“How to be a Good Sales Coach” was an option for the title of this article. Then again, who wants to be good when you have the opportunity to be great?
All coaches set out with the best intentions. Coaches are leaders. No leader ever wakes up in the morning and says, “boy, I hope I screw up this coaching thing today.”
So what separates the greats from everyone else? In my extensive study, I’ve found four primary pillars that all great leaders embody.
Four Pillars of Exemplary Leadership
Leaders trust not only themselves and their instincts (which is crucial for decision-making), but they also trust others around them. They trust their managers to manage, so they step aside and allow them to do their jobs. They trust their employees to make good, smart decisions not only for the company but also for the people their company serves.
This trust creates a sense of respect and partnership. It allows employees to grow, learn, and maintain a sense of autonomy.
Leaders bleed for the cause. They are there in the thick of things. Leaders don’t just show up when it’s easy or convenient, they are there when things are messy and difficult.
They are steadfast in their vision, they relay their vision to their employees, and they do whatever it takes to achieve their mission. It is their example of commitment that inspires others around them.
One of the biggest morale killers and trust breakers is when leaders behave erratically or in ways people see as unpredictable. Consistency creates trust, and conversely, inconsistency erodes trust.
When things change too often or without notification or explanation, employees feel confused, vulnerable, and even angry. Great leaders provide a feeling of safety by eliminating “surprises,” providing continuous communication, and maintaining a sense of balance.
Great leaders are inspirational. They stir our emotions. Their passion becomes our passion, their energy becomes our energy. They strive to become their very best, and they want the same for others.
A leader’s passion is transferable, and so is a leader’s lack of passion. If the leader isn’t excited about the company’s mission, you can bet the employees won’t be either.
I understand that you cannot boil a great leader down to only these four pillars. There are certainly many characteristics and traits that are essential for getting the job done and inspiring those around you. But show me a leader lacking in any of these categories, and I’ll show you a leader with some work to do if they want to leave an exemplary leadership legacy.