What It Takes to Be A Great Leader
We are fortunate to have an amazing team here at PerkSpot. But, it’s not by accident. A great teams needs a great leader, and our executive team is no exception.
We decided to pick their brains to discover all the traits they think make up a great leader. Here’s what they had to say.
“Being a great leader means knowing that your own growth never stops and that you can learn just as much from your team as what you can teach them.”
What better place to start when discussing leadership than with humility? We’re not talking about the self-deprecating type of humility that never acknowledges accomplishments or speaks up. True humility, however, pushes your team to be the best they can be for the sake of the team and the business, not for selfish gain.
Leaders who exemplify this quality…
- Aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty. There is no work too big or too small for them.
- Acknowledge your value. “When I talk to a manager, I get the feeling that they are important. When I talk to a leader, I get the feeling that I am important.”
- Acknowledge their mistakes. Nothing is more frustrating than having a boss who shifts blame and refuses to take responsibility for their errors. True leaders use their mistakes as opportunities to learn and grow, sharing these mistakes with their team as teachable moments for everyone involved.
“Great leaders always point the way to something bigger than ourselves.”
As CEO, it’s not surprising that Jace would focus on casting vision, arguably the most important thing a CEO can do! As the leader of PerkSpot, it’s of the utmost importance that Jace uses his leadership to lead us towards bigger and better goals, without getting caught up in the muck.
Here’s how great leaders cast vision:
- They make the vision relevant. Take a moment to think about your team and the problems their facing. How does this vision or goal help them to solve problems and reach this goal? Make it relevant to their day-to-day.
- They make the vision actionable. A great vision is nothing without a great plan to push it along. Vision-casting isn’t just a head-in-the-clouds, aspirational story. Great leaders know how to cast vision, while making it actionable for their teams by laying out a clear plan for getting there.
- They make the vision personal. When dealing with a change or working toward a goal, most people will be thinking “what’s in it for me?”. Great leaders know how to address that question for each member of their team, dealing with the emotions they may be experiencing and answering doubts or fears that may arise.
“A great leader is similar to a great football coach- Surround yourself with quality players, develop the best game plan possible with their input, and most importantly enable your team to have the confidence and skills to achieve their goals.”
As head of our sales team, it’s not surprising that Taylor would use a competitive analogy. Taylor knows that in order to get ahead and be successful, he needs each and every part of his team to work effectively. They share a common goal and work together to accomplish it.
So why is it important for leaders to be team players?
- No man is an island. Going back to our first point, humility is of the utmost importance. Being a team player means that you’re working towards something together, not just individually. If you only focus on what your two hands can accomplish, that’s as far as you’ll ever get.
- Each voice needs to be heard. Taylor mentioned building a game plan with everyone’s input. Building a great team means making decisions together. This breeds trust as you move forward toward achieving your goals.
- Every member has their role. No team is made up of the same type of player. You have many personalities and responsibilities. While you may not treat each team member exactly the same, you should treat them all with the same respect. A team player, or better yet, a great coach, will do just that.
“A great leader should be a few things: A good listener, an effective communicator, and an awesome motivator. If you do those things well, the rest will fall into place.”
Justin listed three great qualities that can all be summed up in one word: Mentorship. Mentorship is a popular trend among many great leaders: Steve Jobs had Bill Campbell, Mark Zuckerberg had Steve Jobs, and Bill Gates was mentored by Warren Buffet.
Great mentors, and in turn, great leaders, follow these trends:
- They listen well. Too often leaders treat their one-on-ones as an item on their to-do list versus a chance to deepen their relationship with their employees. Great mentors put the relationship first, asking great questions and even more importantly, listening to the answers!
- They speak honestly. Great mentors are honest, not just with criticisms, but with praises as well. As Justin mentioned, they know how to communicate effectively to produce strong results from their employees.
- They push harder. Motivating others is the most contagious quality of a great mentor and leader. Mentors push others to be the best version of themselves, beyond just company goals and metrics. They focus on character and quality of work.