Corina Manea

How Do You Know You Work for the Right Leader?

By: Corina Manea | January 6, 2016 | 

How Do You Know You Work for the Right Leader?

By Corina Manea

When you begin your career, you’re eager to learn as much as possible to please your boss, to do everything great and to climb the corporate ladder fast.

As you gain experience and are more competent in your job, you start thinking about your role in the company:

  • How does your work affect the bottom line?
  • What you can do more of and better?
  • How can you grow as a professional?

Then comes a time when you’re really good at your job, you’re an expert.

Now is the right moment to take a break and, by that I don’t mean taking a sabbatical year, but to take a moment and analyze you career.

Write down what is it you most like about your company, boss, colleagues, and daily tasks. Write down what you like the least. For each, jot down what you can do to improve—whether it’s a relationship with a colleague or boss, a process in your daily job, or in the company.

If you haven’t figured that out yet, I am talking about the perspective of loving your job and what you do.

So far, so good.

But here comes the hard part: How do you know your leader is the right one?

How Do You Know You Work for the Right Leader?

A lot has been written about great leaders and their qualities, however, not much is said about what you need to look for to know you work for the right leader.

Believe it or not, knowing you work for the right leader and being invested in the company you work for determines your success and influences your personal brand.

No matter how good you are at your craft, if you work in a toxic environment, you’ll never give your best, nor feel part of the team.

The right leader shares his/hers vision with company’s employees and gets them excited about meeting their goals. Being part of the team is more than just doing your job, is being part of the vision and knowing that what you do on a daily basis influences the bottom line.

The right leader is interested in her employees beyond hello or how was your day. She is there for them, she’s interested and listens their ideas, opinions, problems. She cares about them and makes sure everyone knows what counts.

He is also interested in the personal development of his employees and sees that they follow their passion at work, but also outside. He supports them, isn’t afraid to invest in them, and isn’t afraid his employees will go to another company.

Newsflash: If you care about your people, they are loyal to you, period.

The Right Leader Sets Your Future

This quote from Richard Branson holds the truth:

Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.

If your leader puts his/hers employees first, listens to them, mentors them, and helps them be better at what they do, then you know you work for the right leader.

You will come to work motivated, feel invested to go beyond your job description. You will come up with ideas to improve your work and the processes in your company. You will feel part of the company and its successes. It will become your project, the reason you get out of bed every morning.

Working for the right leader will affect not only your work at his/her company, but also your future as a professional. It sets the base for the way you approach future career opportunities, it will help you see beyond the shiny new object and look for what matter most for you, instead of a title or a big paycheck in a toxic environment.

Do you work for the right leader? How do you know that?

About Corina Manea

Corina Manea is the chief community officer at Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She works directly with Spin Sucks students and writes for the award-winning PR blog. She also is the founder of NutsPR. Join the Spin Sucks  community!

  • Oh, so many many thoughts on this! I’ll try to pick the highlights. One of our Weaving Influence clients, Cheryl Bachelder, who is the CEO of Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen, speaks and writes eloquently on how Popeye’s turned around from being in a corporate crisis by focusing on the satisfaction of the franchise owners, on the premise that the happiness would then trickle down to the customers. Here’s a blog post that kind of addresses that: // Secondly, I participated today in a twitter chat led by the disneyinstitute and it was all about this topic. So much truth! I encourage anyone to search for the #dchat hashtag and see the convo! // For me, it is important that the leader help me understand the big picture, even if my particular job is a tiny step in the process; it just makes a difference to know what the end result will be. It is also important (and painful) that they be honest with me about the good and bad of my performance. // Last thought: I think it is a semantics thing, but sometimes the “right” leader is not the leader we want but the leader we need. One of my toughest leaders was a very hard person to work for. Very strong personality, a yeller, sometimes self-centered. But when I look back on it, she is the person I learned the most from. I didn’t always want her but for my professional development I think I always needed her.

  • biggreenpen You touched a few important points here, Paula:
    – Leaders need to share the big picture. Not only it would help employees better understand their role, it will get them excited about reaching the goals.
    – Honest, direct feedback. Yes, it’s painful, but very necessary if you want your employees to do better. You can’t improve what you don’t know you’re doing wrong.
    – As for your last point, I’d like to disagree. It’s true you learn working for someone “hard to please”, but it also comes at a personal cost such as stress, frustration, don’t get any satisfaction from your work, unhappy at work. I’ve had my share of such experiences, so I get what you say. However, when your leader is a normal human being, but a determined leader who empowers his/her staff, who constantly gives feedback, is easy to reach out to, etc, employees will not only be happy, but will be involved in the company and its mission.

  • Corina Manea – yep – I definitely understand your point on the hard to please! 🙂

  • Great post Corina Manea I think with so many people in the US just happy to be employed this topic isn’t something they think about. But anyone who has worked for an organization that was growing successfully and thus shared in that prosperity knows what a great leader is….and anyone who has left jobs because they couldn’t work for their manager for lack of respect or qualifications or abilities knows the reverse. I have experienced both. 

    I was with a start up last fall because I wanted to work with someone I admired. It didn’t work out. I went from being a happy minion to and equal to wondering if this person could lead me in a matter of 5 weeks and then we parted ways. I think it is important we work for people we want to work for and having the skills to identify who you can work for is important. My first job interview out of college was selling copy machines in NYC in 1991. The ‘Sales Manager’ took me for a ride along and he wore a polyester suit. When I met him and saw that I knew I didn’t want the job!

    I have like 21 more anecdotes of hilarity. The no belt guy. The long fingernail guy. The micromanager who did none of his own work. To the Mentor others called a bitch because she was the only female manger and stood up for her team when needed who I went above and beyond for.

  • Corina Manea remember when I told you to not settle for less that $1 mill US and a 7.35% stake in the company if ginidietrich ever hired you? Whatever happened with that?

  • Howie Goldfarb I am afraid to ask about the no belt and long fingernail guys. 🙂
    To your point, everyone needs to take responsibility for their own decisions in this life. If you work in a company or for someone you don’t like or don’t like your job, if you stay there after you realized this, it’s your fault. There are always solutions, you just need to be opened enough to look for them.

  • Howie Goldfarb ginidietrich Yes, I remember. Who says I settled for less?

  • corinamanea

    WaynePorteous1 SpinSucks Thank you, Wayne!

  • kaitfowlie

    “If you care about your people, they are loyal to you, period.” – Not just at work, either! My boss and team is THE BEST and I will shout it from the rooftops because I think you are so right Corina – a good leader your will not just affect your work at the company, but also influence your future as a professional. So, so true. It’s all about setting a good example.

  • kaitfowlie My boss and team are THE BEST! hahaha
    Yes, setting a good example and creating a strong, close team are keys to ensuring the success not only in business, but also for every team member. Thanks, Kait.

  • Bill Clifford

    Another timely post Corina. I think someone there is spying on me… Laura P and I were just discussing this late last week. You can either be a leader or you can produce. You cannot do both in an organization and I feel this is where most clients/businesses are going wrong. The value businesses are putting on leadership is so minimal compared to productivity, our workforce is definitely at a crossroads.

    So many employees in various professions are simply not putting up with it and leaving. The most valuable employees are usually the first ones to go.