What makes a good leader?

I’m not a huge football fan, but there is something special about the World Cup, and try as I might, I can’t help being just a little bit interested!  It certainly helps that this time around we have done rather better than expected.

As I write this, I don’t know how far England will go, but for a change they are working as a team, trying to get a good job done well and not looking for individual glory.  This seems to be down to the leadership provided by Gareth Southgate, bringing together individuals and moulding them into an effective team.

We often see great players perform poorly because the team they are in isn’t sympathetic to the way they play.  The same is true in business – you can have the best employees, but unless they are well led, inspired, moulded and supported, they won’t perform as a team.

When things go well, it’s generally because the team is working together.  They are focused, clear on their role and invested in achieving success together.

Teams work best under good leadership which provides direction and inspiration, as well as support and guidance when necessary.  There is no ‘I in Team’, it’s ‘All for one and one for all’.  A leader wants success for everyone, not just themselves.

Qualities of a Leader

Forbes * describes the 10 Qualities leaders have as:

  1. Having faith in what they do. Leadership is all about being passionate about what you do and having confidence in yourself and your followers whom you have to motivate and inspire.
  2. Being prepared to make hard choices and sacrifices for the benefit of the team.
  3. Earning the respect of the team. Have the ability to show respect, empathy, and care to those that follow you.
  4. Knowing the team. Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of every individual to effectively manage the outcome of a team is essential for success.
  5. Understanding that the people are the key to success. Teams are made up of people with different skills and strengths. A leader gets the best out of everyone individually and moulds them to work together.
  6. Having a clear and focussed vision. A leader is a strategist and is not afraid to develop the team to be better than themselves. They take pride in the achievements of their team.
  7. Inspiring people to try to be the best they can whilst still knowing they are supported.
  8. Serving a greater cause. Great leaders are incredibly ambitious for the company or team and will do whatever is necessary to promote this greater cause.
  9. Keeping the team focussed and motivated. Leaders provide the support and encouragement to ensure the team can succeed.
  10. Avoiding leadership by force. Great leaders lead by example, they motivate and inspire their team to want to follow them.

Of course, great leaders are not always good.  You only have to look at Hitler or Attila the Hun to find great leaders who were also morally corrupt, whose goal involved annihilation of other tribes or peoples.

Impact of good leadership

It’s great to see the impact of good leadership through our success at the World Cup, and I hope that the lessons learned from this will be shared not only through sport, but through business and in particular politics.  We don’t need more managers, we don’t need more people after their own glory.

What we need are people who have the greater needs of our society at the heart of all they do, with the courage to stand up for what they believe in, the courage and motivation to make the necessary changes, the ability to inspire us with their beliefs and the honesty to admit when things go wrong.

Is there anyone out there who fits this description?

 

*10 Unique Perspectives on What Makes a Great Leader by Brett Gleeson, Nov 2016

https://www.forbes.com/sites/brentgleeson/2016/11/09/10-unique-perspectives-on-what-makes-a-great-leader/#246dd48a5dd1

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