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4 Strategies That Make Good Leaders Great

Lindsay McGuire
April 15, 2021
Min Read

Being a leader can be incredibly difficult, yet it can also be very fulfilling. The best leaders have a unique mix of determination, emotional intelligence, and empathy that helps them lead teams and accomplish goals. 

Developing the right set of skills and attributes to be a great leader takes time. Although some aspects of leadership can come naturally, many of them are learned through experiences, education, and interactions. The strategies in this post can help you learn a few important skills and level up your leadership capabilities. 

cover image of the Ripple Effect podcast episode How leaders Can Build Trust Through Vulnerability and Humor

The tips below are all inspired by the Ripple Effect episode How Leaders Can Build Trust Through Vulnerability and Humor. In the episode, Dave Gilbertson, Chief Customer Officer at UKG, shares his best leadership lessons from working alongside comedians and leading one of the largest SaaS mergers of all time. 

Build Trust 

In Dave’s episode, he continually discusses the importance of building trust with the people you lead. If your team doesn't have confidence in you and your decision making skills, you’ll never be able to get very far on your leadership journey.

Building trust takes time, but it is an important foundation of any working relationship. Here are a few ways to help build trust with your team: 

  • Invest time in individuals 
  • Listen more than you talk 
  • Keep things confidential as needed 
  • Make people a priority 
  • Deliver on promises 
  • Clearly outline plans and intentions 
  • Have empathy in all situations
  • Avoid micromanaging teammates 

The more open and honest you can be, the more confidence your team will have in you. If you take the time to invest in each individual on your team, they’ll be better able to trust you, understand you, and work alongside you. 

Related: Here’s How to Build Company Culture on a Remote Team


This may seem like a strange leadership tip, but it’s one Dave is adamant about. “Fail as frequently as you possibly can. It sounds like such wrong advice and such random advice. But I think if you really reflect back on where any of us have had success in our lives or in our careers, you'll notice that breakthrough—that success—only comes from some level of failure that preceded it.”

Not only does failing help you make important breakthroughs, it shows your team that it is ok. As the leader, you set the example for the rest of the team. If they see you actively trying and missing the mark, you can provide important context and use it as a learning experience for everyone. This will help your team become more comfortable with making mistakes and trying new things. If they believe they always need to be perfect or must avoid failure at all costs, it will only stunt the growth and development of your team.  

Have a Vision

Creating, sharing, and executing on a plan for the future is an important part of leadership. Yet one of the most important lessons any leader can learn is how to go about developing it.  

The vision you craft for your team should be driven by the goals set by your organization, but it should also be impacted by the people you lead. When your team is a part of envisioning the future, they will feel more involved and included. This will build strong ties between employees and the vision, which improves overall employee success, happiness, and productivity. 

Read Next: Improve Productivity With These Genius Tips

Be Vulnerable

quote from the Ripple Effect podcast episode How leaders Can Build Trust Through Vulnerability and Humor

It isn’t easy to be vulnerable in the workplace, but it’s an important part of building strong relationships. When you’re open and authentic, you bring a new level of transparency to your leadership style that can inspire, motivate, and invigorate your team. 

When your team is able to see you as a person, and not just a boss, manager, or leader, you’ll begin developing better relationships. Being transparent and allowing people to see you as an entire person, and not just a worker, will help build trust and encourage more empathy, understanding, and teamwork across your organization. 

Related: 5 Ways to Create a Company Culture Focused on Personal Growth

Leadership is About Learning 

Whether you’ve led a team for a year or for decades, all leaders can continue to sharpen their skills. The tips above are just a few strategies you can consider weaving into your workday. The most important leadership lesson is to continually learn how to serve others so you can achieve a common goal, together. 


Want even more leadership tips from Dave? Listen to his Ripple Effect episode How Leaders Can Build Trust Through Vulnerability and Humor now! 


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Lindsay McGuire
Lindsay is the Content Marketing Manager at Formstack, splitting her time between creating blog content, writing reports, and hosting Formstack's Practically Genius podcast. She's a proud graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism (MIZ!) and loves connecting with others on LinkedIn.
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