7 Attributes of Great Leaders

Steve Jobs


Ever wondered what it takes to be a truly great leader?  Successful leaders tend to have certain attributes which help them to drive success.  7 of these attributes are described below and each can become a learned skill:


Embrace Change

Great leaders know that change is not only inevitable, it is necessary in order to improve their business and grow it to the next level.  They understand that the environment is always changing and constantly review their strategic plans to ensure relevance and strength.  They are constantly seeking out new ideas, tips and techniques in order to get the most from their business. 

Seek Expert Advice But Make the Decisions

Some leaders rely on their subject experts to make decisions for them.  However, the challenge is that experts look at an issue from their perspective and thus it's possible to have several experts, from different fields, each giving a different opinion as to the decision that should be made.  This can lead to a degree of confusion and a delay in the process in making the decision.  Great leaders seek advice from experts and then look to apply it to a specific situation in a timely fashion.  The decision always lies with the leader and at times it may be necessary to choose a different option from that suggested by the experts.  The key is to understand your degree of tolerance to risk and be aware that advisors will typically err on the side of minimising risk.  The challenge as a leader is that there are times we need to embrace the risk, whilst mitigating it, to achieve the result we desire.  Having made the decision, it is necessary to ensure that the whole team embraces the new direction even though they may have counselled against it. 

Take Action

Great leaders don’t just learn about things, they do them.  They have a lot of knowledge, but they understand that knowledge can never be a substitution for action.

Understand What it Means to “Lead” People

Nelson Mandela

Great leaders understand that their role is to guide, mentor, influence and empower individuals and teams.  They really care about the development of their team and this comes through in their day to day interactions with them, resulting in positivity, respect, and the ability to motivate and inspire others.

Focus on Important Tasks, Not Urgent Ones

A great leader has strategies in place which allow them to focus on important tasks, that is, tasks which can really make a difference in the organisation and help drive it forward.  They don’t get caught up in the day to day troubleshooting and problem solving of the business.

Invest in Great Team Members

Spending time on great team members to help them become even better at what they do is an excellent investment in your business.  Great leaders actively train, develop and manage their team members. 

Make the Tough Decisions Promptly

Dragon's DenIt’s not pleasant work but making tough decisions promptly is probably one of the most important things you could do.  Making the decision to close a loss making venture, fire a team member, or renegotiate supplier contracts promptly is far more effective and in the end more satisfying for all parties involved.  Better a little pain now than a heap of pain over a long time.  As leaders, it beholds us to make decisions that may at times be unpopular and yet have a personal conviction that we are doing the right thing by all those involved.

Mike specialises in developing leaders in organisations to help them reach their full potential, with training, consultancy and coaching aimed at those in leadership roles.  To find out more, please email Mike, or call him on (03) 329 4647.

Author: Mike Catton.  Follow Mike on Facebook and Linked In, or check out his profile on Google+.

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