The One Characteristic of Great Leaders

One characteristic makes great leaders stand out. The characteristic is not their performance. All leaders, good and bad can drive performance.

So what defines a great leader?

Great leaders make you better than you are. Great leaders make you better than you think you can be. They connect people with purpose, provide context and grow capabilities. They lift people up and help them realise potential.

The best leaders in my career helped me understand the context, challenged me to live my purpose and the organisation’s purpose, coached continuously and shared their experience, wisdom and lessons. They were also the most ruthless in providing feedback and setting stretching targets. They expected more and trusted you to deliver.

If you are a leader, don’t put up the drawbridge, drop down a ladder. Focus on how your people can stretch and grow. Build a strong pipeline of successors. Become an engine of talent for the business.

If you aren’t yet a leader, look out for the leaders who develop their people and grow their opportunities. Who you work for can be more important than the role in advancing your career. Ask yourself if you can begin to develop others in what you do now.

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