Week ago I was speaking in interesting panel in “Data & Tech Summit” about “C-Suite Collaboration”. One of the interesting conversation topics was about characteristics of good leader and I came out with three key ones (in addition to rambling about the merits of auftragstaktik):
You what to expect from good leaders. They might be strict but they are strict always. They might be ruthless, but they are ruthless always. Employees need to know what to expect from their boss. Clients need to know what kind of person they are dealing with. Good leaders are driven by strong vision and belief on where to take the company and they follow that vision and belief system consistently. Too reactive and unpredictable bosses will result to employees who are not clear on what they are expected to do and not clear on what is company culture. Naturally changes and quick decisions are needed in fast-moving industry, but they cannot be too reactive. Also good leader needs to clearly articulate the reasons when changing the course.
Good leader is not jargon machine. “We want to be seamless customer-centric multi-channel service company” would not be something you want to hear from your leader. Good leaders are able to articulate the driving vision very clearly to everyone: employees, customers and other stakeholders. Because the vision and the goals are clear, they also become catchphrases in the company and mantras to share also outside the company.
Great visionary leaders are not (primarily) cost-cutters or maintainers of status quo. They need to be curious about the industry and where the business is moving. Through curiosity companies find their new sources of growth. Creating and cultivating the culture of curiosity is important. If employees asking questions and challenging ways of working, eventually the company will perform better. Good leader challenges but is also expecting to be challenged herself.
It is relatively easy to be a good manager, but it is really hard to be a good leader.