morale. Being a good leader may not be easy, but with the right know-how and some effort, it’s possible.
How to Be a Good Leader at Work?
Many factors determine how well someone will lead their team, and it takes a little work to become an effective leader.
Here are 29 Examples of a Good Leader at Work:
1. Taking Accountability
One of the most important characteristics to look for in a leader is integrity. As a leader, you must be willing and able to take responsibility when things go wrong.
Accountability, as one of the examples of a good leader, can be tricky, though. It is one thing to be accountable and another thing entirely to hold yourself to a higher standard.
There is a difference between the two, but it can make or break your effectiveness as a leader.
In other words, you need to be prepared to accept responsibility for the good and the bad because you are ultimately responsible for whatever happens at work.
2. Learning from experience
Learning from experience will help you build a strong foundation as a leader. You should learn from your own experiences and avoid making the same mistakes again, but you should also look to others for guidance and advice.
3. Showing your human side
People want to be led by people, not robots or someone that only concerned with data and statistics. You need to shift from thinking of yourself as “the boss” and think of yourself as part of the team.
If you want to be a good leader at work, you need to show your human side. Be informal and talk about things that matter to you on an emotional level. By doing this, people will understand what you value and what inspires you in life.
4. Sharing credit with others
Sharing credit is one of the most effective ways to inspire trust and to get people excited. You may feel tempted to take the credit if something goes well, but sharing credit shows everyone that you have a team-oriented attitude rather than a me-first mentality.
Being a good leader is about inspiring others by setting an example — not taking all of the credit yourself.
5. Letting others shine
You lead by setting examples and allowing other people to shine. As a leader, be confident enough to give over responsibility to your team and let them show what they are capable of.
It takes confidence and self-awareness to know your strengths and when someone else is better suited for a certain role.
6. Being loyal
To be a good leader, you need to have an interest in what your team does and show them that you are thankful for their hard work. Make sure they know that you appreciate their contribution.
7. Believing in your employees
Leadership is the ability to influence others to accomplish goals and follow you willingly. You do not need to persuade people to follow you if you truly believe in them and have faith in their abilities.
When your team sees that you trust them, they will return the favor by doing everything possible to do well for you, themselves, and the company.
8. Inspiring respect
Respect is a vital part of leadership, and with it comes admiration and trust between you and those who work for you.
If you want to be respected by your people, there are certain things that you should never do, such as abandoning your role as a leader.
Good leaders know when their people are not following them. To motivate and inspire your team members, you must earn their respect by being accountable and showing pride in what you can contribute.
9. Being upfront with everyone
Do not sugarcoat any feedback or information — being forthright is essential to building strong work relationships with those around you.
No one likes to be deceived or given half-truths information, so make sure you are clear about your expectations and any new developments at work.
10. Praising all contributions
One of the best ways to inspire team members is by praising their efforts whenever they do something great or lend a hand to you.
You may even make it a weekly habit to have a quick one-on-one conversation with each team member, to discuss the good work they are doing and let them know how you appreciate it.
11. Being open about your weaknesses
It is difficult for most of us to be fully honest with others — especially when those around us know we have weaknesses.
However, if you want to be a leader people trust and respect, it is necessary to open up about your weaknesses — and make sure everything you say is the truth.
12. Encouraging team members
There are always situations where more than one solution could work — and you need to work together with other people on your team to solve problems.
Be ready to listen as they present their ideas and compromise so that everyone can feel involved in the decision-making process.
13. Rewarding good work
If you notice that someone has done a good job or is doing something extra for the team, then reward them with your attention and appreciation.
You will see a big difference in their motivation and commitment to work even harder with enthusiasm.
14. Not getting upset about criticism
No matter how good you are at what you do, there is always room for improvement — and being able to accept criticism is part of what it takes to be a good leader.
When people give you feedback, take the time to listen and think about what they are saying rather than responding with your own opinions or getting defensive.
15. Making yourself available for advice
In any good working relationship, there is an element of trust that each person can depend on the other to be there when help is needed.
As a leader, you need to be willing to ask for advice from others — and not just the people you work with but also from those who have a perspective on the team or project that can help you make better decisions.
16. Taking responsibility
One of the most important things you can do to cultivate people’s trust in you is to admit and take responsibility for your mistakes.
This will make it clear that, unlike those who try to shift blame onto others, you are willing to look hard at yourself and own up to your faults.
You will inspire confidence not just in those who work directly with you but also in everyone.
17. Showing your appreciation
While many people believe that busyness is a sign of success, it is a reflection of inefficiency.
Even if you have too much to do, keep reminding yourself that being busy is not the same as being productive — it is impossible to be productive when your to-do list feels endless.
18. Working toward solutions
You must listen to all sides of an argument before presenting or deciding on a plan of action. But you also need to understand the difference between compromise and surrender.
Compromise means that both sides give a little to reach an agreement, but surrender is when one side gives in to the demands of the other.
19. Not letting ambition blind you
Cynicism and a desire to stay the course can be just as limiting as optimism and hope for change. So, act in authentic ways to who you are and what you know, rather than taking the safest or most popular route.
20. Listening to your gut
Sometimes leaders ignore their instincts because they are afraid of looking foolish or uninformed. One of the biggest fears a good leader has, is losing credibility with those around them.
However, trusting your instincts is a form of self-respect and respect from others. Remember that it takes courage to be confident in what you believe in.
21. Initiating change
The hardest part of initiating change is taking the first step. Even if three people will support your idea, standing alone as a leader is a challenge.
It takes enormous courage to go against an existing culture, regardless of what needs changing. Someone willing to step up and be that change will earn respect from their peers and subordinates.
22. Knowing you can’t be good at everything
You do not have to let your weaknesses get in the way of achieving your goals. Instead, surround yourself with clever people and those who have different skill sets. Be careful, though — do not surround yourself with yes men.
23. Having confidence in your decisions
When you ask for input from others, be confident that your decision is the right one. If it is not a final decision, tell people upfront and encourage them to challenge what you are doing.
Do not change your mind just because someone challenged you for doing what is right — decide, and then stand by it.
24. Developing new leaders
Good leaders see the good in others and ask questions to find out more about what people want, what they care about.
So, identify individuals with the ability to lead others and teach them everything about being a good leader.
It is beneficial for you and the business if you take this responsibility seriously and provide guidance to help them progress their careers.
25. Negotiating for what matters
Sometimes, you have to explain why you need an outcome to get it. It also requires flexibility and being open-minded enough to negotiate till the end with those around you — including your direct reports.
26. Emotional regulation
So many of our decisions are made based on what we feel at a given moment. If you have issues managing your emotions, that can affect how you lead your team.
Build emotional regulation skills so you can stay calm, connect with others, and manage stress effectively.
27. Creating an open environment
Create an environment where people feel comfortable talking with you about what is going on in the business.
You need to be open and honest so that employees do not hesitate to share information, even if it is not good news.
If employees are not willing to share information, you may not have a complete picture of what is going on at work.
28. Setting clear expectations
Leading a team or group of people is not an easy task, but by taking on that responsibility, you run the risk of being held accountable when something goes wrong.
Communicate what you expect from employees and hold yourself liable for what you need to get done.
29. Asking employees what to improve on
Asking employees to share their thoughts on what you can improve on will not only give you a better understanding as an individual, but it also makes your team feel more valued and helps them to connect with the company on a deeper level.
Being a good leader at work requires you to develop solid skills and inspire the people around you.
Do what it takes to become someone who inspires trust and admiration while also holding yourself accountable for what you need to do as an effective leader.
Sometimes it is not what you say that matters — it is more about how you make others feel. When they feel supported and appreciated, it is easier for them to connect with you.
Communicate your values clearly for people to know how they fit into the bigger picture. Set the tone by appreciating what others do as opposed to dwelling on what bothers you about them.