What Makes A Good Leader?

There are many books on leadership, each quoting the secrets to great leadership. But many organisations are still struggling to find effective leaders. The authors of these books agree there is a difference between management and leadership. The audience of those same books struggle to put leadership into practice. So what makes a great leader?I read an article recently published by the Australian HR Institute about how star performers do not always make the best candidates for leadership. When I thought about this more, it made sense.


In the past, many organisations would promote their staff up through the ranks into a position management. However, as time went on, they realised this was perhaps not the most effective result. Those staff were great at their “on the ground” job, but they did not have the skills or aptitude to manage or lead people.


Leadership requires a whole different skillset. Not everyone has the capability to lead an organisation.

Leadership is a highly debatable topic in not only the human resource industry but also within the business community. Leaders come in all shapes and personalities.

Throughout my career, I have known some great leaders and some not so.  Those great leaders have been able to inspire their workforce to achieve both personally and professionally..

Firstly, leaders do not have to be a manager.  A leader can be anyone who has the ability to empower and motivate people. Second, a leader is someone who listens to all suggestions without immediately dismissing them. They don’t have to implement every idea, but constructively advise why or why not. A leader is someone who is both professional and approachable.


The top five leadership skills which authors of those thought leader books seem to agree on are:

  • Honesty and integrity – believe in the values and culture of the organisation A leader demonstrates belief and confidence in their team.
  • Communication – be open, honest, approachable and available to have quality discussions.
  • Ability to Inspire – a role model who leads by example, identifies and recognises team strengths are valuable skills.
  • Commitment to the team without compromising their own value system.
  • Confidence and ability to delegate – trust the team as you cannot do it all!

Above all, it makes good business sense for organisations to treat their workers like “people”.

Successful organisations create an environment where people actually want to be. This results in a workforce which thrives, creates, grows and achieves. Ultimately, the organisation will benefit profitably, too.

What do you think makes a great leader?

All images courtesy of Google Clip Art Gallery

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