- Goes Above and Beyond
- Has a Great Attitude
- Plays Well with Others
Goes Above and Beyond
A successful leader goes above and beyond the call of duty to benefit his or her company. Why? Because they have an instinctive urge to do more than simply fulfill the basic requirements of a job. Regardless of the industry or organization, their passion is to evolve and improve themselves and their surrounding circumstances (reference: Lifehack.org).
Going above and beyond doesn’t have to be anything earth-shattering. It could be as simple as picking up a piece of trash that is on company property, or as significant as proposing an improvement to the sales process that will increase revenue by tenfold. Leaders will do these things without being asked, and without expecting a reward.
As a manager of a team of employees, remember to keep your eye out for the “above and beyond” moments. A few examples of these are:
- Proposing improvements for the company’s benefit, without being asked.
- Proposing bonding activities to strengthen their team.
- Helping others by mentoring or training them to become better at their jobs.
If you’re actively watching out for these things, you’ll find your leaders emerging naturally, and quickly.
Has a Great Attitude
Attitude is a choice. In a workplace, there are those who choose positivity and optimism, and there are those who choose the opposite- negativity and pessimism. Leaders arise out of the first group. According to PayScale:
When an employee has an overall negative view of work, very often his or her attitude manifests as poor performance, [leading to doing] the bare minimum to fly under the radar of management.”
The same concept is true for an employee with a positive view of work- they manifest higher productivity, which leads to more responsibilities, and eventually results in raises and promotions. Even when a positive person experiences a negative situation, they are more likely to perceive it as a challenge and work harder (Reference: Martin Seligman).
When searching for leaders from your team, look for the optimistic workers who not only perceive work as positive, but also rise to a seemingly negative occasion with the desire to succeed.
The point of any team is to work together toward a common goal. Sports teams want to beat their opponent, couples want to have a healthy and thriving relationship, and businesses want to gain valued clients and increase revenue. While some team members have a hard time communicating, collaborating, and ultimately, getting along, leaders do not. Leaders have a natural ability to “play well with others” while remaining focused on the task at hand, whatever it may be.
Observing your team in their natural work environment is a great way to determine who plays well with others. If this isn’t viable for your situation, as your presence might influence their true behavior, consider trying one of the following:
- Sending around a quiz similar to this one, which measures the ability to get along with others. Although the opportunity for false answers may be present in this case as well, you can get a good idea of where your team stands.
- Another method is to ask your team to plan something outside of work, say, a happy hour or something that could be perceived as fun, and non-work related. Request that they have a team meeting that you are part of, then watch quietly as they interact. This situation carries the potential for the natural leader to show his or her skills of respect, communication, and collaboration, while still focusing on the goal.
- Quite possibly the best way to filter out a leader that plays well with others is to create a situation that is seemingly stressful or limiting. In marketing, for example, when forced to think of a call-to-action that is 35 characters long, the writer’s creativity must become heightened, because of this limitation. In the same way, when faced with a stressful situation, your team leaders will be pressured to get along with others in the face of adversity.
Of course, all of this takes time. If you are working with brand new employees, or new team members, keep in mind that they may still be trying to make a good impression, so their actions may not reflect their true characteristics. Over time, you’ll come to find your leaders through the above and beyond moments, the great attitudes, and the ones who play well together. Happy hunting!