What Kind of Leader Should One Be?

First and foremost, a leader should be a human. Everything else can be learned with goodwill, desire, work, and effort. If a leader leads people, they must see them as humans first, and the direction of leadership should be toward their success and progress. If you don’t view things this way, you’ll never become a good leader. You might just be called a leader, but that’s not the same…

Managing people is a very complex job, involving mistakes and challenges, primarily because human behavior is variable and often unpredictable. Every person has a unique story and requires a unique approach. Knowledge management must be tailored to each individual. This requires not just knowledge but also time and patience. You will find these if you view people as the most significant resource in the company, and only then can you treat them properly. Also, the relationship between two people is always two-way, even in this case, meaning that employees should learn how to manage their managers: “Manage your manager.” The most important thing for both sides to understand is that they need each other and depend on each other. A manager cannot complete certain tasks alone, so they hire associates with appropriate qualities and skills. Employees expect to be adequately valued, appreciated, paid, and rewarded for this. It is crucial for both sides to understand that they share a common goal, from the achievement of which both will benefit because – if the result is positive, both the organization and the employees will benefit, meaning everyone wins. If an employee identifies with the organization, they will fight harder and feel respected and satisfied with their status. To identify with the organization, they must be treated appropriately. So, everything is causally connected. The leader and their team must be on the same side, and whether this will be the case depends mostly on the leader. Being on the same side, of course, does not mean that hierarchy does not exist – it is necessary, but only a healthy hierarchy can contribute to the success of employees. To build a sincere relationship with colleagues, the best management style is to “lead by example.” You must be everything you expect and demand from your employees. This means you will not spare yourself in doing the work while shifting the entire burden onto your team members. It means you will always lend a helping hand, even if you know someone else can do it instead of you. If you are all on the same side, you will respect the opinions and suggestions of employees and know how to value them appropriately. One of the basic tasks of a manager is to influence the behavior and motivation of team members toward achieving goals. For this, you must possess firmness, stability, and flexibility. Therefore, a good leader does not follow a behavior pattern, does not enforce codes that are in the interest of HR or the manager but are not good for the employees and does not make distinctions based on anything other than the most important aspects, which are: work, skills, and commitment to the job.

A manager must have adequate professional knowledge to support people in clarifying and directing, but (perhaps) most importantly, they must have excellent organizational skills to set priorities and carry out everything properly and on time. For the work process to be efficient, it is necessary for the leader to set realistic and clear goals. For some, this “juggling” of all the mentioned activities is easy, for others difficult; it is normal and expected that no person is absolutely good at everything. Each of us has stronger and weaker sides, and this is precisely the key to good people management: focus on the strong, not the weak sides of colleagues. The smartest approach would be to let the employee develop in the direction that suits them best, as this will achieve excellent results while simultaneously making them satisfied, fulfilled, and happy because they are doing what they are best at. The weaker, less developed sides of the employee should serve HR for defining a development plan for the specific person. Again, we come to the point that each person in the team requires a unique approach, and for the approach to be appropriate – the leader must know their team.

A good leader will provide their team members with a sense of security (being part of a united group) and freedom (having the right to individuality within that group) and will perfectly balance both. Employees want to be asked for their opinions and participate in decision-making within the company: flexible working hours, parking spaces, meals, health insurance, New Year’s packages, team building, opportunities for advancement, sports activities, etc. However, individualism should be respected, allowing everyone to choose and optionally participate in the proposed activities. A good leader knows not to overstep the mark, and the ideal measure is the one that suits the employee. Many are against collective gatherings (especially if they occur outside of working hours), but due to the imposed respect for team spirit, they often feel compelled to participate. Therefore, HR, and consequently leaders, often forget the basic mission of employees – to work and have the right to their individuality. Poor leaders will value someone’s attendance at an unnecessary team-building event more than the brilliant completion of their work task. In every team, there is always someone like Dr. House, who is not inclined to socialize but is indispensable to both team members and everyone they help. Of course, you don’t have to be Dr. House to be left alone and respected for your need to be solo – that is the right of every employee. However, team players are most beneficial to the business owner. If the individual goal is not identical to the team’s, conflicts of interest arise. Since the team goal is more significant and powerful, corporate culture masks the abuse and justifies cruelty to subdue employees and makes them lose the motivation to seek their rights. When an employer tells you that the organization comes first, they are actually telling you in a polite way that you are replaceable. When organizations claim that team members are like family members, but then fire you, you realize that it is all, in fact, one big lie and deception. This applies equally to all positions in the company’s hierarchy.

It is quite normal and common for teams to have disagreements. Conflicts are frequent and inevitable, and it is very important for the leader to know how to resolve them effectively. Differences arise due to misunderstandings, unclear responsibilities, conflicts of personal goals, and values, and poor communication. The basic ways to resolve conflicts are assertive behavior, attempting to resolve the problem independently, seeking the help of an arbitrator to mediate the dispute, or giving up the discussion and accepting the imposed stance.

When you become a manager, you are still subordinate because you still report to someone. And you are always in the position – between two fires, like in a children’s game where you are hit with a ball from both sides, trying to avoid getting hit; in the end, you always lose because you get tired of running and your reflexes weaken. In the business world, the game continues, only the stakes are much higher… You have to run and use different doping (tranquilizers, gym, lobbying, etc.) to stay in the desired position for as long as possible…

The business system generally boils down to the leader – “the fish rots from the head down.” They set the system and maintain it in accordance with their business culture and practice. All companies strive to provide professional working conditions, which they actively promote to the wider public and for which they receive awards. The truth is that they succeed in this only partially. The reason is the moral makeup of the leadership, specifically what leaders are willing to do to achieve their goals (both company and personal). There are examples of different treatment of employees depending on which micro-team they are in. If the boss is good, employees will feel comfortable at work, will not stay overtime, there will be no double standards, and relations will be more or less correct. In the same company, with another boss – the atmosphere will be completely different. Hence the different perceptions of working in the company, due to different leaders.

Yes, these are the traits and qualities of a true leader, whose team will always be promising and successful, and who will always be respected and valued by that team.