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What makes for great leadership?

Posted in Shared Blog Pages


leadershipThere is so much rhetoric in leadership but from time to time we get to see and experience what great leadership is.

These are moments, events and time in our lives when we feel touched, moved and inspired because we see and experience great leadership.

What have been such moments for you?

Perhaps it was a parent figure, a family member or a manager who embodied confidence in you and your abilities and made you feel like you could take on anything. 

 And that is exactly what you did as you proved them right.

Then there are many awe-inspiring history-making stories as per Nelson Mandela, Barack Obama, The Dalai Lama, Mahatma Gandhi, and Mother Theresa.

Here are seven qualities, principles, and actions I have chosen as comprising great leadership:

1) Great leadership embodies A SPIRITED VISION.

This power of the vision transcends any   current circumstances and is able to instill a legacy of hope, be a guiding light and give its followers something to aspire towards. Think of Dr. Martin Luther King’s heartfelt speech, “I have a dream….” A dream, which many, many years later came to be realized.

2) Great leadership is able to CONNECT WITH PEOPLE.

It’s able to touch the hearts, minds, and spirit of everyday people.  It inspires and motivates.  Going back to the first Obama campaign – it began at the grassroots level with little funds but his followers willingly dug into their pockets, got the ball rolling and did what they could. People were so inspired; they also turned out in record numbers to vote.

In our organizational context, a good question to ask is, “what else can we be doing to connect, inspire and motivate our people so we give and get the best of their head, heart and hands?

3) Great leadership HOLDS A PROMISE.

This is a promise that followers resonate with.  Typically, this is a promise of change that people feel deep inside of them.  When there is an overriding and genuine consciousness of “we can’t carry on in the same vein as we have, those things have to be different” than followers are moved to action.

Leadership promise is more than rhetoric. It’s real and people “get it.”

And as with brands, if you have to work hard at explaining it, then you can be sure that people do not get it!

4) Great leadership is BASED ON SOLID VALUES.

People like to know what their leaders stand for.  Clearly articulated values that are authentic and meaningful for the leader and his or her people are vital in communicating what matters to the leader and what they will be a values champion for.  Integrity is at the core of leadership and responsibility, accountability, honesty, self-awareness are values which support this.

5) Great leadership is about SERVICE.

It focuses outwards as it unites people to a common goal and a bigger purpose.  It is based on solid values that embrace, contribute and enrich the lives of others.  It’s not just about me.  Again think of the greats – Nelson Mandela or Gandhi and their massive contribution to their people and the world.

In my leadership coaching work, the CEOs often say that for their GMs to be truly effective, they have to be developing leaders in the tiers below and also be thinking about the business as a whole beyond their siloed division.


One thing we are not is perfect! We can count on ourselves to make mistakes.  Leaders get judged not just when they are riding the wave of success but also how they deal with challenges and defeat.

The point is not that these mistakes occur but more how we deal with it. Are we quick to take responsibility or is the finger pointing somewhere else?  Are we able to hold ourselves and others to account?  Can we apologize easily and be humble enough to try and understand what went wrong and what the learning is?

7) Great leaders DO THEIR INNER WORK.

They deepen their self-awareness and shun the roadblocks of denial, excuses, and blame.  Leadership is a constant work in progress. How you get there is just as important as achieving those results.



This is a shared post by Jasbinder Singh a Business Psychologist and Leadership Coach.


cutmypic(3)Jasbindar Singh loves helping people advance in the careers, leadership and lives. 

She works as a business psychologist, leadership coach, and conference facilitator.
You can reach her via:


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  1. It is great to be part of this community and also to share my post on “What makes for great leadership.” This is such a big topic and the above is what moved me at the time but I am really interested to hear what your thoughts and feelings are on this subject too. All my very best wishes on your personal and professional journey.

    June 3, 2016
    • H Jasbinder,
      Good to see you on my blog, it is indeed a great privilege to be on my website. Happy that you shared this informative piece for the benefit of our reader. We appreciate your valuable time to drop by and for the feedback.
      Thanks again for the social share too.
      Keep up the good work.
      Keep sharing
      ~ Philip

      June 3, 2016
  2. Joseph Chikeleze
    Joseph Chikeleze

    Thanks for this post. I touches the daily aspect of my living – leading a team of online workers is not easy.

    All the same, nice blog and good post!!!

    June 3, 2016
  3. Thank you, Joseph. Glad you found it touched the daily aspect of your living and managing your team of online workers. Keep up your learning orientation and good work. All good wishes.

    June 4, 2016
  4. Love this post, I’ve heard of EQ that people would value this than IQ, and I’m definitely love this. Most people with IQ pretty a lack of respect to others.

    June 4, 2016
  5. Louis – I am so glad you loved the post. Our EQ or emotional intelligence helps us be more aware of our feelings and emotions along with other peoples’ and then also manage these in appropriate ways so we are able to build positive and constructive relationships. As you say, good leaders don’t just rely on their IQ, they develop and use their EQ to build great teams and organisation culture. Thank you for sharing.

    June 4, 2016
  6. Basharath

    Its a very good article. Well described about great leader ship. And leadership is not a position but a responsibility. I liked ” Great leadership embodies A SPIRITED VISION.” very much.

    Thank you for an inspiring article.


    June 4, 2016
  7. Thanks Basharath. Our dreams spurred by our inner spirit and compass fuel us to do and be the best we can be for ourselves and others, leader or not. Best wishes on your journey.

    June 5, 2016
  8. ikechi

    Hi Jasbindar and Philip

    You listed awesome tips that make great leadership. All the points you have shared are so true. Leadership is about being able to resonate with the people with your values . Also a leader must be example to others in how he manges circumstances and challenges.

    Thank you for sharing this post. Take Care

    Hi Philip. Thumbs up for giving Jasbindar an opportunity to share her insight

    June 5, 2016
  9. Mandy Allen
    Mandy Allen

    Brilliant. I agree with all of this. I always work in a leadership fashion that empowers others to so their best, and I think all great leaders do this. They are not in it for themselves or what they can get out of a thing, they are in it for the progression of the people they are leading.

    Enjoy the journey!
    Mandy Allen recently posted…Back To Blogging BasicsMy Profile

    June 5, 2016
    • Hi Mandy,
      Thanks a lot for your visit and for the insight you brought into this wonderful subject called Leadership. :-)
      I fully agree with you for the point your raised in this comment. Jasbinder did a wonderful job with this post.
      Have a wonderful week ahead

      June 5, 2016
  10. Thank you very much Philip, Ikechi and Mandy for your positive comments! I love what I heard once, “leaders bring the weather with them!” Have a super day and keep up your wonderful contribution. It is good to be part of this community.

    June 8, 2016
  11. Hello Santanu – Thank you for sharing your thoughts. You are right in that the more we practice, refine and tweak our learning and our work, the more we get better at it….especially as new ideas and insights come. Best wishes to you in your endeavours

    June 12, 2016
  12. HI, Jasbindar and Brother Phil,

    Glad to see Jasbindar’s post here. I agree with all the insights about leadership shared in this post. I totally agree with your point that great leadership is about service. Hoping to read more posts from you soon.

    Best regards
    Reji Stephenson
    Reji Stephenson recently posted…Bone Conduction Headphones-Try it and feel the differenceMy Profile

    June 17, 2016
  13. Hi Jasbindar and Philip,

    This post reminds me of a lesson I had in college at psychology where we talked about how a charismatic leader behaves. Charisma is the ability to attract large masses of followers and inspire devotion in others. I’m curious what are a few examples of great leaders you cherish from history.

    Thanks for sharing this post!
    Minuca Elena recently posted…40 Bloggers Talk About Their Biggest ChallengeMy Profile

    June 23, 2016
  14. My great leaders list include the Dalai Lama and Nelson Mandela for sure! I also respect and admire Oprah Winfrey for what she has achieved and the positive role model and influence she has been for many. ( Then there are some everyday people who would not necessarily see themselves as leaders but I feel they are).
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and the question. All good wishes!

    July 11, 2016

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