By Bryan Orr

A large factor in bad leadership is how leaders view their own role. I can think of quite a few great leaders, and I can think of a gazillion not so great leaders. What is the marked difference between the two?

With leadership comes influence, power and authority. What we see happen too often is the misuse of all the above. And a misunderstanding of what our job as a leader is. If we believe the main role of leadership is to promote our personal success and gain followers because of who we are, then we’ve got it wrong.

A good leader hones into the fact that everyone has a unique ability to offer to the world around them. Leadership becomes less about the leader themselves, and more about those whom he/she is leading.

As a leader you should ask yourself these questions:

  • How can I create an atmosphere or space for team members to cultivate their own specific strengths?
  • How can I better use my time to be of benefit to those around me?
  • What am I doing to continue to help develop who I am?
  • Are there areas or problem spots that need to be weeded out to encourage better growth in the team? (Such as employees who are bringing down team morale, outdated processes that are hindering your company from moving forward, etc.)

Those of us who have experienced a measure of success can look honestly at our progress and testify to having at least one person (probably more) who have supported us in some way. Whether it be through inspiration, helpful criticism, kindness, or giving us an unexpected opportunity.

While support is key, becoming a crutch to others is damaging. Good leaders see the difference between being a ‘support’ and being a ‘crutch.’ Support is when you encourage and point others in the right direction while giving them tools they may need along the way to help them in their endeavors. A crutch is when you decide for the other person what to be and how to do it and then have to assist them all along the way throughout the journey.

Be a leader who sees the value of what others have to offer and help cultivate their unique and individual skill set. One who is gracious and able to give helpful criticism.

Remember that a good leader purposefully helps others succeed while laying aside self promotion, for in leading others to success they find their true calling.

Who is someone that has been a supportive leader in your career journey?