Can Anyone Become A Great Leader?

Great Leader

Please do not assume great leadership is required for success.

Almost any organization can become financially successful through the application of excellent financial management principles, good research and development, professional marketing, and strategic acquisition of highly qualified employees and managers.

That however, is NOT leadership and the people who work in organizations that are not well led generally become disengaged over time. When that happens, performance wanes and sales decline.

Success without great leadership is a slippery slope that has caused many organizations to crash-and-burn despite fabulous market penetration and good financial growth.

Staying Power

Organizations with great leadership have staying power. They live on through all manner of market changes and economic woes. Great leaders run great organizations that are capable of remaining respected household names from one generation to the next.

Organizations with poor leadership are short lived. They eventually fade into distant memories of second-rate products, bad service and abysmal management.

There is no replacement for great leadership.

Principles of Leadership

Leadership is represented by the consistent application of the principles of:

  • Thoughtfulness,
  • Selflessness,
  • Integrity,
  • Compassion,
  • Respect,
  • Conscientiousness
  • And Courage.

All of these principles can usually be found in highly-regarded leaders. Does that sound like you? Does that sound like you at all times? If not, take heart…Leadership can be learned!

Great leaders, lead by example. Their unspoken intention is to consistently set a great example so that others may follow their lead. If you want to be a better leader, pay attention to great leaders and watch for the things that set them apart from others around them.

Think about what makes them different.

If you observe revered leaders and analyse the things they do and say you will find some commonalities. Check out their mannerisms, their way of speaking, the time they give people and their smile patterns. You will notice that despite the gravity of any given situation they remain calm and focus on putting the minds of others at rest.

In dire situations, when even they have no choice but to become emotional, they will quickly return to a more tranquil, composed state so that they may lead others to a safe and satisfactory end. Their sole purpose is to assist others and improve their lives.

Always Remember: The number one quality of a great leader is the desire to see others do well.

You Must Change

In order to put the principles of leadership to work in your own life, you must believe in yourself and you must be willing to change. Your mind and your very being must embrace three things:

  1.      You must truly want to change.
  2.      You must believe you can change.
  3.     You must believe that change will improve your life and the lives of others.

If you are not a great leader and you are not willing to change, you are tip-toeing around the common definition of insanity: “Doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results.”

Although you may not be insane when you avoid change, you cannot improve without it. The word, “improve” indicates a change for the better and improvement cannot happen on its own. It requires an outside, intervening force. That force is you!

If you go to work every day expecting others to change so that they can accept your leadership “style”, you will fail. Leadership is not about the people who must follow…it is about the person who is trying to lead…it is about you. If your style is not working, change it! If you continue to rely on a failing style, you will continue to fail in ever-increasing increments.

Discover your Leadership Style

Open up your mind and be willing to learn new things. Here are five simple things you can do to discover your own leadership style in order to become a better leader:

  1.      Ask your peers to describe your leadership style to you.
  2.      Ask your followers how they feel about your leadership style.
  3.      Be willing to accept criticism calmly.
  4.      Act on the criticism you hear, with an aim to improvement.
  5.      Review your “style” often.

If all else fails, get a coach. I specialize in leadership training and I am sometimes amazed at what some people think good leadership is. These are not bad people. They have simply grown up in an environment where negative or ineffective leadership styles are the norm.

They only need a small but powerful push to get them back on the right track.

Can Anyone Be a Great Leader?

No…Only those people who follow the principles of leadership, who are able to change and who are willing to do a lot of ongoing self-discovery will climb to the ranks of the great leaders of history.

What are you doing to improve your leadership style?


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Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

Wayne Kehl

Wayne Kehl is President and CCO at Dynamic Leadership Inc
He is author and behavioral analyst who lectures on leadership and motivation
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10 responses to “Can Anyone Become A Great Leader?

  1. Wayne – thank you for your insights and for taking the time to write about leadership and its impact on business profit. You have raised some great points, in particular, “Success without great leadership is a slippery slope that has caused many organizations to crash-and-burn despite fabulous market penetration and good financial growth”. It makes you wonder what could be achieved in some of these businesses if their penetration and growth was matched by effective leadership, employee engagement and improved culture…Steve


  2. Watching organisations crash and burn over the last thirty years has taught me one thing. Great Leadership is essential for organisations to thrive in the long term. Any “success” organisations enjoy without great leaders at the helm is at most a mirage soon exposed under the unforgiving rays of time and the pressures of business…. Excellent article Wayne and one. i shall quote regularly… thank you.


  3. Wayne — As usual, another excellent blog. I particularly loved “If you go to work every day expecting others to change so that they can accept your leadership “style”, you will fail. Leadership is not about the people who must follow…it is about the person who is trying to lead…it is about you.”

    And this appreciation from the man who authored a leadership book called “It’s Not About You” — but I get your point, and I agree: It’s about us remembering that — as leaders — we have to be worth following! Again, thanks for the excellent insights; this is going in my “reference” file.


    • Thanks Scott! I agree…leadership is hard and being worthy is tough… but oh so worth it if you can pull it off!


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  7. In my opinion, people can learn leadership, but there’s no substitute for early life experience to forge natural leader instincts.


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