So you think you are a great leader? Well here is a challenge! Part 2!

A helicopter is taking off Greenland Ice Sheet
“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”
Mark Twain
In my last post, I explained how I started to think about leaders I’ve worked with and what the good ones had in common.  And that the more I thought, the more their success seemed to mould itself around the answers to a few relatively simple questions.

I thought of six main questions which of course then lead on to a number of subsidiary ones.  I asked the first two main questions on 8th April:

Do people know why they are here?

Do you share the thinking?

The two questions for today are below and the last two should be here on Wednesday (13th April 2011)

What counts with you?

If you are a leader, you concentrate on the big picture.  When you stray into what you consider “essential” detail,  you need to be very clear what you mean and what the consequences might be!

If you have good people, the right governance regime and clarity about the goals; why would you need to dabble in the nitty gritty of day to day administration? Much better to stay up in your helicopter surveying the overall  country and deciding where to lead next!

When you dabble among other things you erase the confidence of your managers both in you and to a certain extent in themselves.  They will feel you don’t trust them to do the job they are employed to do! Besides, being a good leader doesn’t necessarily make you as good a manager as them!

If you don’t have good people, then make sure systems are put in place to train or replace them.

If you don’t have a governance regime that can stand up to scrutiny, then you need to do something and fast.

And yes, you do need to make sure that vision of yours has been turned into clear and achievable goals!

I know you can create a culture of performance by setting aggressive goals and holding your managers accountable for delivering them.  But if those goals are so aggressive  they fail constantly, they will give up trying and, if they are any good, they may move on pretty quickly.

Make sure your targets are a stretch but achievable.  And reassess them regularly because the world moves on.  They can scaled up or down

Are your managers up to the challenge?

This carries forward the issues raised above!  Have you got the right people in your senior management seats?  You need to be clear about the answer!  If you are new to the organisation. take stock of all the talent you have available and if necessary reshuffle the deck!

You need a  good team to have a chance of success. Don’t keep someone around just because they’ve been there a long time! You won’t achieve your vision if you don’t have managers who know how to manage! But give people a fair chance to succeed and be prepared to invest in good people.

Well,  that is plenty to think about for Monday! I’m still wondering if there is a leader out there who is brave enough to share your answers.  If there is I’d love to hear from you.  As I said before, I think honesty and bravery are key characteristics of great leaders and it’s not enough to be just good enough when it comes to leadership.

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Wendy Mason works as a consultant, business coach and blogger. Adept at problem solving, she is a great person to bring in when that one thing you thought was straightforward turns out not to be! If you have a problem talk to Wendy – she can help you – email her at or ring ++44(0)7867681439

One thought on “So you think you are a great leader? Well here is a challenge! Part 2!”

  1. Pingback: So you think you are a great leader? Well here is a challenge! Part 3! | Wisewolf Talking – the simple approach to change!

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