One of the factors that set a leader apart from a manager is that a leader guides by example. Often, managers simply enforce rules and follow procedures as part of their job function. They manage the checklist of tasks that need to be completed. They may even feel, because of their position, they arenât even subject to the same rules.
A leader, on the other hand, lives by the set of rules he expects others to follow, never stating, even by action, âDo as I say, not as I do.â Leaders behave the way they expect others to behave and demonstrate by their behaviour what their expectations are for the team.
A leader is a person of honesty and integrity. She doesnât choose sides based on popularity or politics. She is objective in all situations. A true leader isnât afraid to offer, or to seek, creative solutions to problems. And sheâs willing to make honest, unbiased decisionsâeven when those decisions are unpopular. A leader bases decisions on the big picture, the good of the whole, as opposed to offering a quick fix, or one that may appease some people for a while, but that may cause more damage in the end.
Firm, Yet Fair
A true leader doesnât operate on the pretense âBecause I said soâ. A leader may be firm and unmoving in his treatment of others, but if so, he is firm and consistent in his treatment of everyone, not simply those he likes or dislikes. Leaders refrain from showing favouritism, which isnât always an easy task. But fairness is an innate quality in a leaderâs personality, causing him to treat every situation and every person he comes in contact with, equally, based solely on individual circumstances.
Good leaders look for opportunities to recognize and praise a job well done and do not feel threatened by another’s success. True leaders recognize that success of the team is success of all. Leaders spread the credit and youâll often hear them say “we,” and seldom “I.” Such behaviour inspires loyalty, trust and respect among employees, colleagues, friends and family. A leader is an inspiration to everyone around themânever just a “boss.”
While leaders are fair, act with integrity, and recognize the success of others, they are also bold enough to call a “spade a spade,” and never sugar-coat an error or a bad situation. Even bad news can be conveyed with calm and respect, and a true leader knows that. A leader is capable of offering constructive direction in a manner that inspires others to improve. And heâs able to offer discipline in a respectful way that lets a person know what they did may have been wrong, but that doesnât mean they are.