What Makes A Leader

The Filling

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One thing I have learnt pulling together this issue is that a good leader doesn’t have to be powerful to be able to influence or inspire a team. But being a powerful person doesn’t always make you a good leader either. In fact in many organisations, you achieve a position of power through technical ability and merit. So becoming a great leader once you are at the top of the ladder and in a position of power, having spent loads of time becoming awesome at your job and less time learning how to lead, can sometimes be quite tough.

Luckily for me (and us! if like me you are desperate to be like the most powerful person ever), I was able to get some tips on what makes a great leader from some emerging and emerged leaders within my firm. The question I asked was “What does a good leader look like?”. The answers I received were insightful, touching and inspiring…

A good leader is authentic

“A good leader needs to be authentic. They need to lead and inspire their people and teams, but in a way that’s real for them. I have learnt that the more “me” I show around my leadership roles and interactions, the better results I get. My teams are loyal to me as I’ve invested in them and they know I’ll look out for them too.”

Knows their strengths and weaknesses

“A good leader is someone who takes the responsibility of leading seriously and is self aware about their leadership style. They know their strengths and they know their weaknesses and they are open about them. They can then lead authentically, recognise the skills they need others to bring to the team and as such motivate those around them.”

“A good leader is someone who gets the best out of the teams they work with by sharing their vision, being open to new ideas and challenge, acting with integrity and utilising individual strengths to complement their own.”

Lights your fire

“A good leader understands what you need, lights your fire, opens doors, believes in you and builds a platform for a positive and exciting future… doesn’t mean things are easy but you know you are not on your own.”

Leads from within

“A good leader is someone who wouldn’t ask anyone to do anything they wouldn’t do themselves.  They lead from within and inspire those around them.”

Is the every day person

“A good leader doesn’t have to be the most powerful person in the world. It’s about every one of the billions of people on earth. Just think how the internet has enabled many more people to be leaders in their own right evidenced by the huge numbers of followers the every day person can obtain on twitter or as subscribers to their YouTube channel.”

Isn’t bigger than their position

“I once read an article about an analysis of the most (perceived) successful American Presidents in recent times, one of its conclusions which really resonated with me, was that they all had an ability to make everyone around them feel important and valued, regardless of who they were with or where they were.  This skill is an in built sense that they are not bigger than the position or job they hold and is, for me, what makes a great leader.”

Remains calm under pressure

“A good leader is like a duck. There’s an analogy out there on this. Calm above the water; frantic legs paddling below the water.”

Takes you along for the ride

“Good leaders take people with them, create vision, a sense of purpose, work towards a common set of goals, aims and outcomes. They invest in others’ developments based on their people’s needs and not around the leaders’ owns goals and motives. A leader is there for people when they need them, they do not hide away. A leader creates a positive collaborative environment, embracing leadership at all levels, and can step away when/as required knowing the team can function without them.”

Makes you feel that anything is possible

“Good leadership is inspirational. It makes you do something you would not normally do, makes you do something that you do not realise you are doing, gives you confidence and makes you want to be led by that person again.”

“A good leader makes you feel that anything is possible, opens your heart and mind, and provides you with the freedom to grow and develop…”