People often ask me, how do you know if someone is a good leader? I always tell them if you have to ask, then chances are they AREN’T! I stumbled across this interesting article by Steve Venturo and made some revisions that might be helpful to those who strive to lead others in a way that instills passion and commitment to the mission.

In order to be a true leader, you must do the things that leaders do … and you must do them well. Here are some of the leadership behaviors you need to adopt:

Accept that your results now come through others. As a leader, your primary job is not to do the work, but rather to direct, encourage, support, and develop the people who do. Their successes are your successes … and their failures are yours as well. You’ll no longer be judged merely by what you accomplish individually. Your satisfaction must come from – and your reputation must be built on – what your people achieve. You shine when THEY are the ones in the spotlight.

Be a leader – not a “boss” or a “pal.” Your people don’t want to be bossed and they undoubtedly have more than enough friends. If you’re looking to get the most and best from your group, don’t be a dictator or a chum – be a LEADER who motivates, inspires, and models top-notch performance and conduct.

Let them know how they’re doing. Providing specific, detailed feedback needs to be an ongoing process rather than a once-a-year event. The more employees know how they stack up against your expectations, the easier it is for them to keep their performance on track.

Do right by those who do right. When team members do what you want them to do – when they meet your expectations or go above and beyond the call of duty – there ought to be something in it for them. Of all the activities you engage in as a leader, “catching people doing things right” – and recognizing them for it – needs to be one of your top priorities.

Explain “why’s” as well as “what’s.” It’s VERY important for your people to know why things need to be done. It helps them feel like valued members of the organization. And when the why’s make good sense (which they usually do), it increases employee commitment and dedication to the tasks at hand.

Deal with performance problems early. Make and take the time to deal with performance discrepancies as soon as you become aware of them. Work through any fear, anxiety, or discomfort you may have. The earlier you address issues, the easier and less emotional they will be to handle for everyone involved.

Set the example and the tone. Regardless of what appears on job descriptions or in employee handbooks, your behavior is the real performance standard that team members will follow. They’ll rightfully assume it’s okay and appropriate to do whatever you do. Why wouldn’t they? So it’s critical that you set the proper example and desired tone … that you model the performance and behavior you expect from others.

Keep your commitments. Don’t make promises lightly … don’t make ones you can’t (or don’t intend to) keep … don’t BS the people who ultimately will determine your success. And when you do make commitments, write them down, check them frequently, and do whatever it takes to make good on them.

Embrace diversity. Work on maximizing your respect for diversity and insist that each member of your teams does the same. Appreciate individuals who are “different” – especially those of other races, cultures, creeds, and national origins. Fact is, it’s the legal thing to do … it’s the moral thing to do … it’s the smart thing to do.

So if you are like me, these take practice and commitment to excellence. Let me know other ideas you might have for leading right.