What makes a good leader?

What do you think makes someone a good leader?

This is something I started thinking about in Church yesterday. I think the thoughts knocking round in my head are kind of related to the ‘Passing on Wisdom?‘ post which I wrote a couple of weeks ago.

I Googled “what makes a good leader?”, to see what would come up, but unsurprisingly, the results were very business-orientated. Profit-driven, that kind of thing.

Which doesn’t really answer the question I’m thinking of.

The question I’m thinking of is: what makes a good leader of a small number (less than 50) of people, in an essentially voluntary organisation? i.e. I’m thinking about this in terms of the sorts of organisations I have been/am involved in running, like student societies / church-based groups / community groups.

Here are the criteria I’ve come up with so far: A good leader

  • is willing to lead (e.g. hasn’t been unwillingly shoehorned into things!)
  • is committed to the organisation they are leading, and preferably also enthusiastic/passionate about it
  • understands what the organisation needs from them, which includes an understanding of the people within it (e.g. do people need totally detailed directions on everything, or “we need X to happen, can you make it happen?”
  • can evaluate their own capabilities, look at how these match the organisation’s needs, and be humble enough to admit they can’t do the bits they can’t do (and organise someone else to do them!)
  • is willing and able to listen to people and do their best to understand others’ points of view (especially important for voluntary stuff or stuff where people pay to take part!) – this point also includes having the social skills necessary to interact with people in this organisation.
  • is confident enough to make tricky decisions if necessary (and preferably diplomatic enough to avoid things becoming tricky decisions whenever possible …)

I think there are lots of other desirable things – like visionary, inspirational, quick-thinking (which were some of the things that came up on Google), but … well, let’s be honest, organisations can often tick along and keep running smoothly without incredibly visionary people (for example). What do you think?

  • is able to sit back and evaluate their own capabilities, look at how these match the organisation’s needs, and delegate accordingly
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One Response to What makes a good leader?

  1. Allan Hovis says:

    What makes a good leader is self-confidence, integrity, responsibility, passion to work, capacity of taking the right decisions, listening and of course communication… if we don’t know how to speak with a person is quite hard to have a good working environment.
    I’ve learned about these at a Toronto strategy consultant seminar, where I had such a great experience.

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