September 2, 2014

Leadership Truths That Every Leader Needs To Know

Successful business leadership is about the ability to create a compelling vision that is backed up by strong values, a strong sense of purpose and that inspires other people to help you to achieve it. In order to do this it is essential that, as a leader, you create an environment where people are encouraged to work harmoniously together using their own unique talents and skills to achieve common goals.

It sounds fairly straightforward doesn’t it?

simple truths

However, great leadership requires a complex set of skills which have to be continually honed and fined tuned. Great leaders all share common characteristics which make them successful. They operate based on truths which underpin all of their behaviors and actions.

Here are 5 truths that every great leader knows:

Truth#1: You Cannot Motivate Someone, You Can Only Inspire Them To Motivate Themselves

Motivation comes from within a person. All the motivation techniques in the world will not work if the people you are trying to motivate don’t buy in to the idea.

Inspiration is different as it appeals at a deeper level than motivation and is designed to win hearts as well as minds. Great leaders know that to truly engage employees you need to inspire them and then they will be motivated.

Truth#2: Combining Talents, Skill And Abilities Will Achieve More Than Working Sepreately

Great leaders know that they can’t achieve what they want to independently, nor do they want to. They inherently understand that human beings can gain better results from pooling resources and utilising the strengths of others to complement their own skills.

Working in this state of interdependence produces far greater outcomes than could ever be achieved by working separately.

Truth#3: Being The Change You Want To See In Others Is The First Step To Improving Things

If you want employees to adopt certain behaviors, develop specific skills and display particular attributes then you have to model them yourself first. Leaders who have a strong set of principles and guiding values, and who live by them, command much more respect than those who don’t.

A leader should always display the kind of behavior that he/she would expect to see from others.

Truth#4: People Have Unlimited Potential And They Will Generally Do Their Best

Believing in people’s potential is vital in a leadership role. After all, you have to trust that your employees are up to the job or can be developed to their full capability in order to achieve your organisational objectives.

Having this kind of mindset and positive expectation will help to foster a high performance culture in which people can excel.

Truth#5: To Know And Understand Yourself Is The Best Way To Achieve Excellence As A Leader

Having high degrees of self awareness and emotional intelligence are characteristics common to all great leaders. This means that they operate as their authentic selves at all times and that they behave in accordance with their own set of inner principles or values.

To be authentic you first have to know and understand who you really are and what makes you tick. You also have to be fully aware of your strengths and flaws.  Having a complete self understanding means that you can manage yourself and your emotions, develop your weaknesses and capitalize on your strengths.

Simple Truths Photo via Shutterstock

6 Comments ▼
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Dale Kirke


Dale Kirke Dale Kirke works as a learning and development specialist at Thales Training and Consultancy focused on growing leadership skills development, building great teams and encouraging high performance. Dale has designed and delivered a range of learning and development solutions specialising in the areas of leadership and management, people and performance management, interpersonal skills and team development.

6 Reactions

  1. My amendment to #4 would be to say that if you’ve hired the right people, they will generally do their best. I’ve seen far too many people in the workplace that only do the bare minimum required to not get fired. Unfortunate, but true.

  2. I think you have identified 5 key points of effective leadership. I am a certified coach working with leadership within organizations and would like to suggest one more ‘truth’ to your list. To enhance the ability to achieve your truth #s 1 (motivating), 2 (combining talents) and 4 (encouraging the BEST) is to make certain the primary leader has successfully aligned the full leadership group behind the vision before taking it company wide. With this achieved … and it’s not automatic … communicating the message throughout becomes both easier and more believable. After a challenging few years in so many businesses, alignment and cohesiveness add a lot of positive to the efforts and the achievements.

    Mike Dorman

  3. I definitely agree with being the change in order to see the change in others. Also, being available and remaining trustworthy are also important aspects to leadership. If people are reaching out to you for help or mentoring, make sure you are reachable. If you make an appointment, keep it. This takes a lot of effort and practice, but it’s important — just as you want people to remain considerate of your time, so you should remain considerate of theirs.

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