4 Signs of a Good Leader — And Steps to Be One

Leadership is easy to talk about and hard to practice and maintain. If you have watched The Office series, you know Michael Scott who calls himself the world’s best boss. But we know it’s not important to be the best and most lovable boss. It’s important to be a fairly good leader.

I’ve been working on leadership methods, rules, and practices for more than 6 years in various corporates, startups, and volunteer jobs. Here I want to share what I’ve learned about the most important applicable rules that as though still are hard to maintain, will work for anyone who works hard to get results.

1. Integrity (Of course, but how to practice it?)

Many have talked about the importance of integrity in leadership, but not everyone says how to practice it. Integrity comes when the team you’re leading starts to judge you and your actions. It doesn’t mean not changing your path or goals. It means keeping on to your rules and most important boundaries.

As a leader, you need to set a leadership strategy for yourself. Your leadership strategy is a list of values you set for yourself to abide by. For example, making friendships with the team and boundaries to that friendship. Or helping the team grow and empowering them to help the team grow. Or encouraging the team to support and work with each other.

My leadership strategy is to communicate my vision with the team transparently and remind them about it regularly. I recognize each member’s growth and encourage it, and also let them feel valued and appreciated by reminding them about their role in the team and their achievements so far. Also, I delegate tasks and empower my team to do their tasks. Finally, I value and encourage self-learning and teaching other team members to grow together.

This is what integrity is all about. Set up your leadership strategy and stick to it. What you say, do, share, or present has to be aligned with your leadership strategy.

To practice and maintain integrity, write down your leadership strategy (described above) and review it at the end of every working day. See where you’ve violated your rules. Write them down to avoid them tomorrow or the next time in a similar situation.

Maintaining leadership integrity is an endless path. Enjoy the journey and remember that there’s always room to be better than yesterday.

2. Being hands-on

Leadership is about joining the team in what they’re doing. People want to follow someone who actually gets their hands dirty and takes part in making the goals possible.

Maintaining this step is easy. Just do it! But keep in mind not to overdo it. You still need to delegate some tasks and empower your team to take part in the activities and feel valued.

3. Honesty

It’s obvious that you need to be honest with your team. But sometimes it’s hard to do it. Know the difference between honesty, transparency, and bluntness.

Of course, always keep respect for your team members and be honest with them. Sometimes, due to the policies, you cannot speak transparently, which is absolutely fine but never confuse your team with unclear sentences.

If you can’t share data at the moment, let your team know that. Be clear and transparent about not being able to share data due to policies. This drives more respect and trust from your team than answering with unclear responses.

4. Commitment to Growth

You’re the leader to lead the team toward a shared goal. You need to measure and acknowledge your team’s status on this journey. How fast are you moving toward that goal? What are the obstacles? What should you and the team change to move faster toward the goal? Maybe it’s not important to move fast. Maybe working better and decreasing frictions are more important.

Set KPIs that show your team’s growth and measure them along the way. Make sure all team members are aware of their progress and their role in it. Make sure everyone knows where you are and where you want to be.

Set weekly (or bi-weekly, or monthly, as your team requirements) meetings to review and measure your growth. Acknowledge each team member’s role in that progress. Challenge the processes and determine what needs to change in order to work better. And finally, plan for the next iteration.

Final Thoughts

Leadership is about experimenting. You’ll need to do it for yourself, find your flaws, and fix them regularly. Share your experiments with me, and let me know if you want to add anything to my list 🙂 You can keep in touch with me through my LinkedIn account or via email.