You are currently viewing What separates a good leader from the greatest leader
Written by Brent Knight, President of ISS

In my life, I have worked many jobs and had even more supervisors.

As I look back, there are very few people to whom I reported who ever really left a lasting impression upon me. Most did not take an active interest in my growth or my future and many seemed to want to hold me back and push me down.

Why is this so common?

To be a great leader means that you need to clear the way for others to grow and learn. This often means that we need to set our ego aside and approach our employees, and human interaction in general, with curiosity and humility. News flash, it is not all about us.

The leaders who have made the greatest impression on me were always available and present, took an interest in me as a human being, and as an employee, they asked me questions that challenged me. Some even kicked me in the rear when I got out of alignment or strayed from the objective.

To be a great leader is to be a great coach. Coaching is something that employees need and often don’t realize it. The means by which we coach often dictates what we get from our people and how much they grow.

If I had to offer one piece of advice, it would be this. This is a three-part thing. First, ask lots of open-ended questions so that our employees can figure things out on their own. Second, give them the chance to fail forward as we learn the most from our failures. Finally, encourage them and recognize them for their efforts, and don’t forget to say thank you.

These little things can separate a good leader from the greatest leader.