I have quit jobs before due to poor management, poor leadership. Nothing annoys me more than a smug manager or boss making you feel like you're not worth what you know you're worth.
Being a leader is difficult, but once you begin to take it out on your team, you know that you've failed. What exactly does it take to be a leader?
Many things: vision, work ethic, respect, understanding, problem-solving skills, understanding… It's difficult to say exactly what makes a good leader, but it's much easier to pinpoint what makes a bad one:
1. Say “It can't be done.”
When there is a will, there is always a way — you just need to find that willpower and hang onto it. It's difficult to stay motivated and focused on the prize day-in and day-out. Our minds like to wander and when met with hardship or difficulty, we have a tendency of shying away. A great leader never tells his team that a goal simply can't be achieved.
A goal may not be achievable in the manner that was first planned out, but there is surely another way. Find doorways where you hit a wall and your team will get the rest done. You're the captain of the ship; you have to find a way to steer the ship away from possible wreckage.
2. Monitor their every action every second of the day.
If you want to maximize productivity, then minimize surveillance. You need to be able to trust your team to get the job done. Of course, this means building a team that you trust. Once you have a group of people that you know to be smart, diligent and passionate, you should give them as much freedom as possible. Giving employees room to work at their own pace, in whichever environment they choose (whether it be home, office or Starbucks) with as much creative freedom as possible.
Studies have shown that people work more efficiently when they work on their own terms — assuming that they are passionate about their work and the company's goals. Give your employees room to breathe and have them work on their own projects from time to time. Creativity is had to buy; take it when it's given.
3. Say “I'm going to take tomorrow off. You're all coming in though.”
You are just as much part of the team as the rest of your team. Once your company begins growing, it will become more and more difficult to keep track of everyone, but believe you me that several someones are likely to be keeping an eye on you at all times. You are their leader, their boss, the guy that signs their paychecks.
They will look up to you and want to be like you. Set a good example for them by working harder than anyone else. If they feel that you are slacking they will deem it acceptable to slack themselves.
4. Feed them bullsh*t.
Trust is built on honesty. Trust is the most influential tool you have in your arsenal. As a leader, having followers that trust you is essential. You need a team that trusts you enough to put in those extra hours, work with you side by side to get your projects off the ground and walk to the ends of the world with you to get the job done.
If you start feeding them bullsh*t stories and excuses, they will catch on and your reputation in their eyes will be hurt for it. If you lose your team's trust, then you have lost your team.
5. Give up before they do.
The going will get tough. Things will seem bleak and that light at the end of the tunnel will begin to flicker and dim — but you can't give up. As long as you have people supporting you and working for you, you are responsible for them; you are obligated to have trust in your team and push through the hardship.
As long as you have one person still supporting you, you are not alone and can make it all happen. Giving up before your team does is not just failing as a leader, but failing as an entrepreneur. True entrepreneurs never give up — they analyze the situation and make alterations to their plans and goals, but they never call it quits. Each new problem has its solution.
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