by Pete Julius

Great leadership is very critical to achieving high levels of success. Lack of leadership can lead to disastrous results and hardship. Imagine the chaos that would result from an army without commanders or a sports team without a coach or star player. Leaders are in charge of leading an organization to achieve a common goal. They are the inspiration and drive behind every goal. Leaders are few and far between, and difficult to find. They are a rare breed. There are a lot of good managers but very few great leaders. So what makes a great leader?

Leaders must have the ability to gain trust with all internal and external team members. It is difficult to lead a team if you don’t trust anyone or if the team lacks trust in the leader. The foundation of success will crack without trust. It is the glue that binds a team toward achieving their overall goals. A leader, and their team, must be able to trust each other that they will accomplish all tasks to the best of their abilities. A leader must do more than gain trust. A leader must also be able to know when trust does not exist or falters; they must do everything in their power to reestablish that trust.

A leader must be able to lead. They must be able to plan for future growth, successfully implement all objectives and strategies monitor progress and most of all lead the team to accomplish its mission. Leaders must be able to pull the team together and be able to identify everyone’s strengths and weaknesses. This will allow the leader to appropriately assemble a winning team. Once the team is set, the leader must be able to get all team members on the same page by collectively developing a plan to achieve their mission. In some cases, the leader and the team must create that mission. The inclusion of team members in the early going will help to establish trust and dedication of the team. Once the plan, goals, objectives and strategies have been set, it is the responsibility of the leader to drive the mission. It is the leader’s responsibility to put the plan and the team into action. No plan is successful without action. A great leader must be able to get the entire team in pursuit of their mission and to monitor the journey as it progresses. The leader is then in charge of working with the team to implement necessary changes.

Most great leaders have a wealth of experience, a well-established reputation and a proven track record. This is not to take anything away from those leadership prodigy types. Young leaders may instinctively have the skills to be a great leader but they do not have the experience. Experience is being able to head off certain problems and finding the appropriate solutions before disaster strikes. This comes from experience.

Leaders must also take the time to find the right people for the team. The best thing that a leader could do is hire smarter people. A leader must not be inferior to the skill sets and capabilities of any person on the team. Leaders must also consider input from the team, as well as implement some of their ideas. This will help to build that trust and loyalty.