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My latest blog posts, thoughts and assorted leadership articles as well as my own business and personal philosophy

What makes a good leader?

I’ve read a few posts and articles recently about what makes a good leader and I find that they generate two reactions.


The first is the fairly predictable: do I do that and do I do it enough? We all like to think that we lead rather than manage – and that we are good at it – but having a mirror held up to us is always a good thing. 


The second reaction is more nuanced, and it is generally along the lines of: is that it? If someone did those things would their team (my team) recognise them as the characteristics that make them (me) a good leader?


So, at the risk of my team holding that mirror up to me, here is my list that maybe one day will be the chapter headings of a book on the subject:


  1. Open and honest with information and inclusive in the process of making decisions. For me, this means putting yourself firmly out there for your team to decide whether they trust you as a leader and as a person
  2. Empathetic through listening to and engaging with the team and building a real, heartfelt, understanding of what is important to them. And then acting on it (or at least being informed by it) in every decision that you make
  3. Nurturing the right environment for everyone to give their best and to be their best. This is much more about true inclusivity than it is a maternalistic or paternalistic desire to “parent” the team
  4. Brave; leaders gotta lead. And while we all have our different styles it is your job to be the one that makes the difficult decision and owns the outcome
  5. Generous with your time and power. Being there with your team and inviting them to be part of yours is the most powerful thing that a leader can do. It takes strength of character to get out of your (hard won) office and be a visible, open and “present” leader


Originally posted on LinkedIn

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