Leadership is one of those interesting qualities. A lot of people are thrust into leadership positions. Some do well – others languish. Others seek it out as a means to their own end. Business owners and managers invariably have to be leaders in some capacity. That is unless they choose to be absentee owners. The best measure of success as a leader is feedback by those under one’s control or dominion. By definition, in order to be a leader there must be those who are led. How do you measure up?

Do you need to be nice and compassionate and supportive to be an effective leader? No, not really. But consider that if you rule with an iron fist and the masses cringe whenever you come near, do you really expect them to have your back? Do you really expect them to care about you or your business interests? Loyalty invariably comes from people feeling that they are appreciated and empowered. Oh, and well taken care of. It’s not always about the money either although fair compensation is part of the game. Nothing like having a strip torn off one’s back to reduce the loyalty levels.

Consider also that if people are not really happy with their situation, that a better situation will be hard to pass up. Can you really afford staff turnover considering that they take any training and skills with them? The iron fist may come with a human cost and that in turn comes with less efficiency.

In all of this, I’m not saying that you need to be best buddies with all of your staff. You can have a perfectly good business relationship without having to live your lives in close proximity, especially after business hours. Just consider how much of life everyone spends at their occupation. It makes sense that this time be in a climate of respect and fulfillment. Otherwise, what’s the incentive to stay?

One of the best litmus tests of a person’s leadership qualities would come when being put in charge of a number of volunteers. In this scenario, people offer freely of their time for one cause or another. At any time, anyone of them could leave. Often the only skin they have in the game is their time and there is no compensation for this except possible praise and the knowledge of a job well done. In many cases volunteering does come with additional expenses to the volunteer over and above the time spent. So why would anyone put up with any kind of abuse from a supervisor in this scenario? Easier to take one’s ball and go home. Volunteer opportunities abound and people will gravitate to the good ones.

At the end of the day it really comes down to treating others as you would want them to treat you. This is not rocket science or is it a new concept. I believe most if not all religions have this as part of their doctrine. So…. how about you? How do you measure up?

Have an amazing week.

Herb