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Strong Leadership - is it in all of us?

Can everyone be a leader? What makes a person a leader, is everyone strong enough?

Many people make great bosses, but are they leaders?

Do they empower others, do they encourage people to follow them?

There are many articles regarding strong leadership, in this blog we want to concentrate on an article by Global Challenge -

”A good leader can't get too far ahead of his followers.” Franklin D. Roosevelt  US President 1933-1945

Just look over your shoulder at the tens or hundreds or thousands of people who are following some of your ideas or values, goals or life-targets – not primarily because of some organisational role, or job title, but simply because of the nature of who you are, the values you have, the vision you hold, the friendships you have and what you mean to those people’s lives.


S  elf-aware T  arget-driven R  elationship-hungry O  rganisation-influenced N  eighbourhood-linked G  lobally-concerned S Self-aware All strong leaders know their own strengths and weaknesses.  They know their limitations, and what complementary skills they need in their teams to work most effectively.  They are humble, teachable and quick to defer.  What is more, they listen to the voice within, to their own thoughts and values about what really matters. They are sensitive to their own conscience as a higher principle, and use this guide as a check against every action they may be about to take, even where it appears to be permissible in law and acceptable generally.  T  Target-Driven Strong leaders are driven by more than vague vision. They aim for clear targets, practical, achievable goals which inspire teams to great things.  They are passionate about the higher purpose of all they do, and how each target fulfils their big mission. Robert Kaplan and David Norton developed the idea of a plane cockpit in their book The Balanced Scorecard, proposing new “dials” and “instruments” to provide ongoing feedback to business leaders about many different parts of their business.  The scorecard has revolutionised target setting in many corporations, but as the authors point out, the four parts of the scorecard can be a strait-jacket and may need rebalancing (financial, customers, internal business processes and learning / growth) with softer variables such as employee satisfaction and community involvement.  "If any one idea about leadership has inspired organizations for thousands of years, it's the capacity to hold a shared picture of the future we seek to create." Peter Senge

R  Relationship-hungry Strong leaders do it together.  For them, relationships with men and women they can trust are of absolute importance.  They spend time investing in key people, mentoring, coaching, encouraging, releasing and equipping. “The best morale exists when you never hear the word mentioned.  When you hear a lot about it, it’s usually lousy.”  Dwight D Eisenhower, US President 1953-61

O  Organisation-influenced Strong leaders are always open and sensitive to those they are seeking to lead.  They consult before they commit, listen before they leap, ask before they advance.  They make themselves accountable to those they seek to serve in their leadership. N  Neighbourhood-linked Strong leaders recognise that they are part of the wider local community and the company benefits from local talent, local resources and local trade.  Strong leaders invest in neighbourhood schemes, and expect their corporations to benefit the area as a whole, and as a result, are seen as a community friend. G  Globally-concerned Strong leaders take the broad view, with a long term perspective, committed to responsible planning rather than short-termism. They drive sustainable business practices and aim to leave the world in a better state than it would have been otherwise. “Business leaders cannot begin to foster a climate of positive order if their sole concern is making a profit.  They must also have a vision that gives life meaning, that offers people hope for their own future and those of their children…. What do they do to make life better for themselves and for others?”  Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Professor of Pyschology and Education, University of Chicago and author of Good Business

Adapted from Building a Better Business book by Patrick Dixon.

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