What makes a great leader? It’s tempting to look at various examples of great leaders from history, like Winston Churchill and Steve Jobs, in search of the “secret sauce”. However, in doing so, you might realise that the ingredients for excellent leadership aren’t always clear-cut. Still, here are five elements that we would consider essential for anyone about to take up a leadership mantle.


In an article for The Huffington Post, University of San Francisco professor Dr. Jim Taylor says that learning how to inspire respect, trust and loyalty in your followers calls for awareness of “the kind of person you are and the relationships you build with your team.” Whether you are calm and supportive or critical and demanding, being aware of your personality can help you to discern tactics for leading your followers in the best manner.


Writing for Lifehack, Laura Randell cites the example of Mahatma Gandhi. A major architect of the independence movement in British-ruled India, “he sat with his fellow man and led people by example” and “pushed for real change, without violence, and successfully brought in sweeping changes.” How can you learn from this? Randell explains: “The ability to serve others and learn things from people you might not otherwise come into contact with is important.”


By understanding what skills and talents each of your team’s members have and what challenges they face, you are better positioned to plan an effective strategy for your workforce. Furthermore, you can inspire abundant loyalty by knowing when members of your team need support and then providing it. This, in turn, can help you to add to that workforce, should your loyal employees refer people they know. However, Randell emphasises: “You can’t fake empathy, it has to be genuine.”

The ability to listen

Have you ever heard someone tell you that “you have two ears and one mouth, so listen more than you speak”? It’s an amusing way of putting forward a serious point – that, sometimes, we can become so preoccupied with conveying our own opinion that other people can give up sharing their own. This is understandable if they grow to feel that you are more interested in your own views than theirs. You can build a stronger relationship with your employees by spending more time listening.


While most leaders are under pressure to bring results quickly, you should resist the temptation to make knee-jerk reactions. Instead, you should approach matters more thoughtfully, thinking through the implications of a major decision before you make it. Applying blue sky thinking to a strong, practical strategy will ultimately pay off against competitors who continue going for snap decisions.

If you are prone to impatience, you could start reversing that bad habit by thinking long and carefully about what leadership training to undertake or, indeed, put employees through. Here at Frosch Learning, we offer both in-house and open courses in leadership and management – and these can help you to build upon what you have learnt by reading this article.