Good leadership is often the difference between a thriving business and a failing one. A great leader cares about their people and prioritizes their needs to ensure a happy and productive work environment.

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This post was updated June 29, 2023.

Being a great leader takes more than just setting goals and making decisions. Good leadership is often the difference between a thriving business and a failing one. Great leaders care about their people and prioritize their needs to ensure a happy and productive work environment. In this article, we will explore three attributes of the best leaders that are often missing in the majority of managers.

The best leaders are role models for transparency

Transparency is critical for building trust and fostering a positive work environment. It eliminates the likelihood of toxic behaviors like backstabbing, microaggressions, or vicious gossip. In transparent work cultures, you can count on the guardians of the culture to watch out for politics or favoritism behind the scenes and squash such behaviors as soon as it happens.

As a leader, it’s your responsibility to model transparent behavior. Leaders must have the courage to pull the plug by being real with their own feelings first, followed by being radically honest with those who need critical feedback on their performance. Leaders must ensure that transparency is a cultural norm for getting work done in an open, collaborative, and respectful setting.

The best leaders foster an environment of psychological safety

Psychological safety is a shared belief that the team is safe for interpersonal risk-taking. The best-performing teams admit to errors and discuss them more often than other groups. What distinguishes the best-performing teams is psychological safety, which facilitates a “climate of openness” to course correct and cut through problems faster. 

Psychological safety curbs the fear that historically makes it difficult for workers to think clearly and act confidently on their own to make decisions. It helps to eliminate the authoritarian tactics of bosses yelling at workers for making mistakes or not knowing things. Psychological safety also allows employees committed to displaying cultural values like honesty and integrity to challenge the incompetent authority of bosses who violate those same values. 

The best leaders don’t neglect the power of 1-on-1 meetings

One-on-one meetings are an excellent opportunity for leaders to connect with their employees and create a positive work environment. When leaders take the time to find out what’s going on with their people and how they feel about things, their team members feel valued and give discretionary effort.

One-on-one meetings don’t have to have an agenda. They’re used mostly to find out how things are going and whether people have questions or concerns about the business or a particular strategy in play. The best leaders will spend sometimes up to half of their working hours meeting with their employees.

It’s essential to ask the right questions during these meetings, such as “What can I do to support you better?” or “What suggestions do you have for improving our business?” These questions affirm the employee’s value and voice and spawn great ideas for how to run the business better.

Examples of successful implementation of these leadership principles

The following are examples of successful implementation of the leadership principles discussed above: 

Airbnb: Transparency

Airbnb hosts weekly company-wide meetings, which the CEO attends, to communicate updates, answer questions, and ensure transparency. They also use Slack channels to share information across departments, ensuring that everyone is in the loop. 

Google: Psychological safety

Google promotes psychological safety by encouraging employees to speak up when they see something wrong, challenging the status quo, and proposing new ideas. They have also developed a program called “g2g,” which stands for “Googler to Googler,” to promote knowledge sharing and collaboration across departments.

Netflix: 1-on-1 meetings

Netflix encourages one-on-one meetings and encourages their employees to take responsibility for their growth and development. Their managers are trained to listen and provide feedback, ensuring that employees have the support they need to succeed.

As a business owner, prioritizing your employees’ well-being is crucial for your company’s success. The best leaders model transparency, prioritize one-on-one meetings, and foster psychological safety, leading to a positive work environment, higher employee satisfaction, and increased productivity.

Implementing these leadership principles may require a change in company culture, but the benefits are worth it. Examples from successful companies show that prioritizing employees’ needs leads to better performance and overall success.

As a leader, take the time to evaluate your company’s culture and assess whether you are modeling these leadership principles. If not, make a plan to implement them and create a positive work environment that promotes growth, success, and a happy team. 

Chris Pollinger, founder and managing partner of RE Luxe Leaders, is the profit whisperer to the leadership elite in the business of luxury real estate. He is a national speaker, consultant and leadership coach.  Learn more about his broker, manager and team leader growth programs at

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