What is the definition of a good leader?

In our personal development and managing people workshops at Henley Business School, we are asked to critically think and analyse questions, not just take things for granted just because someone famous said so….

be the leader that you would follow

In a conversation with some fellow HBS students, the discussion led to different opinions about whether the person that is the “glue” in the team could be their leader at the same time.

Many thought this impossible, as the leader needed to be respected and be somewhat removed from the team, as the risk otherwise arose for him/her to be “too pally” or “lowering themselves to the level of the ‘subordinates'”.

Others pointed out that a good leader always needs to be at the pulse of what’s going on and listen between the lines.

I have recently come across some MDs from various countries, and some of them were the leaders that remain remote (even though paying lip service to having an open door policy), while others really “feel” their staff and having adopted a position of listening and glueing the team together, even in difficult times of redundancies and mergers.

As the song goes:

“I’m a bitch, I’m a lover, I’m a child, I’m a mother, I’m a sinner, I’m a saint …..”

Would a good leader therefore be

“a listener, a teacher, a priest, a role model, a team mate…..” (insert more words here)….?

I’ll be listening for more views and am intrigued to hear about the experience others have had.


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