4 Things Every Great Leader Needs

Exploring the Constants of Exceptional Leadership


Great leaders come in all shapes and sizes. Some are introverts, and others are extroverts. Some are very charismatic, and others are more stoic. Some are great public speakers, and others seem to bumble through their words. While many characteristics of great leaders may vary, there are some commonalities. What do you need to be a great leader?

Here are four things every great leader needs:

  1. Purpose. “Why” is one of the most important questions a leader can answer. It speaks to the values a leader holds. And it is the “why” that will drive future goals and strategies. If you lack purpose, you are missing one of the key foundations for motivating yourself and others to action.
  1. Conviction. Conviction is a strongly held belief. Would you follow someone who was wishy-washy about whether or not the direction they were heading was a good direction? Leaders need to demonstrate conviction in the direction they are taking their organization. They need to demonstrate conviction that their strategy is a good strategy for getting them there. Conviction does not mean you have all the answers. Conviction means you are bought in 100% to the answers you do have.
  1. Clarity. Leaders must provide clarity for their organization. Patrick Lencioni says that great leaders are CROs—Chief Reminding Officers. They are constantly reiterating who the organization is, where they are going, and how they are going to get there. When the leader gets tired of talking about the who, where, and how, everyone else is just beginning to get it.
  1. A great team. Great leaders have great teams. Where does Jim Collins start in his classic book, Good to Great? Get the right people on the bus. Why? Because great leaders have great teams. Where does Patrick Lencioni start in his book, The Advantage? Build a cohesive leadership team. Why? Because great leaders have great teams. Build great teams. An organization’s success is often not determined by the person at the top but the team at the top.

The good thing is that there is no prototype leader. You do not have to look like Tom Brady, sound like Morgan Freeman, and have the charisma of Jimmy Fallon. You can be you. But there are a few things for which all leaders should strive. Purpose, conviction, clarity, and a good team are four of them.

Why You Need to Develop a Team of Leaders

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One thought on “4 Things Every Great Leader Needs

  1. The ability to listen to others opinions and suggestions without preconceived notions of the individuals’ intent and evaluate the ideas based on their respective merit.

    Not to be afraid to look at themselves honestly in the proverbial mirror and reflect on actions, words, thoughts, of lack of that may or may not have affected those around them.

    The ability to use the hardest phrases in language when appropriate, “I’m sorry”, “I was wrong” and asking or giving forgiveness of mistakes and moving on.