What is Great Leadership and What is Not

I talk a lot about leadership on this website because I believe women in leadership have a strong role and place in the betterment of our world. We can debate the different ways women and men lead teams and what traits are required to be a successful leader in business, politics, education and government but the bottom line is that a great leader brings something different to the table than just a manager. 

A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be. Rosalynn Carter

In a recent article by Amy Cosper in Entrepreneur Magazine she talks about the difference between a great leader and one who isn’t and she nails it:

Those who are true leaders will lead their teams to victory and inspire them to be great. I’ve worked with that type, and I’ve worked with leaders who are managers and mostly check timecards. The difference is epic. Leadership is not about bossing or being in control. Nope. It is that belief that you and your team are destined for something special. It is your ability to inspire excellence in others.

Wow! Great statement. Do you inspire or do you intimidate? Do you lead or do you manage?

Taking it even further, retired Navy SEAL, Brent Gleeson, shares that one of the most important traits of a great leader is loyalty and offers up these tips based on his SEAL training:

Never throw anyone under the bus. As a leader, redirect praise to your team members and protect them from criticism. If you need to talk to a team member about a misstep, do it behind closed doors.

Never leave anyone behind. Instill in your team the belief that every person on the team is as important as the next. Include everyone in the celebration of success. And don’t blame any one person for a failure. The next time you have a business success, publicly thank people in lower-level support roles for their contributions to the team.

Try to be as candid as possible with your employees, and never lie to them. Loyalty is built on trust. If your people don’t believe you’re being forthcoming with them, they won’t trust you to have their backs. Schedule a meeting to discuss the big picture of the business. Let any member of your team ask any question, and answer honestly.

Give employees your unconditional support. Don’t turn your back on them if they mess up. Help them figure it out, and be as loyal during the bad times as during the good. Pull aside someone who has had a bad day and give that person ten minutes of your time. Make it clear that he or she still fits into the future of your company.

These are a little different from the normal leadership discussion and yet offer great advice that can help set a great leader apart from one who is good.

I found an interesting chart that offers word choices that distinguish a leader from a manager. This comes to you from the article Leadership vs. Management from Changing Minds.

Click on the photo for a larger image.

Click on the photo for a larger image.

What do you think sets a great leader apart from someone who isn’t?