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Great Leadership is an Art

Why Great Leaders Focus on People and Results

Great leadership is an art.

It is the art of achieving progress through the involvement and actions of others. This is why great leaders are strong in both leading people and leading for results, while good leaders typically focus their leadership on only one or the other.

Great leaders combine a leadership mindset and written leadership philosophy with strong people leadership skills and a results-oriented focus.

Successful great leaders apply the skills of adaptability, motivation, coaching, focus, collaboration, decision-making, communications, and personal development to both themselves and the people they lead.

Strong great leaders leverage the emotions of passion, enthusiasm, self-satisfaction, trust, and loyalty to drive creativity, thinking, innovation, energy, and buy-in to strategies, tactics, and activities in pursuit of clearly stated goals and objectives.

This philosophy of leadership is applicable across all organizations and institutions, including publicly listed companies, non-profit entities, social and community groups, educational institutions, and even government departments and ministries.


Great Leaders Drive Results

You may have noticed that we do not refer to achievement of goals and objectives in this definition. Many factors will impact whether particular goals are achieved or attained. Leadership has the role of ensuring progress towards clearly defined goals and objectives.

The inability to achieve a goal is not necessarily failure. After all, learning from non-achievement of a stated objective is not failure, but rather the gaining of new knowledge. Additionally, even small progress is still progress.

It has often been said that “managers do things right while leaders do the right things.” There’s a great deal of truth in this pithy observation. Especially as our concept of great leadership is applied.

Managers should be responsible for ensuring appropriate implementation of policies, procedures, and processes. Great leaders, in addition to determining and communicating direction, are responsible for people leadership and people development. This includes leadership and development of themselves.

The art of great leadership mandates a positive and future-focus mindset. You will not find many successful leaders who are pessimistic. Nor are those focused solely on short-term results (such as quarterly revenue and profit figures) likely to be successful over the long term.

This does not mean leadership requires wearing of rose-colored glasses, or having an unrealistic view that all will become right soon.

Rather, the art of great leadership requires a solid grounding in both understanding the reality of any situation, while simultaneously being able to integrate various viewpoints of reality that they and others hold. This means both understanding the status quo and being able to question the underlining nature of the status quo, and how this is perceived and believed by others.

The thing is: anyone at any level of an organization can be a great leader.

Great leadership is not something reserved for senior management, business owners, and entrepreneurs. Anyone can be a great leader, if only of themselves. One does not need direct reports or to head a multi-functional team to be a great leader. As such, anyone can implement the art of great leadership and the skills of great leadership.


Great Leaders Develop People 

The people development aspect of leadership is often overlooked by leaders, especially by those put into leadership positions for the first time, such as new supervisors, frontline managers, and newly appointed sales managers who have been promoted due to high sales performance.

However, all great leaders know that their mission is not to create followers, but to create more good leaders for their organizations. They also know they need to continuously develop themselves. This is why people development, including one’s own personal development, is a core component of the art of great leadership.

The art of great leadership requires a continuous evaluation of one’s own leadership skills, mindset, philosophy, actions, and development.

Understanding the art of great leadership will help prevent you from tripping and falling as your pursue your leadership journey.

Great Leaders Focus on Results and People

Key Points

Great leadership is an art. It is the art of achieving progress through the involvement and actions of others.

This philosophy of leadership can be applied across all levels of all organizations and institutions.

The art of great leadership mandates a positive and future-focus mindset. You will not find many successful leaders who are pessimistic.

Taking Action

What is your personal leadership philosophy? When was the last time you paused and seriously gave this question sufficient reflection? If it’s been awhile, read our article on why it is important to have a written leadership philosophy.

How are you developing yourself as a leader? Don’t wait for others to tell you how or when to develop your leadership skills. Not sure where to start? Check out our Resources section for recommended leadership books, websites and articles.

The best leaders are people who lead from their own personal strengths, leadership philosophy and leadership mindset. Spend an hour alone, somewhere quiet, reflecting on what your personal leadership strengths are. Then schedule a free coaching hour with us to discuss how to leverage these and how to close any leadership skills gaps you have.

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