What Makes A Good Leader?

What Makes A Good Leader?

This was the question I found myself asking following the closing scenes at Anfield Football Club yesterday.  NO wait….bear with me, before you glaze over and in the spirit of full disclosure, I neither like football or a Liverpool FC fan.  However, being with a partner who is an avid LFC supporter for almost 25 years, it inevitably seeps into your life whether you like it or not and having witnessed many games over this period I have grown to be one of the drones of people who seem to have developed a reverence for the “normal one” Jürgen Klopp during his tenure at the club.

Watching the scenes from the farewell ceremony it was clear to see the impact this manager has made transcends beyond its accolades or silverware.  The admiration, respect and emotion displayed by fans, players and staff alike was clearly visible and this got me thinking about what characteristics make a good leader?

1)    Decisiveness

In a position of power, it’s important to master the ability to make decisions especially under pressure.  Once committed, you should be able to defend it in the event you are questioned to those you are accountable to.  Equally key is turning to others and seeking advice from those who may be more versed or skilled in a particular area.

2)    Trustworthiness

Building trust centres around building strong relationships with your team by having an open, honest and collaborative approach based on transparency and equity.  This should always come from a place of authenticity in order to be credible.

3)    Self-Awareness

Periodically, its important to self-regulate to understand your strengths and weaknesses as a leader.  It helps to identify areas of improvement, but also allows you to delegate to those who are more effective in those functions.

4)    Empowerment

In order for people to give their best, there needs to be a sense of ownership and accountability. Entrusting individuals to deliver in their specialist fields by giving them the autonomy to get things done when required, highlights that trust is a two-way street.

5)    Good Communication

Communication is the key to any successful relationship; however, it is defined, but in business terms being able to communicated clearly your vision and purpose, is vital to ensuring that you are all working toward the same thing.  Excellent communication extends beyond the remit of company ethos and should also inspire, enthuse and motivate your team to reach their full potential for both themselves and the organisation.

6)    Empathy

Often overlooked and considered a soft skill but in my opinion a cornerstone to successful leadership.  Being an empathetic leader signifies being able to understand and take on board the needs of others, taking into account their thoughts and feelings.  Leaders with an empathetic approach are masters at understanding a situation from another’s perspective and are able to display compassion, this in turn promotes trust which translates to higher levels of productivity and drive.

7)    Passion

Having a shared goal, vision or cause shows you really care about what you are working towards, this will promote motivation and enthusiasm.  Open displays of passion will create a sense of comradeship and solidarity and a commitment to support your mission.

8)    Strong Teacher & Mentor

Mastering the skill of teaching and mentoring is less about you and more about making the entire team successful.  This involves providing guidance, training and aiding with the development of skills on an individual basis.  Great mentors have the ability to inspire their team and create an overall feeling of satisfaction in the workplace.

9)    Recognise Success

Recognition of people’s hard work is a cornerstone of effective leadership.  Acknowledgement of individuals contribution or successes is a great opportunity to ensure growth and is a powerful tool to motivate your team.

10) No Ego Approach

In my opinion the most enlightened leaders are those who have the ability to influence and create unshakeable harmony, by leading from a place of “no ego”.  Often humble, unassuming people with high levels of modesty, they let their work and results speak for themselves, focused on creating an environment of trust, respect and caring for each other.

So, you see there is much to be learned from Jürgen Klopp regardless of your allegiance, a man who has inspired a community to believe and has created a legacy which will be hard to follow. I’m sure his leadership template will be revered for years to come across all sectors and industries.

“To be successful, you need to be brave, you need to make decisions, you need to feel responsibility.” –  Jürgen Klopp

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