So many books, thousands of books, millions of books have been written about the stuff that makes a great leader. But what makes a great leader for you? I thought about all the people whom I admire for their leadership skills – among them my former biology teacher, Mr. Rundler, and my dad, in his lifetime a humble high school teacher. Both of them were great leaders of hearts.
All the people I have in mind when I think about great leadership share seven characteristics.
If you don’t believe in yourself, who will ever believe you? No self-confidence, no great leader.
Say what you do and do what you say. As simple as that. No integrity, no great leader.
Ralf, my former boss at KPMG, my mentor, my friend. When I had to copy that report at 6am and I wore no shoes and the night had been long at the office, … Who stood next to me at the copy machine? Ralf. No presence, no great leader.
Is it about you or is it about them? As a public speaker I learned one thing very soon: It’s all about them! Same thing with leadership. Mr. Rundler, my dad, MLK jr., Gandhi – it was all about them. No empathy, no great leader.
A tin soldier with an indifferent facial expression will never move me. Your positive energy moves me. No energy, no great leader.
Do you want to earn more money or do you want to make a positive impact on the world we live in? No meaning, no great leader.
The one factor that inspires me the most in leaders is their hurt heart. Great leaders know their inner self. Great leaders share their inner self. Great leaders share their mistakes in life and the lessons they learned. Great leaders share their regrets, their weaknesses, the stories they are not proud of. Great leaders show their vulnerability. No vulnerability, no great leader.
Are you self-confident? Do you say what you do and do what you say? Are you there for your people? Do you care about your people? Are you filled with positive energy? Do you do what you do for a higher purpose? Do you share your inner self? If you give me seven Yes, then, at least for me, you are a great leader already. Congratulations!
But back to you. What are the characteristics you admire the most in great leaders?