What Makes a Good Leader?


I have been very fortunate to be around many great leaders in my career and have attended many different leadership programs. Now I study service leadership for a living and coach leaders to lead with service. I have come to find eight different attributes to define a good leader that I have observed when working with clients, family and groups.

What Makes A Good Leader?

Trust – Perhaps one of the most crucial of them all. Without trust, the foundation for leadership is unreliable and questions will rise relative to agenda, motives and reasoning behind direction.

Loyalty – The close cousin to trust is loyalty. Followers of a leader must know and believe unconditionally that their leader is loyal to both personal and professional purpose.

Respect – Leaders may not always be loved, but they must be respected. Followers also have an unconditional need to be respected. A leader without respect will find it extremely hard to influence and inspire action from his or her team, and the old adage of “You must give respect to get respect” is never truer than in this situation.

Responsibility – Strong leaders take responsibility for their actions and decisions, both when their team succeeds and when their team experiences set backs.

Motivation – Leaders must have the ability to motivate their team. In all facets of business there are peaks and valleys. A good leader enables the team to get through the hard times, motivates the team to continually innovate, and enjoys the successes of the good times. Solid leaders also encourage new and more efficient ways of thinking and doing, which I often refer to as influence.

Connectivity – As an organization grows, the ability to connect with all levels becomes more important, allowing for unity between the leader and followers. The world is full of complex and varying personality types; thus, a strong leader must have the ability to traverse all and speak freely and easily with all types.

Passion – We all need to be motivated and encouraged. Sometimes our enthusiasm wanes and we lose track of what we are trying to achieve. A strong leader speaks with passion, emotion and energy to encourage high morale, fun and innovation within the organization.

Leading By Example – Any leader that does not lead by example is doomed. Many rate this as one of their biggest criticisms of a poor leader. Leaders must ‘walk the talk’ and avoid the rubbish of ‘Do as I say and not what I do’, which simply does not instill trust and confidence. Today’s workers and followers expect their leaders to have integrity. They expect their leaders to have the integrity to demonstrate what is being asked. As opposed to a poor leader who demonstrates major differences between what they say and what they actually do.

Let me hear from you! Please share your opinion on what makes great leaders and what inspirational leadership means to you. Reply in the comments below.

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