If you polled your direct reports, what would they say about your leadership?
Would they call you a role model leader?
Would they talk about how amazing you are?
How supportive, how firm but fair, and how consistent you are?
Do you know what they would honestly say?
Think about this, do any of your past supervisors know what you thought of them and their leadership?
Probably at least one knew what you thought of them, right?
How do I know this?
Because we have all had that one leader at some point.
That leader who wants to be who the team needs them to be and therefore consistently asks for feedback and creates an environment where constructive feedback is welcome at all levels.
So here’s the critical question, are you that type of leader?
Being the Role Model Leader
I know it’s hard and I’m not going to spout some cliche comment about why you must be a role model leader.
You already know you must be, I don’t need to convince you.
I just need to help you understand what that role model leader does so that you know how to take action.
Before you read any further, I want you to pause, decide, and commit.
Pause and sincerely ask yourself if you want to be a role model leader. Don’t just blindly keep reading. Without asking yourself the question, you haven’t given yourself an answer either way.
Answer the question.
Whatever your decision is, and I’m inherently assuming the answer is “yes,” then commit to your answer.
Continue reading with the commitment that you will apply what you learn from this point forward.
The Attributes of a Role Model Leader
There are multiple attributes, so let me break down the most fundamental.
Role model leaders know that they must be trustworthy before others will follow them. They work diligently to not only earn someone’s trust but to keep it. This means they live up to their commitments, execute on their promises, and they focus on being the leader the team needs them to be.
- Time Management
They do not spend all of their time at work because they do not expect their employees to spend 100% of their time at work. They arrive at meetings on time, they make adjustments to the calendar in advance when there are conflicts, they use their time well, they follow up timely, meet deadlines, and are effective and efficient.
They model the way they want their team to manage and use their time.
They know where they want the team to go, they share that with the team, get buy-in and like the captain of a ship, they plot the course and they ensure the team stays on course. By maintaining the expected focus, sharing updates, giving praise/challenges, and keeping the team on target they move the team forward.
Every person on the team is valuable and the leader ensures they know it. Because of this, each person has an equal voice and not just the ability to share it, but the expectation that they share it.
You don’t have to guess where you stand with a role model leader. They give you candid and consistent feedback because they want you and the team to succeed.
These are the 5 fundamental attributes of a role model leader.
Start with these. Look at each of the 5 and decide how you will display these attributes in your daily interactions and actions.
At the end of the workday, review your leadership vs. the 5 attributes and give yourself candid feedback.
What did you do well? Where could you improve? Make adjustments for tomorrow.
Once you master these 5, you will start to layer in additional attributes.
You can decide what those are by asking yourself what attributes you would like to have in your own supervisor/leader.
Jot down your ideas.
Then ask your team what they would like to see in your leadership that they aren’t seeing or would like to see you strengthen. Give them the space to share openly and then appreciate them for doing so. Not only will this help you grow, but it will help you make them an irreplaceable team.
The last step in all of this is to remember to be human.
You will mess up. You will make a mistake. As a role model, you know it will happen, you will own it when it does, and you will use those situations to build on the first attribute; trust.