Why good leaders make you feel safe
By TRISOFT team
We all know that leaders are those chosen ones who get to lead or command a group, a department, a company or even a country. Some are born with the special skills that make them perfect for this position, and others are “made”, namely trained and molded through practice and experience, over time.
Some are loved, and others loathed. Some are good at it, and others fail terribly. But what exactly makes a great leader and how do great leaders make us feel appreciated, focused and, most of all, safe?
At the beginning of the human species, there was danger everywhere. However, as the saying goes, there is safety in numbers, so people associated and formed tribes or groups, as they learned to cooperate and live in communities. They learnt to look for one another. Although times have changed, the need for safety remains ingrained in our primal brains and we form our entire lives around it.
Dangers nowadays are however entirely different: the economy, government decisions, technology replacing us and making our jobs obsolete, competition, financial insecurity, etc. And when we feel unsafe, as many of us do these days, instead of focusing on outside threats, we turn inward and begin fighting each other. When we don’t feel safe inside our work organization, we try to protect ourselves from what we perceive as immediate menaces, to the detriment of others and our own state of mind; everyone else is a danger, the leader is a danger, therefore we fight against them, and that weakens the entire structure.
So how can one prevent that from happening? Do leaders themselves play a role in this? Well, apparently they do. A lot. Leaders set the tone and inspire us. If they sacrifice their own well-being for the sake of others, then we tend to do the same.
Let us discover what are the most important 4 traits of a leader who makes us feel valued and secure.
1. Being a great leader is kind of like being a parent
Leaders give their followers opportunities, education and discipline when necessary; they build self-confidence, so that employees can achieve more for themselves. When employees are performing badly or losing their efficiency, their job is to train, support and motivate.
However, this isn’t what usually happens in companies these days, and that is why we kind of hate leaders: not because they gain indecent salaries on the backs of hardworking employees, but because they’ve broken the social contract — they’ve sacrificed others for their own welfare. Great leaders don’t sacrifice the people to save the numbers, the finances, the company, but rather sacrifice all else for the welfare of people. In return, employees feel grateful and strive to do their best, so as to repay the leader, the organization, and inspire others in their turn.
2. Leaders promote trust and cooperation
Communities function on the basis of the principle of trust and cooperation — “I do things for others, because they would do the same for me.” Trust develops safety. When we feel safe, we are strong, confident, creative, efficient, productive, we are able to do our best and obtain optimal results. Leaders should inspire this feeling in those around them and nurture a trusting environment.
3. All men are equal
The leader follows the same rules as his subordinates and subjects himself to the same harsh measures when the economy demands it. As author and motivational speaker Simon Sinek says in his TED talk with millions of views, “It’s better for all to suffer a little than any one individual in the group to suffer a lot.”
4. Leadership does not equal authority
In the present society, most of us do what our leaders say because they have authority over us, but, alas, we don’t feel inspired by them or willing to cooperate with them. Ours is actually a biological and primitive response: when we see the boss walk down the hallway or pass by us, our instinctive fight-or-flight reflexes immediately come into play: our heart rate increases, our body temperature rises and we might be looking for some place to hide :)
Leaders today need to understand that leadership is not a rank or something granted inherently by some higher power, something they are automatically skilled at, but rather a choice that they have to work hard at — there is no leader that could not benefit from more training, experience, suggestions and interactions. Great leaders are not followed because people have to do it, but because they want to do it.
At TRISOFT, we believe that the single most important trait of a workplace is security. And among others factors, security is mainly achieved through the intervention and guidance of a great leader, who knows how to make people follow him not out of fear, but out of love, respect and willingness. Once security and trust are achieved, performance will automatically follow.