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Whether you’re a business owner or an employee, you’ve probably had to work collaboratively with others before. You’ve probably also worked underneath a manager or team leader at some point. And if you are a team leader, you want to command the respect of your team members.

So how do you know whether the person you’re following is a good leader?

A good leader is someone who can understand the concerns of their team members and foster a positive working environment. They’re also a person who genuinely values the creative input and perspective of their team. If a leader is controlling and stifles the collaborative process, they’re not doing an effective job.

There are questions you can ask yourself to determine how you feel about a team leader.

First and foremost: Is their behavior and communication worthy of respect? Do I want to act like this person when I interact with people?

This will tell you right away whether they have the positive, encouraging qualities necessary in a leader.

Next, regarding how they treat you: Do you feel inferior, belittled, or like your input isn’t valuable? Or do you feel as though the team is giving you the opportunity to do your best work?

Is the leader able to create supportive and sustainable relationships? Can they connect other members of the team to each other? Outside the team itself, can they collaborate with managers and clients to achieve the desired results?

Do you believe that the leader finds everyone on the team to have innate value? Are their actions supportive and encouraging? Alternatively, do you feel like you’re just being used as a tool for someone else’s ideas?

How does the leader respond to challenges and critiques? Do they get defensive or angry? Do they deflect the blame? Or do they take responsibility and make changes when changes are necessary? Is this a person who’s willing to admit when they’re wrong?

How does this person treat individuals who disagree with their opinions?

Does this leader seem like an emotionally mature and balanced individual? Do they make an effort to practice empathy and patience with the team members?

When looking at on-paper and verbal communications from the leader, do you see more positive content than negative content?