Are you a great leader?

Are you a great leader?

 25 Oct 2022

Of course this is subjective, but from your own perspective, how do you rate yourself and what might you consider the essential skills necessary to be one?

Perhaps you are already at the top of your game, or maybe you are about to make your first step up into a management position.

Whether you are looking to move to a new employer and needing to showcase your leadership abilities, or simply looking to develop yourself further, self-reflection is no bad thing when assessing your skills and how you can hone them.

Part of being a great leader is recognising that it’s more than just achieving end results. You can accomplish success in any number of ways, but by utilising positive behaviours you can arguably accomplish more.

Great leaders will often possess the same/similar core attributes and values.  So, what might these include? Here are some thoughts.



The ability to cut through any clutter and keep the big picture in mind whilst formulating a road map of the building blocks to get you where you need to go. Understanding the current abilities of your staff and how far you can develop their skillset will be an integral part of this as you can build their progression into your medium to longer term goals.



Exuding passion for your role can be highly infectious and motivate your team to bring their best selves to the task at hand.

When curve balls galore start taking their best aim, an inspiring leader who can remain focused and enthusiastic throughout can keep colleagues going through the more difficult challenges.



Building effective relationships requires you to interact with your team as well as your peers in a meaningful way.

A great leader understands that the success of the team relies on the contribution of each individual member, from the bottom up. Each person therefore needs clarity on what their role is and to be given enough information to visualise how they fit in to the broader piece.

Constructive feedback along the way delivered in a timely manner can keep everyone on track.

Smoke and mirrors is seldom a helpful approach. You can’t always share sensitive information with everyone, but you can be as transparent and open as you are able. Your team will respect you for it. 


Emotional intelligence

As a leader you will be required to manage diverse personalities with myriad strengths, weaknesses, values and needs. Having the sensitivity to meet everyone where they’re at can reap immeasurable rewards and enhance the productivity of the team as a whole.

Simple things like recognising when someone is off their game and seeking first to understand “why?” before taking them to task, actively listening, being patient and respectful, showing empathy, offering support, having a reputation of being “fair”. Take the time to lift them up.

If someone is doing a fabulous job, be sure to let them know you’ve noticed, and appreciate them. If someone isn’t, a private, behind the scenes approach can cut off issues at the pass and not impact overall team morale and performance.

Emotional intelligence is also about being self-aware and appreciating how your behaviour has the capacity to impact others, both on a professional and personal level. An intuitive leader will seek always to leave them feeling positive, even when the situation is less so. Leave them knowing that you remain invested in them.


Empowering others

Part of being a great leader is recognising and nurturing great talent.

Once you trust each individual to carry out their role successfully, consider how best to manage them going forwards. For some, micro-management can often backfire, leading to creativity being stifled, further development opportunities missed and a negative impact on morale or wellbeing, possibly eventually leading to attrition.

Of course the buck stops with you, but how you draw on and utilise the experience of your team at both junior and senior level to best advantage says a lot about who you are. If you allow others to be a practical part of the wider vision, bringing their own creativity and initiative, how much better can the final result be, whilst still achieving the end game?  

An open minded leader who welcomes the strengths of others, taking on board their opinions and feedback is one who promotes an inclusive, happy and productive environment where all pull together and operate seamlessly as a unit, each bringing their own magic to the mix.

Plus, on a practical level, you simply can’t do everything yourself, so building a trusted team around you to get the job done is a necessity.



Leaders take responsibility not only for their own actions, but also those of their team. Every success or mishap lands squarely at your feet.

You will find that you engender great loyalty from your staff if you demonstrate you have their back when things go awry and you take the brunt of any negative consequences.  

It’s also about dependability. Being present, visible and mucking in when you need to with even the most mundane of tasks to help get a project over the finish line. You shouldn’t have to of course, but sometimes things will just go wrong through no-one’s fault; knowing that you are there and willing to step in if required is a powerful message of leadership. Some might also use the term "role model"...


Continuous improvement

No-one is perfect. There’s always room to grow, new experiences to be had, new skills to master and difficult feedback to take on board, even at the top. Having the humility to recognise this is part of the process.


You don’t wake up one day and boom you’re a great leader.

Leadership is an accumulation of skills and experience over time. And there are a lot of different leadership styles, some of which will be better suited to a particular environment than others.

If you are at the start of that journey, know that anyone can develop into a great leader. You don’t have to be the brightest, the most outgoing or the most experienced. There are many resources out there to help you along the way, from training courses through to coaching or time with a mentor you respect.  Lots of it just comes with time and practice.

In any event, leadership is something you grow into, sometimes without even noticing it at first. Self-awareness about how you go about it can arguably make the difference between you being purely a successful leader or a great one.



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