Unexpected Answer: Qualities of a Good Leader

Every Employee Needs the Qualities of a Good Leader

By Bridget Quigg, PayScale.com

How important is a manager to the success of a team of workers? The qualities of a good leader may be needed in more places than you’d expect. A recent study out of Sweden took a close look at whether or not it is worthwhile to simply train managers to be leaders or if every employee on a team ought to get leadership training. The study’s conclusion: lose the hierarchy and train the whole team.

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Johan Bertlett of Lund Univeristy in Sweden defended his doctoral work in psychology in which he studied the management of nearly 200 employees at the Arlanda Airport in Stockholm. He wanted to see how profitability is affected when employees have a manager who trusts their ability to take responsibility for a task and does not get very involved once the strategy is set. Will the employees goof off and fail or will they excel?

Berlett’s conclusion was that a trusting, not-too-involved manager not only improves job satisfaction and retention, it actually improves profits.

Some recommendations Bertlett made, based upon his study, to improve success and profitability include the following:

Let people take responsibility. Essentially, micro-managing does not lead to optimal results. In fact, it deters them. It is most efficient to allow employees to take full responsibility for whatever task they are meant to complete. Let them feel ownership over the success or failure of their efforts. The manager can set the strategy and leave the rest to their team to figure out.

Reward your team. If employees are taking on more responsibility, recognize and reward them for doing so by paying them more. “It is not only a matter of the manager being able to delegate, it is also a matter of how much commitment the employee is willing to show. And the company management must also create the general conditions for this to work”, says Johan Bertlett.

Reduce hierarchy. By making every person on the team feel a greater sense of duty and responsibility for the success of company operations, the chances at success for the whole team highly increase. This is why Bertlett does not want just the manager to be sent to management training. He thinks that the whole team should be trained to be leaders in their own area.

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