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Jason Stum

Jason Stum Director of Strategy

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10 Signs You Work With a Great Leader

When you hear the word “leader”, what image immediately comes to mind? Do you picture a figure like a NFL quarterback or NBA point guard? Or maybe you imagine someone like an executive or CEO of a major tech company. Perhaps it’s great military mind or head of state. Heck you might even picture someone you know like your own General Manager or Dealer Principal.

The reality is that being a leader is more than just having a snazzy title. True leaders have qualities that allow them to achieve incredible success, not just for themselves, but for everyone they work with.

10 Signs You Work With a Great Leader

So take a minute and think of a leader….

Got one?

Ok, now I want you to picture that leader clearly in your head. What kind of qualities would you ascribe to that person that would make them great?

For me it’s not too difficult of an exercise. The great leadership qualities  I’m about to go over aren’t traits I just made up or read on someone else’s blog. These qualities are based solely on the observations I made the past five years working with Carlos Mojica, Marketing Director, of the LaFontaine Automotive Group.

Carlos in my eyes and in the eyes of his peers and colleagues is an exceptional leader. It’s been an honor to work and grow with his guidance over the years. While I may have moved on to pursue a new opportunity and to continue my professional growth, I will always think of Carlos as a great leader, mentor and (most importantly) friend.

So what qualities does Carlos and other great leaders possess? Based on my time working with him, here are 10 signs of greatness you should find in a leader.

1. They Support the Team

In my opinion the most important thing a leader can do is support his or her team. Through the good times and bad, a great leader will continually set the example and make sure the team has what it needs to succeed.

2. They Don’t Micromanage

Have you ever worked with a micromanager? If you have you probably just got the chills like I do when I think about it.

A micromanager never let’s you tackle a task or project your way. They feel that they have to be “guiding” you every step of the way (much to your chagrin).

Whereas a great leader let’s you get on about your business and checks in with you as needed to ensure everything is going to plan.

Consequently it’s much easier to ask for help if you work for a great leader because you’ll get the assistance you need and not open yourself up to further micromanaging.

3. They Listen to All Voices

A great leader often possesses great ideas, but that doesn’t mean they don’t listen to their team or others within your company.

Being able to accept the input of others is a trait that not everyone has. If you work for a person who values your input and asks for opinions up and down the ladder you just might be working with a person of exceptional leadership.

4. They Are Open to New Ideas

Ever work for someone who didn’t like any idea that wasn’t their own? Yeah, been there done that. Not too fun is it?

A leader of greatness will listen to new ideas with an open mind and collaborate with you.

And the best part, they’ll let you bask in all your glory if your idea is amazing.

5. They Don’t Take Credit For Your Success

That same person who isn’t open to new ideas is also the same person who just might take credit for what success you achieve.

Having been on the receiving end of this I can’t tell you how frustrating this is. To put your heart and soul into a project only to have your boss take all the credit and not give you the recognition you deserve is total weak sauce.

The true leader will hold you up for the world to see and praise your hard work and effort to anyone who will listen.

6. They Help You Grow

I think anyone who’s reading this has the drive to continually grow in their profession. There’s only so much we can do ourselves however.

A great leader helps you develop as time passes by, challenging you to take on new things. Today I’m not the person I was five years ago because I had a leader who encouraged and aided in my development.

7. They Communicate Clearly

For any team to succeed, communication has to be clear and concise.

I don’t know about you but I’m of the opinion that if you’re having a lot of team meetings that means that there’s not a lot of clear communicating going on.

While the occasional team meeting is important, we still need to get on with our day. Great leaders can get their thoughts across without the constant need to disrupt the work week with meetings to cover the notes from the last meeting before moving on to prepping for their afternoon meeting.

8. They Remove Obstacles

Throughout any given week, month or quarter there are going to be obstacles that arise that prevent you from doing your job effectively.

Sometimes it’s something simple like getting ink for the printer or escalating an IT issue. Other times it reaching out to a colleague on your behalf because they haven’t answered the last three emails and phone calls to give you the details you needed to finish up a project.

A great leader will do whatever they can to remove these obstacles so you can keep moving forward and not wasting time.

9. They Understand Life / Work Balance

Notice I said life / work balance instead of the traditional work / life variation? That’s because I’m a firm believer that life comes first.

If your not happy and productive in your home, your marriage and with your family, you’re never going to be happy and productive at work.

Have you ever come to work after something upsetting happened at home and your boss in his or her ultimate wisdom said something like “hey bud, you gotta check your problems at the door when you come to work.”?

Yeah, that’s helpful…thanks for the great advice Dr. Phil. Next why don’t you tell me to just bury my feelings deep down inside and never talk about them because that’s what you do. I’m sure that’ll turn out just fine…

True leaders recognize that being flexible with their team leads to increased productivity and loyalty. It may sound crazy, but research has shown that a many people won’t take a different job for more money if it means they lose what they perceived to be a superior life / work balance.

Money isn’t the key to happiness kids. Trust me.

10. You Work With Them Not For Them

This is more than just semantics. Real leaders see themselves on an equal level with the rest of the team. Now obviously they have different roles and responsibilities, but rarely does that stop them from rolling up their sleeves and getting dirty.

Because of this a great leader will succeed along side of you or fail alongside of you. They won’t swoop in and steal the spotlight when all is well, neither will they point fingers and abandon ship when all is not.

People in roles who feel it necessary to constantly remind you who they are and what their title is, aren’t leaders. They’re “bosses” in the loosest sense of the word. They simply have a title and they let it dictate their behavior.

As Yoda might say, a title makes not a leader.

Do You Work With a Great Leader? What qualities do they possess that make them a leader of greatness in your eyes? Share your thoughts with the DrivingSales Community in the comments section below!

Chris Mundy
Jason, Your comments made me reflect on my work career and seeing how many leaders I've truly worked for considering I've been in the work force since 1977. Here goes; less than a handful. That may sound like a disappointment, however, on the other hand I found I have had a responsibility to myself to seek leadership through other areas when the well has been dry. Now, the people who I reported to who made a difference did the following, they encouraged me to go beyond my abilities as I saw them at the time in other words "Grow" as you mentioned. The thought or words of genuine encouragement is a strong one. It has the power to change the attitude of winning a game, changing a life circumstance or winning a war. I’ve found as leaders, what we say and how we say is vitally important. Its amazing when people come up to you later in life and say "remember when you said”, recounting some previously mentioned words of encouragement you gave. Sometime you don’t remember exactly what you said but because you said something encouraging, it stuck and made a difference in that person’s life.
Jason Stum
Chris, I really appreciate you comments and insight. As you pointed out, great (or even good) leaders are often hard to come by. I like you how mentioned that in a leadership void, you'd seek leadership in other areas. It's funny you say that because originally this article had the subtitle of ...And What To Do If You Don't. But after listing the 10 signs of great leadership I felt the article was just getting too long. Maybe I should have included that portion after all. :)

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