The five ingredients needed to cook up a great leader

A clear and compelling vision

  • Great leaders have a clear and compelling vision that they embody in both word and action. They lead by example rather than by precept, preferring to show people how to do something rather than tell them. They attract top talent to their teams as they themselves are prepared to roll up their sleeves and put in the long yards. They believe that they are servant leaders at the bottom of an inverted pyramid rather than a ‘know it all’ at the top of a conventional one.

Ability to listen first and act second

  • Great leaders listen first and act second. They never make decisions in the heat of the moment unless the situation demands it and they know that asking for help is a sign of strength rather than a sign of weakness. They do what has to be done calmly and efficiently once they have weighed up the costs and benefits of a chosen course and if it does not go to plan, they take responsibility instead of looking to blame someone else.

Emotional intelligence

  • Great leaders have emotional intelligence. They are empathetic and sensitive to the needs of others and they don’t always have to be the smartest person in the room. They proffer a listening ear to ensure that they are on the same frequency as that of their team and they suppress their own ego in order to build resilience and strength in others.

Not afraid to show their human side

  • Great leaders show their human side. They have humility in abundance and they never steal the credit that rightly belongs to someone else. They never waste time basking in reflected glory, putting their energies instead into creating a positive culture where people feel safe enough to be themselves, secure enough to experiment and supported enough to take a risk.

Willing to remove weed out destructors

  • A great leader sets clear boundaries so that employees know exactly what is expected of them. They never reward the slackers and they always challenge underperformance. They gently weed out any corrosive element by marginalising their influence, they act as a critical friend by offering constructive feedback and they always find a way to boost productivity and morale.

Too good to be true? Take a look at the top performing companies with the smallest turnover of staff. In these there will be a boss just like this!