What makes a good leader? This question has been thrown around for years. We’ve seen a number of responses from people and businesses across the globe and most arguments are equally valid.
In fact, my colleague Charlene Li did a TED talk in 2014 about leadership in the digital era and how leaders need to learn to let go of responsibility to see success – that’s one argument that I fully support and agree with.
However, I see one trait that is universal among good leaders, and that is to truly, and wholeheartedly love what you do. If you have a team of people working with you, you need to inspire them to create and execute their best work. How can you inspire anyone if you yourself are uninspired?
You should be proud of, inspired by and excited about your career. Inspired by your work. I believe passion and excitement are contagious and positive energy always spreads to our teams and increase motivation to achieve everything we want to be.
For quite some time I worked with my dad in his architectural practice (yep… I was an architect once). While he was incredibly passionate about his work, I have to admit I was critical of his leadership style for years. It took me a while to understand that his approach was just different. He led with his heart and always let people see and experience how much he loves what he does, but most important who he does it with.
My dad always put his team before any client or any deliverable and that is something that today I respect and try to emulate in everything I do. People around him always wanted to work with him – they saw him as a role model and were inspired by his passion and love for his work. I soon learned that was exactly the type of leader that I wanted to be.
3 Key Steps to Becoming a Better Leader
My approach to leadership at Prophet is this: I lead with my heart, I love what I do and I’m not afraid to show it. These are the leadership traits I admire in people and want to share with others. We spend so much of our lives working, so why waste any of that time being unhappy?
When I visit our offices around the world, people see that I’m not just there to do a job, I’m there to do a job that I love doing. I’m there to work with all of them and to do great stuff together. If you’re aiming to become a better leader, consider these three key leadership traits:
1. Get to know your team on a deeper level
As a leader, it’s my responsibility to make “loving what you do” easier for those I lead. I get to know what makes my team unique: What are their interests? What makes them tick? What are their strengths and areas for development? What does success look like for them? What makes them happy? What frustrates the heck out of them? Knowing my team at this level allows me to understand and leverage all that they can offer and encourage them to harness their personalities and interests and apply them to their work. All of this plays into one of Prophet’s core values – “Fearlessly Human, Unexpectedly Irreverent.”
2. Convey your passion for your work
Focusing on passion has made me a better leader and has had positive implications in my own career. I’ve actually been stopped mid-presentation as someone exclaimed, “You really love this sh*t!” And I do all the more because where I work this affection is encouraged and celebrated.
3. Revel in your team’s growth and accomplishments
One of the greatest accomplishments as a leader is seeing the people you’ve led grow and reach their personal and professional goals. I’ve had the privilege to see so many unique, wonderful people on my team meet these milestones in my career at Prophet. It’s because of this that I know that my approach to leadership is one that works tenfold.
While there are many different tactics, skills and traits that make a good leader, you can’t learn to love something. You either love what you do or you don’t. And if you don’t, how can you inspire the future talent in your workplace or industry?
Interested in learning about our leadership team? Find out more about Prophet and what makes our leaders tick.