There are several traits that make you a leader worth following:
Expertise. Do you know your business? If you don’t, you’re in trouble and you better educate yourself. Once your employees get a whiff of incompetence, you will never be a leader to them. You will remain merely a “boss” and they will remain subordinate employees just going through the motions. So make sure you take time out of your day to oversee all aspects of your business. They will thank you for it, and they will follow you for it. Remember, leadership is performance, it is not a position and it’s a daily choice you make.
Work Ethic. Do you go the extra mile? Make a habit of it. Work ethic speaks to the core of your character. It is also highly contagious. Strong work ethic is more than the amount of energy you exhaust and goes beyond the hours you put in. It’s more accurately determined by what you do and how you do it. Employees will mimic your behavior, so work smart. That is, work at a pace that is efficient and you will encourage your work force to do the same.
Teachable. As the saying goes, “what the average call excellent, the excellent call average.” A leader should always be striving to improve, which is why it is imperative that you remain open to feedback and suggestions from your employees. If you assume a “been there, done that” attitude, you will come across as a know-it-all and I can think of very few things that demotivate a workforce more. Remember the buck stops with you so don’t blame anyone for your failures. Admit your mistakes, learn from them, and share what you have learned. You should expect your employees to do the same.
Honesty. Do you lie when it suits you? Do your employees see that you are honest with customers and forthright in your advertising? Working for a liar is unsettling, because employees know that if you lie to others, you’re likely lying to them. Trust is everything between employees following your leadership. Tell the truth always, even when it is not advantageous in the moment.
Reliability. Do you keep your commitments? Do what you say you’re going to do when you said you were going to do it. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself holding the bag one day and no one follows a leader who throws stones in his glass house.
Consistency. Leaders worth following do the right things all the time, not just when it is easy or convenient. Trust me when I tell you that being a leader worth following is the most cost effective way to grow your business and you’re bottom-line.