People expect me to run through a series of desirable leadership attributes in reply. And I do.
I say that a good leader needs to want that role. They need to look forward to going to it on a Monday morning. They need to go to it with a care for others but not caring what others think. They need to have a big picture in their head about what their company or school or country will look like in the medium to long term. And they need to develop and implement strategies to get there, taking others along with them and enlisting their support in achieving their vision.
But that’s only part of the picture.
Look… I’m thinking about using the word ‘luck’ here—and that term’s a bit of a taboo for leadership consultants because people prefer to talk about good leaders spotting the right opportunities and seizing them. Which is about judgment and not luck, right?
But there is an element of luck in leadership. There have been potentially good leaders who aren’t recognized as such because cultural, political, socio-economic, health, family issues and a host of other factors conspired against them. And, conversely, there have been perhaps average leaders who have had greatness thrust upon them because all of the elements I outlined above came together just right for their period of tenure.
All of which is not to say that a leader cannot exercise choice. So I say this to anyone with the desirable leadership attributes I outlined at the beginning of this blog entry. If you’re unlucky enough to find that the circumstances you’re in do not allow you to shine in the ways you know you can—and despite your best efforts you cannot change this—then get out and find a better environment in which to deploy your talents.
You owe that to yourself. And knowing when to jump to another ship is probably the most important leadership quality of all.
Tags: best efforts big picture blog entry circumstances economic health element exercise choice family good leaders greatness health judgment leadership attributes leadership quality monday morning reply taboo talents tenure using the word what makes a good leader