How do we define a good leader or great leadership? I believe we assess leadership based on our values and good leaders exemplify the values that we believe in. This also raises the question, what leadership qualities do we value in ourselves?


Are good leaders forceful, directive, decisive and declarative? Or is good leadership thoughtful, collaborative, visionary and empathetic? You may think all these elements are important. Discuss this with a group of people and you will get different answers. I know because I have asked these questions in Leadership Circles I lead across different forums, from corporate executives to startup founders, solopreneurs and emerging leaders. There are a wide range of definitions of good leadership. From these interactions and my own experience over 25 years as a corporate executive and leadership coach, I find the best leaders to be open and self-aware.

Great leaders are clear about what they stand for. They share their values, through both their words and actions. We know good leadership when we see it and experience it, because it feels authentic and resonates. We respect those who act with integrity.

A group of people sitting around a table.
Which is not to say that every good leader is someone who we would want to work with or for. There are those who are effective at getting things done, but we may not like how they operate and achieve results. And this is important awareness to have. When we deal with someone, how do we experience being with them? How do you want to be perceived? Are you someone who focuses only on the outcome and gets things done at any cost or do you actually care about the people and the process?
We know where we stand with the best leaders because they are clear about their vision, their priorities and their desired outcomes.

I was reminded of this during a recent Leadership Circle I led at The Assemblage with a group of conscious capitalists who varied from engineers and project managers to creatives and consultants. Some were focused on commercialization and monetary outcomes, while others aspired to loving people in all forms and types. It was quite a range of values and I say yes to all of them.

What I believe is most important is that we all know what we value and act accordingly. We all have leadership qualities, but don’t always recognize them as such. I see this frequently with introverts who are powerfully quiet in their ability to observe and absorb subtle information about everything that is going on in a given situation. Their understated reserve is often mistaken for shyness or lack of leadership, however their ability to assess and see what others often miss is actually a powerful leadership tool. Insight is its own strength. The bigger question is whether their organizations, and they themselves, can see how important their unique perspective is.

Don’t underestimate how your strengths contribute to your leadership style. The more you value your talents and advocate for yourself and your contribution, the greater understanding others will have about what you bring to the table. Leadership isn’t only about directing people to do things.

True leaders leverage their unique strengths to bring their vision to life to deliver results.

The most effective leaders are clear about their values and come across authentically. They do what they say and say what they will do and bring others along on their journey. Whether they are building a business, designing a new product or leading a country leaders align people around their vision. Now it’s up to us to assess whether we share their vision and values.

If you want to grow and own your leadership style with the support of a coach, contact us for a complimentary Strategy Session to discuss your goals and vision. We would welcome the opportunity to have more leaders who are grounded in their core values in the world we need you!