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15 ways to judge leadership suitability


Not all leaders deserve the position they hold, or even the title of ‘leader’. In other words, all leaders aren’t created equal.

That’s the observation of Mike Myatt, writing for Forbes.com. He comments: “If you really want to determine someone’s leadership prowess, give them some responsibility and see what they do with it.”

Myatt says the following 15 points are a “practical, accurate and effective” way to gauge leadership suitability. He advises that if leaders fail to grasp these concepts, “you may want to consider developing them or exiting them”.

1) Leaders without a vision will fail. Leaders need to align the organisation around a clear and achievable vision. Without it they will fail to inspire or motivate teams.

2) Leaders need character and integrity. Regardless of how intelligent, knowledgeable or persuasive they are, if a leader has a habit of rationalising unethical behaviour, they will fail eventually.

3) Poor performance signals poor leadership. Leaders who fail consistently are not really leaders at all.

4) Leaders don’t need to be the smartest person in the room. Good leaders are aware of how much they don’t know.

5) Communication skills are essential. Leaders need to be able to convey their message effectively and enlighten those who “don’t get it”.

6) Leaders must think beyond “self”. Ego, pride and arrogance are not desirable leadership traits. Good leaders take the blame and give credit.

7) Great leaders have empathy, humility and kindness. These traits should not be regarded as weaknesses in any circumstances.

8) “One size fits all” leadership doesn’t work. “The best leaders are fluid and flexible in their approach,” insists Myatt. “They understand the power of, and necessity for, contextual leadership.”

9) Leaders who lack discipline set a bad example. Focus and attention to detail are essential.

10) Leaders must relinquish their comfort zone. Being satisfied with the status quo won’t bring about growth or innovation.

11) The consumer needs attention. Leaders must be attuned to the market and focus on the customer experience.

12) Leaders must invest in their team. The best leaders provide support and truly care for their team.

13) Leaders must be accountable. They shouldn’t try to pass the buck for failures.

14) Culture matters. Culture shouldn’t evolve by itself – it should be designed.

15) Leaders need courage. Myatt explains: “Courage is having the strength of conviction to do the right thing when it would just be easier to do things right.”

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Mike Myatt