Leadership looks different for everyone, but there are some qualities that all leaders have in common. And those qualities allow them to motivate, inspire and develop their team, guiding them to success.
Here are nine phrases that a good leader says. Saying these yourself will help othes to see you as a stronger leader, as well.
1. "[Colleague name] has experience in that and may be able to help you."
A leader knows that team work makes the dream work and, as such, they know how to pair people together. They understand each individual team member's strengths and how they may complement others, and they know who will work best together. Therefore, a leader is someone who can encourage intersectional collaboration.
2. "I've recognized your work with [task]. I'd like to see you do more of it."
A leader recognizes their team members' hard work and practices positive reinforcement.
3. "I am taking a mental health day off."
A leader leads by example. They understand the importance of a work-life balance and that, sometimes, you need to take time to care for yourself. Mental health is critical, and they're well aware of that. Taking days off to practice self care sets an example to their team that it's not only OK, but also that it's encouraged.
4. "I need someone to take on [name of project], and I think you'd be great for it."
A leader knows how best to utilize individuals' skills, and they encourage their team members to hone in on those skills to further develop them and grow to, ultimately, advance their careers. They provide them with opportunities that arise because they know a good fit when they see one.
5. "One area of improvement I'd like to see is in your [skill]."
An efficient leader is someone who provides valuable and effective feedback to their team members. While performance reviews are too-often biased, leaving women with unhelpful vague critiques, a leader offers not only constructive feedback that can be put into practice but also affirmations that keeps team morale high.
6. "I won't be coming into the office because I am sick."
Again, leaders lead by example, and coming into the office while under the weather sets the precedent that everyone should be coming to work while ill. Of course, no one works well while they're sick, and spreading germs can knock out the whole office. A leader understands the importance of the health of themselves and their team, and so they take the day off when they need to rest.
7. "I'll let you take the wheel."
A leader leads from the sidelines, not the front lines. Instead of always stepping in and taking control — not allowing their team to learn or grow — a leader lets their team take the wheel. In other words, they guide their team to success, but they don't do all of the work themselves. Besides, they know that taking on everything on their own, without delegating or collaborating, can lead to burnout and a culture that lacks trust.
8. "What are your short- and long-term goals?"
Asking about individuals' short- and long-term goals is important not only to make sure that everyone on the team shares the same bigger-picture vision, but also to make sure that each person is fulfilled. Happy, satisfied workers perform better — it's simple science. Making sure that team members are achieving their own personal goals and growing in the organization can help the whole organization to succeed.
9. "I welcome your feedback."
Conversations are two-way streets. Effective leaders understand that giving feedback isn't the only part of their job; practicing active listening and being open to receiving feedback is just as important. After all, a leader is part of the team.
AnnaMarie Houlis is a feminist, a freelance journalist and an adventure aficionado with an affinity for impulsive solo travel. She spends her days writing about women’s empowerment from around the world. You can follow her work on her blog, HerReport.org, and follow her journeys on Instagram @her_report, Twitter @herreport and Facebook.