Happy Friday! Below are our last few tips for you on becoming a great leader. Tell us what you think!

What makes a leader?

Fred Fiedler argues that leadership is not something we can generalise about. It is a relationship between one person and other individuals with whom that person interacts.

‘A person might be a brilliant leader in one situation and ineffective in another,’ he says.

‘General George Patton was a very effective combat tank division commander, but I think he’d have trouble leading my local school’s Parent Teacher Association. And many good PTA chairmen might not make very good tank division commanders.’

Effective leadership is really judged by the interaction between the leader’s personality – what he or she brings to the situation – and the degree to which the situation gives the leader control and influence, he concludes.

Our leadership moment

“Leadership is a consensual task, a sharing of ideas and a sharing of responsibilities, where a ‘leader’ is a leader for the moment only, where the leadership exerted must be validated by the consent of followers, and where leadership lies in the struggles of a community to find meaning for itself.”

William Foster in Toward a Critical Practice of Leadership.

A view from the sixth century BC

According to sixth century BC philosopher Lao-Tzu: “The superior leader gets things done with little motion. He imparts instructions not through many works, but through a few deeds. He keeps informed about everything, but interferes hardly at all. He is a catalyst, and though things would not get done as well if he weren’t there, when they succeed, he takes no credit. And because he takes no credit, credit never leaves him.”

Colin Powell’s Thirteen Leadership Principles

Leadership is rarely confined to those few at the top or those bunkered down in the corner offices. Let this be the year when you take the lead. Aim for the top by heeding some advice from someone who is already there-like US Chief of Staff, Colin Powell. Here’s what he recommends…

  • It ain’t as bad as you think it is. It will look better in the morning.
  • Get mad, then get over it.
  • Avoid having your ego so close to your position that, when your position falls, your ego goes with it.
  • It can be done!
  • Be careful what you choose. You may get it.
  • Don’t let adverse facts stand in the way of a good decision.
  • You can’t make someone else’s choices. You shouldn’t let someone else make yours.
  • Check small things.
  • Share credit.
  • Remain calm. Be kind.
  • Have a vision. Be demanding.
  • Don’t take counsel of your fears or naysayers.
  • Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.

The five commandments for long-term success

The five commandments for long-term success:

  • Thou shalt not ignore leadership potential in either recruiting or early promotion decisions.
  • Thou shalt not allow great strengths to camouflage fatal flaws.
  • Thou shalt not make decisions based on today’s emergencies, without considering the long-term consequences of those decisions.
  • Thou shalt not fail to do what needs to be done under the illusion that the needed talent will emerge at the right time.
  • Thou shalt not allow previous mistakes to accumulate and perpetuate.

Galbraith J & Lawler E in Organising for the Future, Jossey Bass, San Francisco.

Four truths of leadership

Lead more realistically, advises James P. Gelatt, by remembering the following:

  • The behaviour you reward is the behaviour you get.
  • Employees are most likely to perform well when four factors align: They agree with the goals they must meet, they view their work as meaningful, they feel they have the skills they need, and they believe their rewards will equal their efforts.
  • Systems that permit managers to control employees’ every movement stifle creativity and innovation.
  • Too many formulas for how to manage forget to include people in their equations.


‘It doesn’t matter how well you’re leading if no one’s following.’

(Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty, Harvey Mackay, Currency, 1997, p. 254.)

Leadership is not magnetic personality-that can just as well be a glib tongue. It is not ‘making friends and influencing people’-that is flattery. Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to higher sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.

(Peter Drucker.)


Here at Global Training Institute we offer a wide variety of qualifications as well as short courses to suit your needs. Wanting to delve deeper into management? Some of our courses include Diploma of Civil Construction ManagementCertificate IV in Project Management PracticeDiploma in Project ManagementCertificate IV in Frontline ManagementDiploma of Management – Business Management and the Advanced Diploma of Management. Some of our short course also include Attention ManagementCommunication StrategiesPersonal Productivity Skills and many more! 

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