Whenever you think about corporate success, business growth or any kind of team-based achievement, the word ‘leadership’ is probably prominent in your mind. But what is leadership, and what makes a good leader? It’s a difficult term to define in a single sentence, but it’s essentially the art of motivating and inspiring others to achieve a common goal, particularly when that goal is challenging.
The ability to bring people together and deliver challenging results is a key component of success in business, sport, politics and any industry that depends on team cohesion. As a result, good leaders are carefully sought after and, as you might imagine, hard to find. Exceptional leaders are often unique in their approach and don’t fit a particularly mould – I’d recommend a look at this Management Mavericks piece from STL for an insight into this kind of person.
So, what should we be looking for when searching for a good leader? As the above infographic demonstrates they’re often very different from one another, but I think it’s fair to say that good leaders do share some key characteristics:
Good leaders are aware of their own emotional state, their strengths and flaws and how they impact other people. They know their limitations as well as what they’re capable of, and are able to clearly articulate this to colleagues and employees.
Strong leaders are almost always able to work under their own motivation and direction and they’re able to get things done without needing input from others. They’re also able to make quick and strong decisions, slowing where necessary to consider options and opposing opinions.
The best leaders are able to motivate colleagues and employees, making people feel like they want to help them rather than they have to help them. They’re able to clearly articulate a vision to a team and getting everyone working towards a common goal they all want to achieve.
It’s also fair to say that good leaders also often display a high level of emotional intelligence and social awareness, making them able to communicate effectively with people who don’t always share the same motivation, drive and background.