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what makes a good leader

what makes a good leader

Now there's a question!!

The title of many Human Resource essays..Such a vast subject difficult to know where to begin, I would suggest there is no "quick" answer. Is it bred or born, nature or nurture?

Of all the "good" leaders I have ever come across they were not 10' tall and built like Hercules. They had the basics; clarity of thought (even under pressure), the ability to see both sides of an argument, the moral courage/integrity to stand/act in the way they thought was right and the ability to communicate their vision/thoughts through to everyone. They did however have something that set them apart, the ability to walk in a room and for their presence to be felt, what that is? If I knew I would be a very rich man!!

I am sure there are others each with their own thoughts (that's what makes it such a vast subject).

 "A leader is the man who has the ability to get other people to do what they don't want to do, and like it." Harry S. Truman

 "A leader must be one who can be looked up to, whose personal judgment is trusted, who can inspire those he leads, gaining their trust and confidence."

"The intellectual definition of leadership is the capacity and the will to rally men and women to a common purpose, and the character which will inspire confidence."

"There is no point in having the capacity if you haven't got the will to use it."

Viscount Montgomery of Alamein

 Let the debate begin....:wink:

What a good answer Gary!

I am in South Africa and the Lions needed good leadership yesterday.

Keep the debate going!


I want to point out that a good leader is not necessarily a good manager (Harry Truman's quote above refers more to a manager than a leader)! According to Warren Bennis and Dan Goldsmith (Learning to Lead): "A good manager does things right. A leader does the right things." Anyway, in rugby, like in more other sports, the manager sit on the bench, but the leader should be in the field... Good leaders impress and influence the colleagues with their behavior and attitude, but one of most important feature of the leader is the fact they think differently.

Interesting Radu,

The Truman quote from the opening words is differentiating the leader from manager is it not?

I agree the two things are markedly different. However you seem to suggest that leaders are for the pitch and not the bench. I would tend to disagree, in that you can have leaders both on and off and that a manager can be a leader (infact, is maybe not one of the traits of a good leader that they are a good manager and that to be a truly good manager you need to be a leader?).

A recent example from the rugby world would be the Irish completing the 6 Nations Grand Slam - whereby distinctive leadership as well as management, both on and off the pitch, undoubtedly drew out and shaped the efforts of that whole group of players and staff.  The manager I would argue, very much lead the way for the events to unfold in the way that they did, his leadership skills as well as his administrative and coaching skills were proven were they not? 

Sir Alex Ferguson not just a very good football manager but a leader also don't you think?

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