What Makes a Leader Better?

What makes a leader better?

Leadership roles can be both rewarding and frustrating. I am sure that most people in leadership roles find themselves thinking about how they could lead better or lead differently. The other night I was thinking and tweeted one of my “Leadership Thoughts” which said,

“Good leadership also requires compliance from followers. It can be unfair to blame a good leader with stubborn followers.” #leadershipthought

A great leader and close friend of mine, Blessing Mpofu (@Blessingmpofu) read this and responded with something he wrote called “How bad followers make good leadership resources”. An awesome post about making the most out of difficult people and turning a difficult situation around to sharpen and better your leadership skills.

After some discussion on twitter, the question came up WHAT MAKES A LEADER BETTER?

Here are some of my thoughts..

  • BELIEVE YOU ARE A GOOD LEADER – This might sound obvious, but a leader must first believe that he is a good leader. If he goes about believing that he is a bad leader, there is no chance of him getting better.
  • GET HELP AND SUPPORT – A leader should never see help as a weakness. It is impossible for a leader to have every strength. Understand what you can do and allow others to fill in the areas where you are weak. Going alone trying to impress everyone you did it single handedly will only result in burnout or failure.
  • KEEP LEARNING – Most good leaders know a lot. But they don’t do themselves any favours by not enhancing their knowledge and skills. The world is changing every day which means that leaders ought to keep learning and refining their knowledge all the time in order to stay ahead.
  • ACCOUNTABILITY RULES – Create rules that don’t allow you to become complacent. Those rules could involve setting boundaries for yourself where you can get easily distracted and getting someone to alert you when you are under-performing or not reaching your full potential. If no-one is watching you, it can be easy to get complacent.
  • EMPOWERING – When you help empower someone, they become a weapon in your artillery. Where one was able to make a good decision, now two are able. When more people get empowered and equipped, they can in turn add value back to the leader.
  • REVIEW – A leader who constantly reviews his or herself will always become better. In this review, there must be utmost honesty of where they are going wrong and the steps needed to take to get better. Perhaps revert back to Step 2.. GET HELP! Its okay to be stuck as a leader, Its not okay to stay stuck!

A quote I clearly remember after attending the Global Leadership Summit was when Bill Hybels said, “Everyone wins when a leader gets better!” What other ways could Leaders become better?




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  1. posted by
    Mervin Brown
    Jun 23, 2017 Reply

    I appreciate your perspective. It is true that for a leader to become better they must first believe they are good. What I have come to understand myself is that leaders often forget they are not handling projects, processes or implementing some new idea. When you become a Leader your new role is to care for people. The moment a leader forgets their number one asset – people – you can call it over. Even though a leader may have tough followers, it only means they must take the time to learn more about what they want. To get followers who are hard to keep in check to toe the line, a leader must look beyond the numbers and find ways to help people succeed. If that doesn’t work then that follower needs a new leader.

    This is a very important topic that you have brought up because for leaders to become better they must first learn to see better in themselves and others. I would add to your list of thoughts: To be a better leader one must Know the art of reinvention. Every leader must learn how to reinvent themselves every 3.5 years. You must be ready to change with the times and the people, but still maintaining your core values. In this new age where more demand is placed on the man/woman at the top we have to be ready to change course and re-define how we do and achieve things. Leaders are required to become change agents and deliver when no one else can. However, this requires all the other thoughts you shared.

    Thanks for sharing! MKB

    • posted by
      Jun 23, 2017 Reply

      Thank you for your feedback Mervin. You have highlighted some very important factors which I agree with. As much as projects need to move forward, leaders still need to remember that they are dealing with people and not machines that dont think, feel or have emotions. I respect leaders that respect people. This is the type of leader that can breed good followers because their concern is to inspire and motivate everyone to get to their goals. I believe John Maxwell quotes, “People don’t care about how much you know until they know how much you care.”

      Re-invention is so critical in order to bring hope to your team. Sometimes followers might be discouraged because the leader has not reinvented himself and they lose sight of where they are going. On the other hand, when a leader can successfully reinvent himself and become a good change agent, it ignites hope to the followers that he is a leader worthy of following.

      Thanks again for engaging with such value adding points.

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