1. Your coffee cup is empty at the end of group meetings. No, coffee drinking itself isn’t a sign of good leadership. But if you’ve spent the whole meeting dominating the discussion, you haven’t had time to sip your coffee and listen to the input of others. A full notepad and an empty coffee cup means your team had the time and space to share their input.
2. You’ve worked to secure a promotion for your best team member. Great leaders don’t hoard top talent. They understand that their mission is to coach and develop that person to continue growing their career. If you’ve done an excellent job providing resources and experiences that challenged your star employee, then you know you’ll eventually have an opportunity to see them move on to an exciting new role.
3. You’ve had challenging conversations with your boss because you chose to advocate for your team. At times, the decisions made by senior leaders aren’t in the best interest of all employees. A strong leader will professionally push back on these decisions and be a champion for their employees’ well-being, contributions, and needs.
4. Your employees know some of your biggest mistakes. If you share the mistakes you’ve made in your career, then it means you’re a transparent leader that shares stories about what you’ve learned along the way. Your stories are likely told in a way to mentor other people so they can learn from your mistakes. It takes a humble, reflective leader to share their toughest moments with others, but your team will remember those stories and appreciate your openness.
5. Your employees know you don’t monitor their status on Teams. As employees transitioned to remote working during the pandemic, many managers struggled with the transition to remote leadership. In the absence of physically seeing the team focused, many looked to technology to see indicators of engagement. Great leaders don’t watch for an “Away” status on Teams, they focus on performance and outcomes.
6. You take your full vacation time each year. No, you’re not a great boss just because you like to take time off. But if you do take personal days, you likely have a strong work-life balance and model that behavior for your team. Additionally, if you feel comfortable taking time off, then it shows you’ve empowered your team to perform without your physical presence.
7. You begin each one-on-one meeting by asking your direct report what’s on their mind for the day, and you end by asking how else you can help. Great leaders check in with employees to hear what their employees need and let them drive the agenda.
8. You can name 5 times that you’ve thanked your employees this week. At the end of each day, you should be able to recall a specific and deliberate moment when you’ve shown gratitude to your employees for their efforts, contributions, and accomplishments.
9. You’re invited to after-hours events. One difficult aspect of leadership is drawing the appropriate line between work friendships and professional relationships. People want to work for someone whose company they enjoy. Having strong professional rapport is important for overall morale. If someone invites you to after-hours gatherings, then they truly appreciate your company.
10. When your employees make a mistake. They come to you quickly for help. When you’ve built strong relationships and trust, your employees know they won’t be ridiculed for their mistakes. They know they can come to you for help without feeling ashamed of making a mistake.