Being an effective leader should not be under-estimated, as the more effective your leadership, the more effective your business. So what makes a good leader? Well from my experience, I would say the following are qualities that define a great leader.
This is the ability to be able to judge what is likely to work and not work – and focus on the former. If you identify others in your team or around you that can do this – back them. As the late Peter Drucker said: “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.”
Leadership is the ability to be clear and straightforward and have a very clear view of what success looks like. Communicate regularly and in a clear and concise manner.
A good leader sets out a clear vision of where the business is heading. A great leader then gives employees the freedom to deliver the vision.
You must be passionate about your vision and create passion among those in your business too. As Joseph Campbell, an American writer, said: “Passion will move men beyond themselves, beyond their shortcomings, beyond their failures.”
As a leader, you need to make decisions, some may be tough ones but not taking decisions leads to stagnation. The capacity to take decisions and get on with it is what leadership is about. You should consult (for ideas) and really listen and be prepared to change your views and take on board what they say. But in the end you have to have the courage to take decisions and get on with it.
Not everyone can stand on a stage and ignite passion from the audience. As a leader, it is important to keep the troops motivated and nothing works better than telling your team how much you value them.
People only do their best when you are consistent and fair. This is why it is important to be yourself as it is easier to be consistent when being yourself.
You need to embrace change. You need to drive change to adapt to a changing market. However, constant change can destroy climate. Concentrate on 5-6 things that can change the organisation for the better. Don’t do too much yourself; just the big issues. Concentrate on a small number of things that make the big things happen.
You need talent around you to make your job easier. When you see it back it, support it, nurture it and don’t be frightened by this talent coming through. As talent management professionals Turner & Kalman said: “People will be at the forefront of strategy and talent management will be a critical component part.”