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Three qualities of a great leader

There are lots of ways to measure a great leader.

Here are three that should resonate with you as leader and with those who follow you. These qualities are applicable whether you are leading your company, a board, or a group of people – and certainly are aspiration targets for you if you are measuring yourself against the best.

The first quality in a great leader is to have laser focus

Every organization has limited resources, especially money and time. So, a leader who can focus upon the core needs of the organization, eliminating all the surrounding noise, is one who uses the limited resources available to best effect.  McDonald’s does this by focusing upon good food, delivered quickly.  There are a million examples of great companies and their leaders focusing like a laser on core components of the business and succeeding where others failed because of the inefficient use of limited resources.

Second is consistency. 

It is more than difficult to follow a leader who changes course seemingly without reason or sets standards that change by day or by whim, or rewards one person or department differently than others.  Inconsistency breeds fear, disillusionment, and discontent among those suffering, following this flaw in leadership.

Third: Establishing and maintaining forward progress.

[ Email readers, continue here…]  Stagnant companies lose their best employees, those wanting a challenge and upward mobility in a growth environment.  Forward progress can be felt by all and celebrated as the company reaches new milestones toward its goals.

Measure yourself against these three qualities. 

Have the courage to ask a board member or even a direct report to comment on your three measures. Where do you need a bit of work?  Not one of these requires formal education. So, there is no excuse for failure to be your best in all three qualities.

  • Bob Booker

    Good message, Dave. Hope all is well.

  • Harley Kaufman

    Hi Dave
    Another classic leadership quality is the ability to manage three ways. Leaders must master managing downward (those who report to them); horizontally or ‘on the level’ (those who are contemporaries on their level) and upward (those to whom the leader reports to currently). All three are critical to being a great leader.
    As usual, all my best. I read these emails religiously.

  • Michael O'Daniel

    I would add a 4th quality: good listener who is open to listening to anyone in the organization, not just those at the C-level and/or with the “right” career or academic credentials. The most valuable information often comes from the most unexpected sources.

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