Three things that make a good leader

By Alan Kearns

The three things that make a good leaderCan I speak to you privately in my office? The heart flutters, your thinking ok, what does this mean? Your boss smiles and says “We would like to promote you” Good news, now what do you do next? This week’s podcast is from our Canadian Career Development Webinar series with Patricia Barbato Sr. VP at Revera Health Systems and author of Inspire Your Career; Strategies for Success in Your First Years at Work. In our conversation she shares practical wisdom on how to make a successful transition to management.

You may be recently promoted, or you may have been a leader for many years. Leadership is both talent and a skill, and there are some simple ways to evolve yourself as a leader. I have heard from clients their frustration with their management. The quality of leadership in an organization is directly related to the success of the organization and employees work satisfaction. I recently ran a poll asking, what is the most important trait for a strong leader? The results were interesting:

    • Communication skills 15 %
    • Decisive & Competent 17 %
    • Inspiring 30 %
    • Forward looking 5 %
    • Honest & Trustworthy 30 %

What I find interesting is “soft skills” honesty, trustworthiness and inspiring come out so strongly. What most people are looking for in a leader is not really rocket science, yet why are there so few good leaders in most organizations. I think many of the issues are related to getting started on the right track early in the process. If you have been promoted into a new role or are about to be promoted, what is the most important first action you should take? Well, it is fairly simple, Patricia shared “One of the most important things to do immediately is to build relationships and establish credibility. Take time and ask many questions. People love to talk about themselves and their work, give them a chance”

In have seen some people struggle with the evolution to management.

Leadership is fundamentally about focusing on 3 things: relationships, communication and influencing with credibility. The good news, you don’t necessarily need to have a Harvard MBA to become a great leader and is not about how many books you have read. Becoming a good leader is all about the simple yet complex journey of being comfortable enough with your own identity and skill-set, that you can nurture and develop other professionals with theirs.

What are your thoughts about leadership in general, and leaders in your organization? Let us know.

Continue the conversation on my blog. What do you think is important in leading people?

Asking many questions, along the road with you!


Alan Kearns runs, Canada’s Career Coaching Company.

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