8 Leadership Qualities Of Great Leaders By Nick Roud

by | Aug 4, 2022

Many leadership qualities are under the spot light as we progress towards the back end of 2022.

People want and demand more from their leaders. Boards, shareholders and staff are seeing a fundamentally global shift away from corporates being lead by horrible control freaks to that of an authentic leader.

Not only are Boards ensuring results are achieved, they are also shining the spot-light on the leader who is leading their organisation. The Chief Executive has one job and that is to lead it’s people and to lead those people well.

The demands for a CE are constant and the volume of decisions, work and pressure has never been more challenging, and if the CE is not leading it’s people well then very soon the business will stop short of realising it’s full potential. Trust will be broken down and changes will be forced.

Each organisation will have it’s own governance around outputs what is up for question is who should therefore be the leader for that period of time?

What is Leadership?

‘to lead a person or group of people or organisation to desired goal’.

Great leaders can and must inspire others to reach deeper than he/she thought possible. Actions are what people want not cheap talk. Those leaders who are wanting to roll their sleeves up and get amongst things will be the leaders who move others quicker.

The leader of today (2022) might be liken to that of our heart, the heart keeps us alive, in good times and in bad times. It’s has a constant, consistent and tempered beat. Take the heart out of our bodies and very soon we will die. A good organisation needs a good healthy heart leading its organisation.

What makes a Good Leader Great?

  • Great leaders find that sweet spot between the demands of the business and the character needed to inspire others across the organisation. All leaders have strengths and weaknesses. Great leaders know who they are and look to strengthen both their weaknesses and strengths (the majority of time should be focused on developing your strengths).
  • Great leaders do not settle on what they did yesterday instead they are always looking forwards to today/tomorrow but do not dwell on the past. CEOs fully appreciate that they are a caretaker of the seat and those who are self-less want only for that seat to be left better than when they took charge.
  • Great leaders today know that if they do not have the very best people around them they will struggle to deliver on the business objectives. They have learnt how to hire well, they develop people and teams, and they move people on respectfully when times need those tough decisions to be made. Great leaders also know when to listen to others and when to ask for help/support. They don’t go-it alone.

To help you in your leadership journey here are eight leadership qualities that you are going to need if 2022/23 is going to be the year you excel as a leader. I’d encourage you to measure yourself against all 8 and see what you notice.

If you require evidence based coaching into your own leadership then feel free to reach out nick@roudcareers.co.nz

1. Empathy

the highest form of knowledge is empathy.

One top quality (possibly the #1 quality) is genuine empathy. The ability to bring others together.

Many immature leaders show signs that it’s all about them, look how great I am, look what I have done. Great leaders don’t need to say anything, they have the calm, natural ability to relate and connect with others and are very comfortable in their own skin.

To be truly empathetic is to have the ability to put yourself second, to stand in someone else’s shoes, to observe and not to judge. You will naturally want to celebrate when others have achieved and be part of a ‘team’ that together want to reach a common goal.

Great leaders give constant feedback (and demand feedback from others) they are not afraid to make tough calls, they put their hands up when they have made mistakes and never through others under the bus. An empathetic approach as a leader will harness every corner of the company – will demand high standards and will create opportunities for others to grow professionally and as people.

How do you score

1 – 10 (10 being amazing) (1 being I have a lot of work to do)?

2. Self Control

Great leaders have an abundance towards stronger motivation. a pure desire to do the best rather than what is expected. There performance is consistently higher and they bring a broader vision to work. They take care of the little things when nobody else is watching and they do not seek recognition. Their work standards are exemplary, they lift others around them to perform at a higher level. Whilst others around are rushing like rabbits in a head light great leaders are calm, considerate and remain clear in communication. Not only is self-control vital for a leader to perform on the world stage, leading by example rubs off on others around them. They sit quietly observing, reading the room and know when to step in and when to step back. As opposed to leaders who like the sound of their own voice, great leaders rarely speak – they listen intently to others and provide support, guidance or course correction when needed.

Having self control no matter what situation you face is an outstanding quality of a leader.

How do you score

1 – 10 (10 being amazing) (1 being I have a lot of work to do)?

3. Focus

True north only happens when a leader has a meaningful purpose. For one to be a good leader you must have an anchor. Focus only becomes clear when you understand your goals and yourself. Those goals of your team, your organisation and the bigger picture. Without clear focus nothing happens. Competition catches up and passes you.

Without genuine focus from the leader others will struggle to get aligned to the vision and will fall short on what is expected. Silos will appear quickly and own agendas will soon follow. You will ultimaltiey never reach your full potential. Just like an anchor that’s grounded you must allow for turbulent times, uncertainty and lack of detail to be able to make formed decisions. As your communication to those you trust grows soon clarity will appear. Don’t lose sight of sharing your focus with others.

Great leaders are outcome – oriented and create large or small strategic plans that focus heavily on the strengths of the company, they involve others and encourage contribution.

Your focus as a leader is to ensure that you, and all the people around you, remain focused on the goal. This must relate to time, performance and results. Everyone contributes. When and if you feel you are losing sight of your focus reflect back on your purpose (the anchor) and appreciate what that truly means to you.

How do you score

1 – 10 (10 being amazing) (1 being I have a lot of work to do)?

the most important thing in communicating is hearing what isn’t said. Peter Drucker

4. Communication

the most important thing in communicating is hearing what isn’t said. Peter Drucker

Being a strong communicator is not what is needed to be a great leader. We are looking for clear communication. The ability to be a clear communicator is one of the hardest qualities to identify in leaders. Inmature leaders rush themselves, they like the sound of their own voice and they have not developed the ability to proceed slowly!

Harder still for a leader who has oversight of leaders who function across various geographical locations. The rise of great global leaders is becoming more needed as organisations look to streamline its executive teams. Are we about to see a flux in dual CE roles?

One of the very best ways to observe great leaders is that of listening to them. Notice their calm – methodical approach. They do not rush to conclusions.

They get clarity from others, they seek confirmation of expectations, they set clear understandable rules and they are not afraid to over-communicate.

Great leaders hone their public speaking, they get to grips quickly with the messaging and the audience and they capture little nuggets that make all the difference.

One last thing to note is not all communication is verbal! Watch out for your non-verbals!

Get feedback as a leader either through formal 360 or during your one-on-ones. Feedback will enable you to sharpen those areas in both a positive and negative way. Want to get upto date insight into your leadership, here is a link to the 360 I use with companies and individual executives.

How do you score

1 – 10 (10 being amazing) (1 being I have a lot of work to do)?

5. Willing to Delegate

Close judgement is needed here don’t rush into this.

The ability to delegate effectively is a quality of a good leader. When a leader truly delegates a task or responsibility it shows the employee you trust them. Before plowing into delegating it’s critical to get to know your people and by getting to know I mean really get to know them. In doing so only then can you truly delegate with confidence.

Great leaders know their people’s strengths and they have put in the hard kilometres to ensure not only the person is ready but also is the very best person to be delegated that task. An immature leader will get quickly flustered with the demands and pressure – take a stab at what is needed to get done and demand others to take ownership of things. Very quickly people become disengaged, lost and at worst leave the organisation.

Take a look at all the things you must do to be a great leader, that list should be very short, in fact it should involve one sentence. Lead your people.

If you are not willing to delegate, do you fundamentally trust your people and ultimately know your people?

Delegation no matter the size of the task must be clearly communicated to the person and evidence from that person of where to from here will be needed to ensure success. Don’t leave it their have regular check ins on progress and great leaders will know if and when to course correct.

How do you score

1 – 10 (10 being amazing) (1 being I have a lot of work to do)?

6. Ethics

A true test to any leader (or person) is to be able to look in the mirror after making a decision and be comfortable with it.

Look deep in the mirror and if you like what is staring back then your ethics are aligned.

Leave unethical behaviour to others, don’t step into that space and never lose sight of your own values.

Leaders must align their values to the organisation, enterprise, not4profit that they serve if your ethics are out of kilter then you may struggle to move the needle.

How do you score

1 – 10 (10 being amazing) (1 being I have a lot of work to do)?

7. Manage and Develop others

Without people you don’t have a business.

Your people make you a leader not your title. Fundamentally this is where the magic must happen. How you hire, onboard, develop and grow your people into better humans is a huge focus for great leaders. They roll up their sleeves and get stuck in, they are constant in their communication, in their one-on-ones and they set clear expectations. Great leaders will not tolerate harmful, abusive or bullying people, great leaders allow others to take the spot light and do not seek out the recognition.

How are you running your one-on-ones, your team meetings your board room?

Great leaders recognise the human capital asset as the most important asset to any organisation. They are able to flex to meet the person where he/she needs to be met not the other way around. Mature leaders encourage their people to try new things, they part their wisdom and they don’t play games!

How do you score

1 – 10 (10 being amazing) (1 being I have a lot of work to do)?

8. Be Themself

Our final quality and one which should stand the test of time is the ability for the leader to be themselves. A true test of a leaders maturity is simply they are themselves in every interaction. They treat all people the way they want to be treated and they don’t deviate from the very essence of who they are no matter who is in the room!

You don’t need to be someone else in order to be a great leader. Great leadership is about bring yourself to the game and leaving the ego at the door!

How do you score

1 – 10 (10 being amazing) (1 being I have a lot of work to do)?

This is an except from Nick’s next book The Craft of Leadership which will be out 2024.

Nick is a leadership coach based in Auckland, New Zealand. His work has won numerous awards and he is a sort ofter executive coach. Nick’s coaching work is evidence based and globally accredited.


For a confidential conversation about your leadership coaching needs, call Nick on +6421375630 or email him nick@roudcareers.co.nz

Nick Roud

Nick Roud

Executive Leadership Coach

Nick is the Chairman of Nick Roud Coaching and a Global Award Winning Executive Coach. Nick holds the highest coaching qualification MCEC. His clients are typically Chief Executive Officers, Executives and Emerging Leaders. Nick’s office is based in Auckland, New Zealand and he travels extensively around the world to coach his clients. You can contact Nick directly on +6421375630