What We Actually Need from Our Leaders

by placers on October 30, 2020 in Outside Insights


The election feels like the exclamation point on the end of a long run-on sentence (otherwise known as the year 2020).

We have been through a range of emotions and sticky situations this year. Many of us have gone from fear to frustration, to now what feels like a general sense of anxiety.

With so much going on, it also feels like much of our world has been put on hold. What a weird paradox. This is the great pause (a very chaotic, messy, pause). For the past few months, we simply had to push pause on the really big business and life decisions until we know the results of the election.

There are mere days until decision day and I’ve been thinking about the qualities that make a good person and a great leader. In most cases, I do believe that they are one and the same.

Most people can quickly think of someone that they regard as a good leader. Close your eyes for a few seconds.  Who comes to mind? What role do they play in your life? What values did they live by every day? What story unfolds for you every time you think about them and the impact that they made?

Now, contrast this with a time where you were exposed to “bad” leadership. What fell short? Was it how or what they communicated? Their values? Were you unable to trust or rely on them? My biggest leadership pet peeve is when a leader fails to be present for their people. In my leadership journey, I have come to learn that a leader’s only job is to serve and to make their community better. To preserve and better their tribe.

We may not grow up with an explicit objective to be a leader. Some of us are thrust into the moment, others are groomed for it since birth, many haven’t yet heard the call to leadership – but it’s coming. And even though answers to the question, “what makes a good leader” will vary depending on who you ask, we all know it when we experience it.

So, what is leadership to me?  It’s hard to master – in fact, I’m not sure one could ever truly “master” it. Here are the hard-fought insights I’ve learned along my leadership journey. And as always, I look forward to learning about your insights and experiences.

  • Great leaders make everyone feel important – regardless of titles or experience levels. They know that they can learn something from everyone they interact with, and they are happy to share their lessons with others.
  • Leaders ooze trustworthiness.When you want others to trust you, trust them first. We must give people a high standard to live up to. This works for me and 99 will rise to the occasion while one may disappoint. Establishing trust between two people is definitely something of an exercise in faith. We all need a little faith right now.
  • Great leaders create a compelling vision for the future. They don’t have to force others to follow their vision, because they inspire conviction. People want to rally behind them because they trust and believe in them.
  • Great leaders serve others. While a leader might wear many hats, their core responsibility will always be to grow, serve and help develop others. Leadership is not about power, perks, and prestige – it’s the privilege of getting up every day knowing they have the privilege to take care of their teams and community.
  • Great leadership is more than a series of techniques and theories. There is no quick life hack for leadership – time, practice, and self-reflection are absolutely key. The first step? Admitting you’re probably not as good of a leader as you think you are.
  • Great leaders are teachers – they are also learners. They must have the humility to admit what they don’t know while sharing all that they do know. Not knowing all of the answers doesn’t create mistrust – acting like you do when you don’t, on the other hand, does.
  • Leaders need people to lead. And followership is earned. Which leads to my questions for you to ponder this weekend:

What will you do to show up for your team/community/tribe today?
What do you believe makes a leader great? What makes a bad leader?

When the election is behind us, we can get back to the rest of 2020 – if you can believe there are still two months left. Holidays anyone?

Until next time, friends.


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