Monday, January 18, 2010

My Top 10 Leadership Attributes for a New (and old) Decade

I've always loved studying leadership - the subject fascinates me.

When I studied for my MA Management (Healthcare) from 1996 to 1998 at the University of Plymouth, my Dissertation was called "Leadership in Practice" in which I researched leadership from the perspective of Family Doctors in the UK.

That piece of academic research never quenched my thirst for knowledge about what makes effective leaders tick. I have continued to speculate subjectively outside an academic framework on the most outstanding qualities of the most effective leaders I've met or worked with/for.

My top ten attributes are listed below.

1 They do what they say they will do
2 They make followers feel special
3 They are consistent
4 They work hard
5 They make decisions
6 They accept responsibility
7 They don’t blame others
8 They support risk taking
9 They provide an example
10 They provide direction

What can you add to my list of ten based on the most effective leaders you've worked with/for?


Mark JF said...

Leaders shouldn't blame others? Oh yes they should: they should blame everyone else for everything that goes right.

Trevor Gay said...

Love it Mark - thanks - I never thought of that :-)

Belated Happy New Year by the way Sir!

Piet said...

they are passionate

Don Dewsnap said...

A couple of thoughts:

They expect the best from those they work with.

They don't compromise on what they know is best.

They set high standards.

Trevor Gay said...

Piet - wonderful comment thank you - I overlooked that one!

Don - again excellent additions - thanks.

Maybe its time for me to write another article on leadership - I appreciate your input folks :-) - It motivates me!

Dave Wheeler said...


Terrific question! Leaders enable people to maximize their personal performance and achieve their professional potential.

They provide the time, tools, opportunities, information, support and many other things to increase the capacity of those they lead to excel.

Trevor Gay said...

Cheers Dave - as always you hit the nail on the head re leadership my friend :-)

JOHN O'LEARY said...

Leaders are always growing other leaders around them. (The leader as "gardener.") As I've shared elsewhere, leaders can be evaluated by a simple (if imperfect) metric: how many leaders are "showing up" around her/him?

Which reminds me: I've been reading a lot about John Lennon's early leadership of the Quarry Men and Beatles. What's an untold story is Lennon's "growing" of McCartney as co-leader of band.

Trevor Gay said...

Great comment John. I recall Tom Peters saying that to mentor successfully 2 or 3 people in our career is something we should be very proud of.

The role of a leader must always be to encourage others to become leaders.

Interesting comment re Lennon - I always saw him as the biggest driver in the Fab Four. Each had their own particular role in the 'team' but for me Lennon was the captain. Does your research give us a clue about who was the leader?

JOHN O'LEARY said...

Trevor, Lennon was the undisputed leader of the Quarry Men and early Beatles, but later McCartney emerged as co-leader. And of course Epstein and Martin came to play major roles in the bookings and recordings respectively. Lennon's early leadership style was dictatorial if not abusive - an effect of the many tragedies he experienced as an adolescent - but fortunately he grew out of that. I was just commenting in my latest post that Lennon bullied his buddy, Stu Sutcliffe, into joining the band and then wouldn't let him leave until it was obvious that Stu couldn't take it any more. Stu died a short time later from a brain injury.

Trevor Gay said...

Hi John – the leadership role often switches in relationships depending on the issue in hand, changing circumstances and things like maturity and growing confidence of others around the leader. Situational Leadership is a concept I studied when I did my Leadership Dissertation as part of my MA Management (Healthcare) 1996-98.

Lennon had natural leadership qualities I’m pretty sure of that. Interesting how McCartney became co-leader.

I though Stu Sutcliffe acquired the head injury in a fight in Munich and died some time later with suggestions that the head injury was a contributory factor. At least that was how it was portrayed in a Beatles movie I saw on TV a few years back.

JOHN O'LEARY said...

Trevor, it is speculated that Sutcliffe died from a head injury suffered months earlier at the hands of the Teds (street punks) in Liverpool, after a Beatle gig. (He was also involved in a brawl with nightclub bouncers in Hamburg, but I don't think that was as serious.) I was just reading about it in a cool book about Lennon's life, "Shoulda Been There" which I review on my blog (along with a book by Don Felder about an obscure country-rock band).

Trevor Gay said...

John - I guess we just had to be there to know the real truth. Either way it seems like the fights were contributory factors. Those were indeed crazy times. I well remember as a teenager watching the TV news about regular planned fights between groups of ‘mods’ and ‘rockers’.

I also remember at school we would be in lines waiting to go into class and the well known school bullies would come along the line asking us in turn if we were a mod or a rocker. Whichever answer we gave they would say they were the opposite and give us a smack around the head. Wonderful days eh my friend?

By the way – that obscure country–rock band did well for a year or so :-)

J.KANNAN said...

A very good presentation well executed as usual. To me too the subject"Leadership" fascinates like you.

If you recollect your memories,last year you have forwarded me your dissertation "Leadership in Practise" for me to study and express my opinion/impression on it and I have studied it fully and complied with your requirement and in the process I did enjoy it and gained good amount of knowledge from it-It was indeed a wonderful experience for me. Your 10 top attributes are "PAR EXCELLENCE" and it inspired me why not make A to Z of Leadership attributes and hope our "Simplicity" friends would like to read it and love it and here goes.........................................

Leaders are/with.........................












Lead (Rightly)





Quest(They have)








Yeoman service


And last but not least.................................

“Nothing splendid has ever been achieved except by those who dared to believe that something inside them was superior to circumstance.” i.e True Leaders.

Leaders should perceive rightly if they wish to lead effectively and efficiently. In other words- What you sow, so you reap.”- Therefore sow right seeds and reap right harvest. ..................................

And to go with the famous quote by the Great Peter F Drucker........................

“Management is doing things right.
Leadership is doing right things” -

With Regards.


PS- Comments delayed due to certain urgent pre-occupation.

Trevor Gay said...

Fantastic JK - A leadershp alphabet!!!

You are amazing my friend.

Your words inspire me every time - God bless you and your family.

Trevor Gay said...

JK – In my experience the more basic and simple the language the more chance there is of comprehension for the listener.

Too many managers ‘invent’ a language only known to them and that is often for protectionism and/or pretentiousness.

Words are important – we need to always keep it simple

J.KANNAN said...

Dear Trevor,

Thanks a lot for your appreciation,inspiration and good thoughts.
I look at it this way................."Almighty(my beloved Mother)has created me to inspire, initate and motivate my friends,well wishers and those who approach me and I do it with dedication,sincereity and earnestness and consider it as a God given privilege and opportunity.

Thank you once again Trevor.........................while looking fwd to 31 Jan 2010 for the great event in the history of "Simplicity"


Trevor Gay said...

Thanks again JK - Sunday's call will be great I'm sure