How can you tell if your team thinks that you are a great leader? Leadership comes in all different shapes and styles. There is no one prescribed method. When it comes to leading a team, it largely comes down to supporting and bringing the best out of the team members. That involves creating the right environment or culture. Just as there are different leadership styles, people have different preferences for the types of leader they like to work with. One of the areas leaders often struggle with is recognizing when their leadership is effective. It can be easy to analyze business results, but figuring out how a team feels about the leader is difficult to discern. Asking for feedback is one route to go. Coincidentally, leaders whose teams think they’re great will get candid feedback. On the other hand, there are also several ways a leader can tell by observation if your team thinks that you are a great leader.
If They Tell You What You Need to Hear, Your Team Thinks that You are a Great Leader
When a leader has a team that is willing to bring him or her bad news in a timely fashion, that is a very good sign. Leaders should strive to create an environment where it is more important to get it right than hide problems. When team members freely share the bad news, they have confidence in their leadership.
This signals certain levels of trust and comfort. Not a comfort akin to complacency. Comfort in the fact that by telling the boss the numbers on the latest product launch aren’t looking as good as projected, she won’t flip out and destroy the messenger. A leader will not have the full picture if he is only hearing the news.
If They Have Your Back, Your Team Thinks that You are a Great Leader
Teams led by a great leader win together and lose together. This particular point and the preceding one are not meant to be negative, it’s just that oftentimes adversity sheds the most light on a team’s effectiveness.
One of the burdens of leadership is taking responsibility for things that happen. Most great leaders will deflect praise from success. When things do not go as planned, a team that stands behind its leader is a testament to its feelings for that person’s leadership. When the boss is in hot water and the rest of the team gets in the boiling pot with him, this speaks volumes.
They Refer High-Performers to Join the Team
Just like with customers, there may be no higher compliment than a colleague referring talent to work with a team. This is not about a referral program or getting a bonus if the person stays 6 months. An unsolicited “You want to come work with us” from one high-performer to another says a lot.
Great employees usually associate with other great employees. When those employees start steering their colleagues to the team, that is a sign the team is confident in its leadership and is focused on getting better, not protecting their turf or expertise.
The Expectations Are High
Another way to tell if a team thinks highly of its leader is that the team has high expectations. They hold themselves to high standards without anyone telling them to do so. When teams with great leaders win, they celebrate that success, but do not rest on their laurels They do not want to disappoint customers, stakeholders or each other.
This motivation is not out of fear, but loyalty. A great leader’s team sees how hard the leader works. They recognize how committed that person is and they follow that example. Where other people or teams may be satisfied if something is good enough, teams working for great leaders kick their performance into overdrive and take it to a new level. When teams work for a great leader, that leader does not have to beat the drum for improvement or achievement, the entire team lines up to play that tune.
Michelle Riklan is president of Riklan Resources and an instructor for The Leader’s Institute® in the Northeast region. She is based in Trenton, NJ but she also teaches in New York, Boston, Philadelphia and other Northeast cities.