After surveying thousands of organizational leaders, interviewing hundreds of leaders on the “Follow My Lead” Podcast and being a true student of leadership for many years, it’s beyond evident to me there is an upper echelon of leaders. So much so, it forced us to come up with a name where these leaders stay called the ‘Welding zone.’ It’s also clear they hone their leadership craft by relentlessly pursuing the development of their skills everyday because they know:
Leadership is a journey, not a destination
If your leader shows these 7 signs, consider yourself extremely lucky and learn everything you can from them during your time together:
They “love” you
No, I am not talking about any kind of Human Resources violation here. I am talking about, “to contribute to your long term success and well being.” You leader wants the best for your long term career and consistently shows it through their actions.
They help you be more disciplined
Most people assume leaders provide discipline. In fact, it’s very much the opposite. It’s the leaders job to “promote standards in order for an individual to choose to be at their best.” Your leader doesn’t choose for you, they help encourage you by providing clear and consistent standards, and you secretly like it!
They say “we” more than “I”
The easiest thing for a person to do is to look out for number one. Your leader understands the importance of giving the glory to others, but the first to take blame when things go wrong. As my friend Brian Kight would say, they have eliminated BCD. Blaming, Complaining and Defending.
They allow you the room to fail
Just this week on the Follow My Lead Podcast, Chip Brewer the CEO of Callaway golf said something that couldn’t be more true. “As I think back to leaders who made a big impact on me throughout my career, it was the ones who allowed me the room to fail. They didn’t lose confidence in me through that process. In today’s world, being a leader isn’t about getting everything right, it’s a continuous improvement process. It’s giving people the room to grow and improve and not being that quick to always step in.”
They inspire you to achieve
There is nothing worse than showing up for work every day just to punch the time clock. Life is too short to be mediocre. Your leader challenges you and gives you the freedom/tools/resources to achieve things that you never thought possible.
They have built a bond of mutual trust
In any relationship, the essence of trust is not in its bind, but in its bond. The relationship your leader has with you is a playbook to this bond. They know and live out a leadership principle from the Welder Leader Program:
Elevating a team’s performance requires a bond of mutual trust
They ask for more than you think you’re capable of
People typically won’t stretch themselves past the point of being uncomfortable. We rarely stretch ourselves beyond that, because of a perceived limit. Your leader believes in your ability and challenges you to go far outside of your comfort zone.
If you have a leader who show all of these signs on an ongoing basis consider yourself one of the luckiest professionals on the planet and do everything you can to learn from them and then pass them on when you get the opportunity.
A version of this article originally appeared on Inc.com.
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About the Author John Eades is the CEO of LearnLoft and host of the Follow My Lead Podcast. He is also the author of F.M.L. Standing Out & Being a Leader, a contributing editor on Inc.com, and is passionate about the development of modern professionals. You follow him on instagram @johngeades.