What are the Key Qualities for Great Leadership?
This question is centuries old. Now as much as ever it is worth revisiting. Here we explore the key components; The foundation and four pillars of great leadership.
The Foundation – Integrity
Integrity is the critical component of being a great leader. Plenty get there without it but few, if any, leave a lasting healthy legacy without it. Integrity brings with it authenticity, trust and credibility and is core to being able to get highly motivated people totally committed on the journey with you
The Four Pillars
The ability to have and articulate a clear inspiring vision, and with the team around you, turn it into a deliverable strategy is also key for great leadership. Without it, you may make a fine manager but not a great leader. Truly great vision includes self-awareness and decisiveness. The former to see not only where you are headed. The immediate environment you are in, and feedback you can benefit from and the latter to make and implement decisions with confidence.
Effective communication is essential to great leadership. Different leaders have different styles, and the presence of integrity and vision makes it easier, but all great leaders (and some who are not so great) have this capability. It is the ability to both articulate and inspire. Many common components occur – the ability to tell a story, the ability to connect, use of metaphors. Remember, communication is a two-way process, particularly when harnessed with integrity. Great leaders listen as much as they talk – and know when to act on and adapt from what they hear.
Great leaders have the ability to select, motivate and develop a great team – and having selected their team to inspire and empower them. They pick the right balance, spot and nurture potential and unleash it. They also know however when to persist with a selection, and when change is needed. Unpredictability destroys trust (although some poor leaders use that), but failure to act when needed equally undermines it.
Combined with these other traits energy provides an edge to great leaders and their organisations. Energy not only provides personal impetus but inspires those around and carries momentum into the organisation. Some get this naturally, others from ensuring their lifestyle, diet and exercise is in the right place. The latter is more learned – but at the end of the day is healthier, better balanced and more enduring.
If you put all the above together you are on the path to creating or being a great leader.
Do you agree with the above? What would you add to your leadership requirements list? Do your teams have in place mechanisms to ensure they can spot if they are in the right place or of they need to re calibrate?