This is a topic I touched a few times earlier. In the current era seeing many firms going through a harder period, many cases resulting in layoffs, let’s see what I think makes a good leader? A good leader typically possesses some (most? all?) the following characteristics:
- Vision: They have a clear idea of where they want to take their organization or team and are able to effectively communicate it to others. Example: Steve Jobs and his vision for Apple, or Martin Luther King Jr. and his vision for a more just and equal society for African Americans in the United States.
- Integrity: They are honest, ethical, and transparent in their actions and decisions. Example: Nelson Mandela and his commitment to fighting for justice and equality in South Africa, or Malala Yousafzai and her commitment to promoting education for girls and women, despite facing threats and violence.
- Decisiveness: They are able to make difficult decisions quickly and effectively. Example: Winston Churchill and his leadership during World War II or Abraham Lincoln and his leadership during the Civil War and the abolition of slavery in the United States.
- Emotional intelligence: They are able to understand and manage their own emotions, as well as the emotions of others. Example: Mahatma Gandhi and his ability to inspire peaceful civil disobedience or Mother Teresa and her ability to empathize with and serve the poorest of the poor in India.
- Adaptability: They are able to adjust their approach and strategy as needed to achieve their goals. Example: Jack Welch and his ability to transform General Electric into a more efficient and profitable company (inventing Reverse Mentoring) or Barack Obama and his ability to navigate the complex political landscape and successfully implement policies such as the Affordable Care Act.
- Strong communication skills: They can effectively communicate their vision and ideas to others, and also actively listen to feedback. Example: Jeff Bezos and his ability to communicate his vision for Amazon (I try to use many of his tricks like the year-start year-end memo) or Oprah Winfrey and her ability to connect with her audience and share her message through her talk show and media empire.
- Empowerment: They give their team members the autonomy and resources they need to succeed. Example: Bill Gates and his leadership at Microsoft or Sir Richard Branson and his leadership style that focuses on giving his team members autonomy and support to achieve their goals.
- Creativity: They are able to think outside the box and come up with new and innovative solutions. Example: Elon Musk and his companies SpaceX and Tesla or Steve Wozniak and his role in co-founding Apple and developing the first successful personal computer, the Apple I, or Andras Velvart, spatial computing and artificial intelligence ideaman.
- Passion: They are passionate about their work and this enthusiasm is contagious. Example: Mark Zuckerberg and his passion for connecting people through Facebook or, again, Sir Richard Branson and his diverse business ventures in multiple industries, driven by his passion for entrepreneurship
- Humility: They are self-aware, and comfortable in acknowledging their own mistakes and learning from them. Example: Sheryl Sandberg and her leadership at Facebook and LeanIn.org, or, again, Mark Zuckerberg, and his willingness to admit mistakes and take accountability for them, such as during the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
I won’t bring examples on the coming section 😀 So, there are particular traits, you will want to avoid if you want to be considered a good leader.
- Arrogance: An overbearing sense of self-importance that can alienate others and make it difficult to work with them.
- Lack of empathy: An inability to understand or care about the needs and feelings of others.
- Indecision: A tendency to avoid making decisions or being unable to make them in a timely manner.
- Lack of transparency: Being dishonest or withholding information from team members and stakeholders.
- Inflexibility: An inability or unwillingness to adapt to changing circumstances or incorporate new ideas.
- Poor communication: Inability to effectively communicate goals, instructions and feedback, or actively listen to others.
- Micromanagement: An excessive need to control every aspect of a project or team, which can stifle creativity and innovation.
- Self-interest: Prioritizing personal gain over the well-being of the team or organization.
- Lack of accountability: Failure to take responsibility for one’s actions and decisions.
- Lack of emotional intelligence: inability to control one’s emotions or manage the emotions of others.
So, what you think, are you a good leader?