The Number One Quality of a Great Leader

Martin Luther King Jr.

In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr., Day, I thought it would be fitting to talk about a piece I did for Newsweek. They asked me to comment on the question: What are the qualities of a great leader?

 

Of course, my mind went to so many different qualities. Leaders are: understanding, trustworthy, supportive, honest, they listen, they challenge you, they model the way, and so much more. As I was reflecting on the list I’d just brainstormed, what I realized is–all of those qualities can really be summed up with what I talk about all the time.

 

A great leader is connected.

 

Now the real question, why do I care about being a Connected Leader?

 

You care because you want engaged employees, you want to be engaged, and you want everyone to be happy and productive at work. When leaders demonstrate interest in their employee’s well‐being and recognize people’s importance to the company’s success – the result is engagement. When employees are engaged, the try harder, are more productive and best of all – happier on the job. All of which lead to an increased bottom line, reduced turnover, and a great place to work.

 

So that is the answer I gave Newsweek. Because being connected to your team, to your organization, to your mission, to your message, and to yourself, enables you to be a great leader. However, being connected does require a lot of these other skills that fold into this idea, so I’m not surprised that Newsweek came up with 14 essential qualities that make a great leader from other experts, including myself.

 

Before you go and read the article, see if you can write down the 14 attributes that you would put on that list, then compare. Email me and tell me what qualities you included that they did not.

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