What does “strong leadership” really mean? Why do some leaders inspire loyalty and respect in their employees?

They listen to their employees.

Good leaders don’t tell their subordinates what they should learn. They ask them what they want to learn in order to do their job better. In other words, don’t choose the subject for your staff’s next professional development seminar. Ask them what they’d like the subject to be.

They can correct their employees without embarrassing them.

A weak leader ignores problems, or even worse, he’ll be overly critical. We’ve all known bosses who shout or humiliate their employees. That is not good leadership.

In contrast, a good leader knows to deliver criticism in private. He knows to begin with positive statements, and then to move onto the correction. He’s aware that the conversation should end on a positive note (“I know you are capable to meeting your sales goals. Last month was just a fluke.”)

Good leaders are friendly without being friends

The best leaders are always polite and personable with their subordinates. They might join them for a beer after work or attend a staffer’s wedding or baby shower.  However, although they are friendly, they are rarely friends with their employees. They know that a friendship with a subordinate is hardly ever successful. Friends are equals, while a boss is always a boss.

They enforce rules consistently

Employees will notice if you enforce the rules with one person, and let things slide with another. Like siblings, employees are very sensitive to any signs of favoritism. Good leaders are scrupulous in their efforts to treat everyone the same.

They speak up for their subordinates

Strong leaders are paid more because they often have to handle disagreeable tasks. If someone on your staff has been treated unfairly at work, a good leader will speak up for him.

They give regular feedback

Employees hate it when they work for months without getting any feedback. They want to know how they are doing. It helps them to feel secure in their jobs and ultimately reduces turnover. A good leader lets people know how they are doing, whether it is good or bad.

They motivate others to do their best

This is perhaps one of the hardest things of all. Good leaders know how to get the best work out of their employees. They don’t do so in a manipulative way. They simply know, often instinctively, how to motivate, encourage and inspire others.

As a general rule, a great way to motivate employees is to provide positive feedback. This does not mean that employees should be given false praise. However, a strong leader will be aware of his employees’ activities and will know when they demonstrate diligence or hard work or honesty. He is quick to praise and reward such behavior. A poor leader, in contrast, ignores such behavior or simply takes it for granted. Nothing is so discouraging to a worker than a boss who takes his efforts for granted.

They reward their employees in tangible ways

Far too often, corporate management will give employees meaningless rewards to thank them for high sales or months of hard work. These might be pins, free meals in the cafeteria or paper certificates. These rewards are inexpensive, so they are widely used.

A strong leader knows that employees want two things: money or time. He rewards exemplary employees with time off or extra money. He knows that his employees are not children and are unlikely to be motivated by trinkets.


These are some of the qualities of a strong leader. It you follow these suggestions, you are more likely to have loyal honest employees who respect you. This can only improve your chance of achieving a positive cash flow and financial success.

Jason Felts

Jason Felts is the CEO of Advanced Merchant Services. Starting out of his home in 1998, he has led his company to the corporate enterprise it is today. Jason has a dedicated passion to motivate others to pursue their entrepreneurial goals and become successful.