What makes a good leader/manager?

Library of Congress Photo of John F. Kennedy
Internet photo from Library of Congress

What indeed! There are many books written on the subject of leadership, some are quite detailed others make you wonder about their authority or lack of.  I was going through some old notes from my Diploma of Business and Master of Business Administration (MBA) studies and found some brief notes on the subject.

What defines a good leader?

Despite their reluctance to admit or accept the fact, Leaders or Managers are role models and need to act appropriately, they should inspire staff and act ethically and with integrity. Leaders/managers at all levels are expected to demonstrate what should be done and how to achieve objectives in a financially sustainable way that is acceptable to current society.

A Leader at all levels has an overseeing role in the dismantling of old methods and steer the organisation for change whether it be new ideas or improvements.  Leaders/managers also need to assist staff through any restructuring changes to help facilitate the positive aspects of the change.  They need to be mindful of possible negatives of change and how these changes may affect some staff.

Some famous great leaders: Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Walt Disney, just to name a few.  I am sure you can find plenty more. A personal comment – sadly these leaders are gone but I cannot find any in the current world who match even half of their calibre, charisma, gentle manner and inspiration.  I have yet to find any business leaders of their calibre.  These are just personal observations.

A good leader will make staff feel valued and supported, they will encourage staff to develop career paths and make active contributions to organisational success.  Good leaders will inspire and enthuse others and be positive role models and by so doing help staff achieve job satisfaction and also the organisation benefits from skills and knowledge of its diverse employees.

Leadership: Enhancing the Lessons of Experience‘ was one of my textbooks for my MBA studies and it took 691 pages to examine all aspects of a leader or the leadership role.  The authors Richard L. Hughes, Robert Ginnett and Gordy Curphy (2015) state that they were faced with a question of whether leadership could be taught as an academic subject, with the obvious inference that it cannot.  To which, they developed their own response which is expressed in the subtitle of their book Enhancing the Lessons of Experience.  Here I would have to say that learning coupled with an equal or more measure of life experience is what helps a person to become a good leader.  For good leadership the person must learn or be able to learn from experience and make adjustments with time, situation and current social conditions.


This is just a brief look at what I had in my notes, I no longer have the essay or article that was submitted for assessment, so I can only patch together from my notes what my thinking may have been at the time.  I do have the text book I referred to:  Leadership: Enhancing the Lessons of Experience, Richard L. Hughes, Robert C. Ginnett, Gordon J. Curphy III. Published by McGraw Hill Education, 2015.

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