Leadership. It is a topic that is written heavily about by both experts and amateurs alike. If you were to peruse the business section of any given bookstore, you would discover a plethora of books whose authors claim to have discovered the one and only true key to becoming a successful leader.

Naturally, one is led to question the validity of such claims without much prompting. However, when one thinks of all the moving parts a business possesses, it becomes abundantly clear that there is no “one true way” to becoming a strong and effective leader. Instead, being met with such success in one’s position is the result of testing multiple methods based on not only the business’ needs, but on one’s employees’ needs as well.

With that in mind, I feel it would be prudent to further discuss the imperative and impact of strong leadership — which, contrary to popular belief, is not learned merely from reading a how-to guide.

Strong leaders take an interest in their employees

Although remaining focused on the company’s purpose and mission may seem like the core of a leadership position, that is nothing more than a misconception. Instead, leadership is rooted in the company’s culture, which directly impacts and is directly impacted by its employees.

Therefore, a leader should not only be engaged in the company’s culture, but foster the engagement of their team as well. This is often achieved by acting as a source of encouragement and inspiration, keeping one’s door open to employees, and graciously receiving their feedback and ideas — all while providing constructive criticism as necessary.

Strong leaders give their employees space to thrive and fail

In spite of human’s inherent desire to succeed at all costs, some of the most valuable lessons one can learn are from experiencing failure. Strong leaders know this fact all too well — as they have certainly been in such a position before — which gives them the ability to gauge when employees need guidance and when they should be left to sort out issues on their own.

By taking this necessary step back, leaders ensure employees know they are always a trusted resource and can be approached about any work-related issue, but that they should always take a crack at solving their problems on their own first — within reason, that is. This move not only improves one’s own leadership skills, but fosters the development of said skills in other employees as well.

Strong leaders value downtime

It is no secret that working constantly leads to employees feeling drained, unmotivated, and all-around burnt out. Strong leaders are not afraid to admit that fact, nor do they force employees to press on during these times of exhaustion. Instead, they promote leaving one’s work at work and spending quality time at home and with those who matter most.

Evidently, there is much more to leadership than just one key action. I implore you to keep this in mind moving forward, no matter if you are the employee or the leader, as your voice and knowledge of strong leadership is always essential to a company’s well-being.