What makes a good leader? The question sounds like a theme from a motivational TED talk! That’s because it’s a subject that is at the heart of countless bestselling self-help and business books, popular podcasts and videos.
The reality is that there is no straightforward formula. And therein lies the challenge. Leadership is not one action you take and continue to repeat until you reach an end point. Leadership takes many forms, and the path is not linear. Some leaders emerge through a trial by fire — where they find themselves in a crisis or challenging situation beyond their control and rise to the occasion. Others steadily become a force and influencer beyond their years or station in life or work.
It is the latter path that is more accessible to those who aspire to be leaders. In the workplace, there are countless factors we simply cannot control, such as the actions and policies of those above our pay grade. However, there are many things we can control and impact in our corner of the world.
Becoming a subject matter expert in your area of expertise is a way to establish leadership in a topic. Beyond your particular area, you can become familiar with our products and services as well as other basic co-op information. Having an engaged, knowledgeable team is critical for delivering solid member services that lead to stronger relationships. It also enables us to provide the high level of service that our members expect and deserve.
Hone the soft skills
There are also soft skills that can distinguish us as leaders. A positive attitude and can-do spirit set a tone that we are capable, action-oriented and looking forward to the future; that we are the go-to professionals for important local projects.
But take care to cover the basics, like being on time, performing quality work, meeting deadlines and leadership expectations. We can be courteous and respectful of our colleagues and others we interact with and on joint projects. We can treat colleagues as unique individuals, not just people we coexist with while at work. When the occasion demands, we can go above and beyond what is asked in order to deliver what is needed. By doing so, we become the type of collaborator (and leader!) that we ourselves respect and admire and that intrinsically draws others to us.
When you create a positive sphere in your small corner, you are actually impacting the overall culture of our co-op. That culture and employee knowledge directly reflects on members’ level of engagement and satisfaction. An engaged team contributes to the perception that Miami-Cass REMC is a leading business with a workforce that is knowledgeable and professional.
Each small action you take has a ripple effect. When you combine taking care of the basics and bringing a positive, collaborative and respectful approach to your job, you create a collegial atmosphere that others want to join.
Remember: your ripple impacts others, so be mindful of what you want to create as it can define who you are and the type of leader you become.