12 Attributes of a Great Leader

"A managers output is the output of the organization under her supervision or influence." - Andy Grove


I believe that most managers want to be great managers. In fact, many aspire to transcend management and to be deemed leaders. While there are countless books on the topic, sometimes they are too much theory and not enough practice, to be relevant and applicable. One of the main roles of a leader is to teach; through actions of commission, actions of omission, and through a thoughtful dialogue. The goal of this series is to share what I believe are the hallmarks of great management.

In High Output Management, Andy Grove explores why, at times, an individual is not able to achieve their potential in a job. He simplifies it to one of 2 reasons: 1) they are incapable, or 2) they are not motivated. In either case, it's the responsibility of the manager to assess and remediate the situation. This is not comfortable, nor easy. Hence, this is why great leadership is difficult.

I will focus on what I think are the 12 defining attributes of a great leader:

1) Team builder- assembling and motivating teams.
2) Running teams- a disciplined management system, based on thoughtful planning.
3) Expectations, Accountability, and Empowerment - the #1 issue I see is here.
4) Being on offense, not defense- leading instead of reacting.
5) Engagement and influence- creating informal influence broadly.
6) Operational rigor- managing the details, without micro-managing.
7) Clear and candid communication - never leaving a gray area.
8) Training- a critical role of a manager.
9) Mental toughness- never talked about enough, yet many managers fail due to this aspect alone.
10) Strategic thinking- having a point of view, differentiated and right.
11) Obsessing over clients- knowing who pays the bills and applying it to every decision.
12) Positive attitude- Motivating by example.

I'll cover each topic via blog and/or podcast.

"In classical times, when Cicero had finished speaking, the people said, 'How well he spoke', but when Demosthenes had finished speaking, they said, 'Let us march'"- Adlai Stevenson

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