There’s something terribly wrong in today’s leadership.

I recently had a conversation with my husband about an issue that happened at his job. There’s been tension between the employees and supervisors that things have been escalating fast. It now feels like an “us vs. them” situation.

His buddy at work asked a supervisor why with his years of experience, certifications, and expertise, is he making the same amount as someone working an entry-level position at a fast food place. The response his superior immediately gave was:

“Well if you don’t like it here, go work in fast food then.”

My jaw dropped!

It was at that moment I realized how the title of leader has been LOST. Absolutely lost! Which means we need to come back to this and break it down. We need to have this discussion of what it truly means to be a leader today.

So, what is a leader?

The standard definition of a leader is someone who leads or commands a group, organization, or country. When I read this definition, I gave it a big eye roll. This only reveals the tip of the iceberg as anyone can lead. However, there’s a difference between a leader and a GREAT leader.

What makes a great leader?

First, let’s take a look at the leaders we see today. Today’s leader is portrayed as someone who insists that you follow them regardless of the mission. They expect/demand to be listened to and followed solely because of their title. This isn’t what leaders are suppose to do. We see this tactic being used throughout history, mainly in dictators…and they never last long. When they’re gone from leadership or are no longer living, no one wanted to remember them.

It takes more than spouting out commands. To be a great leader, you need to have your team TRUST YOU! This is the secret that all great leaders have mastered.

The secret is TRUST!

If you’re a leader and you have a team that doesn’t trust you, you’re doing a disservice. Which means to them, you’re just a title. A great leader actually develops a relationship with the people around them. They go the extra mile to make them feel like they can be trusted. Words and commands rarely inspire someone to give you their best effort.

The tricky part though is how do you do that? How do you form trust with your team? We see people who once they understand this concept, they then tell their team “Okay guys you have to trust me now.” Again, another eye roll. Here’s something all leaders need to understand:

Trust is not an action, it’s a feeling!

Your team needs to FEEL that they’re safe. They need to feel that they matter and that you genuinely care for them. They need to feel that regardless of what the future holds, you won’t abandon them. In a recent article by Fast Company, it states that if a leader is only counted on when things are going smooth, they aren’t effective. It’s the leader’s responsibility to take care of their team (during the good and bad) because, at the end of the day, that’s all they ask. Take care of them.

However, trust take time.

If you’re just starting out as a leader, you’re going to have to build that trust. Just like relationships, goals, or careers…these all take time and consistency. You can’t falter on your commitments and you have to be a person of your word. We already live in a world filled with uncertainty and a high failure rate. If a leader can’t deliver on their word, the trust factor will drop fast.

Now I know some of you might think that this tactic won’t work if you’re a VP working in a billion dollar company. Since businesses rely on dollars and cents, it’s important to make sure the quota is fulfilled. But this my friend, is a false belief.

What if I told you that you’d make MORE MONEY if you cared MORE about your team than the clientele?

In a recent study, it showed that when a work environment has good leadership, employees are “more likely to be happier and more productive.” They will reciprocate your values and go the extra mile in their tasks. And because they’re willing to work harder, the numbers will automatically follow.

Your team will work harder for you!

So in the case of my husbands’ friend, instead of the supervisor dismissing his question and making him feel like his thoughts don’t matter, he should’ve responded with concern. His supervisor should have said something like:

“I’m sorry you feel this way. What can we do to fix this together?” or “I understand how you’re feeling – let me get back to you on this and let’s see what we can do.”

When you see a great environment, it’s because there are great leaders!

You just feel it! You walk into a gym or a place of business and you can tell by the smiles, the energy, just the overall sense of everyone. It’s the best feeling to have – so why not enhance it? If you’re a leader and you’re reading this, it’s time to take responsibility. Take care of your team and they will take care of you.

What do you think makes a great leader? Leave a comment below and let me know. Also if you like this post, make sure you share it with friends and family.

Til next time homies,

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