What makes a great leader?

Assessing “Leadership” or attempting to quantify the components that make up a great leader has over the years proven to be an impossible task. 

Some may say that leadership cannot be taught, and that people are either ‘born leaders’ or otherwise.  However, if you could bottle the ingredients that make up a great leader, the magic potion would outsell even Chanel No.5Either that or it would be weaponized before it ever had a chance to be used for forces of good. 

My thoughts however are quite the oppositeWhile I do believe in natural leaders, I also believe that people can develop certain skills to become great leaders – and the chemical formula that I have devised for great leadership is: 

HONESTY

Building the trust of your team that sees your honesty as a core trait takes time. However, once this is achieved it allows an openness in communication and constructive teamwork that is impossible without trust.

Honesty presents itself in many ways in leadership and while a leader may be completely honest with their team, it takes a different level of emotional intelligence to be honest with oneself. Being honest with yourself about your effect on your own success is crucially important – Whether it be in the effort you put into your work or in the knowledge and understanding of the different facets of your business, honesty is crucial to being a successful leader – and leads to my next component

There is famously no substitute for hard work, the adage says “you can’t beat a person that never quits”- this is no more relevant than in the world of business.

HUMILITY

It is said that “Pride is concerned with who is right, Humility is concerned with what is right”. As a leader you will often encounter situations where you must own your shortcomings, swallow your pride, bow to superior knowledge, and empower the people around you to act.

The knock-on effect of this is a shared ownership over your workflow which encourages people to go the extra mile and feel included as part of the process and not just a party to it.

Taking the time to own your mistakes in hindsight and accept your shortcomings with foresight gives those around you the confidence to make mistakes themselves. It is your role as a leader to make the consequences of a mistake very evident from the beginning, however the fear of making a mistake should never be engrained in their minds.

This approach provides an atmosphere for collective humility and is vitally important in your leadership and the shared success of your team.

HARD WORK

Having embraced the first two elements of emotional intelligence that make a great leader – you have now created an environment where people feel safe, nurtured and most importantly involved in the success of your business or projects.

The final ingredient, of which there is no substitute is simply – Hard-Work.

There is famously no substitute for hard work, the adage says “you can’t beat a person that never quits”- this is no more relevant than in the world of business.

The objective measure of what quantifies “Hard-Work” can vary from person to person. The trust that you have obtained through your honesty should reassure your team that when you say, “you should be working harder than this?” it is coming from a place of shared goals and outcomes – and is not blind criticism.

Also, at times, you might have to be honest with yourself – look in the mirror and say “Should/Could I be working harder?” If the answer is yes, then do not begrudge your slow progress to success.

If the answer is no, then maybe it is a time to show some humility and realize, that despite being a leader, there is someone far better suited to the task at hand. Perhaps, this is a time to work smarter and delegate the task to a team member that can deliver far more efficiently.

So, there you have it- 3 H’s, 3 Values and 3 Core components which make up the fabric of a great leader.

Sure, some are born with a head start in their emotional maturity, but it is clear that through time, experience, and openness to learn we can all, hone and craft our leadership skills to be great leaders.

All it takes is Honesty, Humility, and a lot of Hard work.

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A collection of articles, trends and thoughts from our consultants at Curia. We strive to provide relevant content that will equip any business owner with information required to improve their business.

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