“What are your team members looking for in you and your leadership?”

At a recent event, a senior executive shared about her leadership experience with the organization. At first, she said all the right things, which is exactly what the people did not want to hear. Then she shocked the room by expressing dissatisfaction with her lack of leadership.

She went on to say that even though she knew people were unhappy with the organization’s protocols, style, and approach, she regretted not doing anything about it. She concluded by talking about “courageous leadership” and why the workplace demands it now more than ever.

To lead effectively in the 21st Century, you must understand that those you lead are looking for at least three things from your leadership:

First, COMPETENCE: personal and professional skills that qualifies you to give leadership. They include positive and moral character, effective communicator, relationship and team builder and your ability to influence and inspire others to be their personal best. A title and position will never overcome the lack of skill and experience. Neither will it instill confidence in those who follow you.

Second, VISIONARY: You have the ability to create the future, whether it is this afternoon, tomorrow or five years out. Team members want to know that you know where you are going and how to get there. No one wants to follow an uncharted course behind a hesitant or uncertain leader.

Third, TRUSTWORTHINESS: This is the crown jewel of personal ethics. Regardless of talent, ability, or education, if your word is unreliable, you forfeit the right to lead. Never promise what you cannot deliver, even if it means you lose your position.

When team members see these qualities in you, they work harder, contribute better ideas with greater energy and stay with you longer.

When they do not see these positive signs, their energy and engagement level drops, their daily performance and spirit of excellence deteriorates, and their loyalty diminishes.

You are either a leader everyone wants to follow, or one everyone wants to avoid. Ask yourself, “Why would people want to follow me?” Make a list of your leadership strengths and weaknesses, something only mature leaders do. Then maximize your strengths and build a team to manage your weaknesses.

Moral of the story? Don’t spend too much time pulling the weeds (weaknesses) in your leadership garden. Just keep planting more flowers (strengths) and eventually they overtake the weeds.

When your team observes you on a daily basis, do they find these three things? If they don’t, what is your plan to close the gap between your leadership performance and their daily disappointment?

If you are not actively working everyday to improve your leadership, plan to say goodbye to your top performers—they will be out looking for a leader who still believes they have room to improve.