There are leaders, and then there are great leaders... What separates those who manage a team or business from those who lead an organisation?
This is a question that has bothered me for some time, as I have met many great leaders who are crap managers, and many great managers who are crap leaders. Rarely have I met great leaders who are also great managers. Why is this?
It wasn't until I watched interviews with George Lucas and Steve Jobs that the answer hit me in the face. Great leaders can't be experts in every domain. They can't be all things to all people. They can't make all the decisions. They can however facilitate the answering of 5 crucial questions:
- Where are we now?
- Where do we want to go?
- How are we going to get there?
- Who will help us get there?
- Who will we need in the future?
Here are what we believe to be the 5 Characteristics of Great (Facilitative) Leaders:
Great leaders have to be visionary. They have to push the boundaries. At the same time, they also have to be realistic, as there is no point steering an organisation down an unattainable path.
"The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it." ~ Michelangelo
"Dreams are extremely important. You can’t do it unless you can imagine it." ~ George Lucas
Great leaders understand that their success – and the success of the organisation – is dependent on the people around them. They know that you have to hire the best people, work with them, and give them room to make decisions.
"When I was a kid, there was no collaboration; it's you with a camera bossing your friends around. But as an adult, filmmaking is all about appreciating the talents of the people you surround yourself with and knowing you could never have made any of these films by yourself." ~ Steven Spielberg
"It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do." ~ Steve Jobs
Great leaders constantly challenge themselves and those around them to do more, achieve more and be more. They understand that mediocrity is one step away from apathy, and are focussed on building a culture of over-achievers.
“Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.” ~ Steve Jobs
Great leaders display immense amounts of physical and mental energy. They act, talk and walk fast as they know their actions inspire those around them. Their positive energy is contagious.
“The higher your energy level, the more efficient your body. The more efficient your body, the better you feel and the more you will use your talent to produce outstanding results.” ~ Tony Robbins
Great leaders rarely come up with great answers. They do however ask great questions to help others come up with great answers. It's this coaching mindset that helps to build those around them.
"Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."
There you have it... The 5 Characteristics of Great Leaders.
We call this facilitative leadership!