great-leaders

8 things great leaders make time for every day

In a time where hybrid work is king, the Great Resignation continues to pull competitive talent in all directions and a recession clouds the market, great leadership remains a crucial element of business continuity and success. So, what makes a great leader?

There are common answers that scratch the surface: Great leaders can be generally described as good communicators, strategic, motivational, authentic, easygoing and more.

In addition, there are best practices for good leadership that can be carried out by anyone, even if a person isn’t in a managerial role. Essential traits for everyday leadership include:

  1. Adaptability
  2. Emotional intelligence
  3. Vision
  4. Participation
  5. Coaching ability

What sets great leaders apart from good leaders?

But outside of classic traits of great bosses, what are the little differences that set great leaders apart from good leaders? Answers to the question change as the business landscape evolves, especially in a post-pandemic workplace. The answer also depends on the point of view of the individual contributors (and shifts as their priorities change).

An employee five years ago might want a boss who champions their professional development, while today that same employee might want a leader who prioritizes work-life balance. No matter the season, actions found in the quiet, small moments are often where great leadership thrives.

We brought this question to the Insperity team and asked: As a leader, what is one thing that you try to make time for every day? Here’s what they had to say.

8 actions great leaders take every day

1. Be comfortable with learning and vulnerability

I can honestly say that there hasn’t been one week, since joining Insperity in 2003, that I haven’t learned something new, whether intentionally or by accident! Saying “I don’t know” takes vulnerability and humility.

Vulnerability and humility build trust. Someone who is able to say those three little words is a trusted and reliable resource. I owe it to those around me to give them an “I don’t know” over an incorrect answer or guess. When I have to say, “I don’t know,” it’s important to follow with, “but let me find out, or find someone who does know.”

Veronica Medlin
Managing Director, Insperity 401(K) Plans
Insperity

2. Express appreciation for others

This is a tough question, as no two days are the same.  That said, from a “habit” perspective, I try and express my gratitude and appreciation to – and for – those around me.  Without my close-knit group of leaders and support team, I simply wouldn’t be able to achieve anything of substance. 

From a short email to say thanks or well done, to just stopping in for a minute to chat, relationships matter.  We should pour a little of ourselves into our relationships every day.

Roger Nicholson
Senior Vice President of Service Operations
Insperity

3. Be present with your team

Being present, each and every day – and truly knowing the people I work and interact with – allows the building of real relationships. Some of us have seen each other go through weddings, divorce, first home purchases, raising children, illness, loss, graduations, personal achievements and everything in between.

Getting to know the people I am fortunate enough to work with and lead, at a more personal level, allows me to understand:

  • What makes them feel valued
  • Recognize when they aren’t quite themselves
  • Celebrate their successes
  • Know how to help them through challenges in a way that is meaningful to them as individuals

Veronica Medlin
Managing Director, Insperity 401(K) Plans
Insperity

4. Practice self-care and encourage others to do the same

One thing I’ve learned since navigating the pandemic is the important of prioritizing self-care. This starts with my morning routine. Each day begins with some form of exercise. Stepping away, focusing my energy and mind elsewhere, creates the space for new ideas and solutions. It’s a great tool for problem solving. I also encourage my team to protect time on their schedules for self-care.

Amy Schisler
Managing Director, Midmarket Consulting & Development
Insperity

5. Prioritize connections – both professionally and personally

I try to make time every day to connect with someone who is not expecting to hear from me – maybe a friend, coworker or even a family member. I simply let them know that I am thinking about them. It’s always nice to know when you cross someone’s mind.

Joanne Crossland
Managing Director, Service Operations
Insperity

6. Start the day with intention

The one thing I make time to do every day is pray and read my Bible. There are many challenges that leaders face every day – those which we can see coming and those which we can’t. For me, it is extremely important to be anchored in my faith in order to face and address each challenge.

I ask for wisdom, insight and understanding – things that every leader needs. When I spend time in the morning to pray, I can go forward into the day with confidence that I am not alone but have everything I need to successfully accomplish what comes my way.

Corinn Price
Executive Director, Corporate Citizenship
Insperity

7. Publicly embrace the company culture, mission and values

Doing so is a display of your trust and respect for the highest levels of leadership, and your personal belief in the company’s mission and values. A company’s culture and success depend on a united front!

Veronica Medlin
Managing Director, Insperity 401(K) Plans
Insperity

8. Set boundaries for good work-life balance

In a hybrid or remote environment, we need to be intentional about work-life balance. For example, even though I’m up early, I make a point to NOT read emails outside of my intentionally set time parameters. Taking time to focus on my well-being helps me take better care of everyone around me. As a leader, it is especially important to model this for others.

Amy Schisler
Managing Director, Midmarket Consulting & Development
Insperity

Summing it all up

One of the main takeaways is that great leaders take time every day to prioritize the relationships – whether that’s with their teams, their coworkers or their loved ones outside of work. The foundation of those relationships is what creates trust and allows leaders to show their teams daily that it’s okay to be vulnerable. This makes celebrating wins and giving recognition much more meaningful.

Want to learn more about how you can practice great leadership and build great leaders in your organization? Download our free magazine: The Insperity guide to leadership and management.


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