THINK BUSINESS — What Kind of Leader Are You?

August 26, 2014 - 08:59

Do you know what the necessary ingredients are to be a good leader? How about a great leader?

What does leadership look like or smell like? Why are some leaders better than others? Do you know what your leadership style is? Do others think you are a good or a great leader? How often do you look in the mirror and see your leadership effectiveness? Most importantly, why is this subject so crucial today? 

Successful people in all walks of life have always fascinated me. Not just what they have achieved but because of who they have become and how they are different from others. 

I have written about many of their attributes and behaviors. I have studied their ability to communicate and inspire others. This thought process applies to the businesses they run and the individual leaders behind the wheel of those businesses. Now more than ever, the difference between the good companies and the great companies is primarily the leaders. 

One could argue that this has always been the case. However, I believe because of the recession and the extended unpredictability in today’s business environment, leadership is more important than ever. Your team is more confused about the future. Your products may or may not be relevant in this new world order. Your customers are not the same as they were in the go-go times of 2005. 

Great leadership provides a light for those who are confused. Great leadership knows when to adjust and change. 

So, as I touch so many great leaders and many poor ones, the following are some element of great leadership. 

Visionary. Great leaders look to the future (not just the here and now). Great leaders invest more time in long term planning and thinking. While the visions of different leaders may vary, great leaders realize it is their job to be the visionary of the business. They listen to others but they are the visionaries. 

Inspire. Great leaders inspire others. We are all human being but to accomplish extraordinary things we need to believe. We need to be inspired by others. We see this in great sports coaches, great presidents or great religious leaders. Inspiration is a blend of art and science. It is a blend of facts and beliefs that are not just dogmatic formulas. 

Planners. Great leaders have great planning skills. The know success comes from action not just dreams. They know how to plan and how to execute a plan successfully. These are skills they have developed and fine-tuned. 

Goal oriented. Great leaders are very goal oriented. They have a laser focus on the goal. They know how to stretch but they make sure the goal is attainable and measurable. They are not “the flavor of the month” thinkers. They may be creative and explore out-of-the-box ideas but they keep their eye on the prize. 

Love what they do. Great leaders are not only skilled but they are also passionate about being leaders. Because their passion is leadership, they are students of leadership (good and bad). Every day they wake up understanding their job is to be the leader and asking themselves what they need to do it better. 

Communicators. Great leaders understand communicating is paramount for them to accomplish anything. Communication does not mean being a great speaker or writer, it means connecting to those they are leading. Great communicators touch both the minds and the hearts of others. Great communicators understand it is their obligation to communicate, not the other’s responsibility to understand. They invest energy being great at communicating. 

Walk their talk. Great leaders walk their talk. This is why great sales people don’t always make great leaders. Walking your talk means not only being honest and doing the right thing. It also means when a leader creates the rules they go overboard living within the guidelines. 

You may have other attributes or descriptions of great leadership, but you generally can identify great leaders when you see them. 

What I want to impress upon you however is that, now more than ever, we need great leadership! Now more than ever you need to invest time and energy improving your leadership skills. Those businesses with strong leadership will soar ahead to the average ones. 

In closing, I believe if you focus on you and the other future leaders in your business you can achieve the success that you dream of every day. 

About The Author

Mark Richardson, CR, is an author, columnist and business growth strategist. He authored the best-selling book, How Fit is Your Business, as well as his latest book, Fit to Grow. Both books are available at

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