What makes a good leader?

And while we’re asking, are you one?

Whether anointed or self-appointed, leaders bring commitment, integrity and mission to make a difference. But what makes a truly great leader? Is it charisma? Is it the ability to stimulate change? Or is it something more?

WithitWhen I took the presidency of WithIt I had a lot of supporters but a friend cautioned me against taking on such a big responsibility. They thought I was a good role model but a good leader? Well, time will tell.

Just a few months into my presidency I’ve learned some important lessons about leadership and about myself. I’d love to hear if these lessons resonate with your leadership experience – and what other lessons you have to share as well.


Good leaders listen

They listen a lot more than they talk. And when they do talk, they economize their thoughts into a decision. Any decision is better than no decision and even if it’s the wrong one, that’s okay. Those listening skills will help you course correct as you go along.

“Communication is the real work of leadership,” says Harvard Business School professor Nitin Nohria, author of Beyond the Hype: Rediscovering the Essence of Management.

The leader is rarely the one in the front

WithIt Board of DirectorsWithIt is made up of strong, decisive leaders who take their responsibilities seriously. Being president of WithIt means putting my faith in people who can lead us toward success. Our board of directors, board of governors, our sponsors and avid supporters are the true leaders of this organization.

“Leaders must wake people,” says Rosbeth Moss Kanter, author of Confidence. “They must get people excited about something they’ve never seen before, something that does not yet exist.”

Leaders are humble

The true measure of a good leader is not absolute power over decisions or people. Good leaders build power by energizing and connecting. They find a common ground and open up opportunities that can only be seized through cooperation and trust.

Are you a good leader? I like to think of myself a leader in training and every day presents me with new opportunities to stretch the skills I learned the previous day. And you know what? I’m just fine with that.

If you haven’t heard of WithIt, I’d love to talk to you more about what it can do for you – and what you might be able to do for it. Connect with WithIt on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook and let’s start talking.

Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook or connect with me on LinkedIn – I’m always on.

One Response to “What makes a good leader?”

  1. Melonie Dodaro says:

    Yes, “Leaders are humble.” It is about being able to understand even the littlest things about the people you lead. Their needs. Their wants. And that takes a lot of humility if you are placed in hisg esteem and yet you are able to keep yourself within reach.

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