The Absolutely Essential Qualities of Leadership…

Yesterday, I outlined how leadership has changed, and I suggested that more than ever, leaders need to develop “soft-skills”. I also promised to share those skills that I believe are absolutely vital: This list is not by any means exhaustive, but it is an excellent start (If you missed yesterday’s post, do simply scroll down)


This has to be right at the top, because if the team has cause to doubt the integrity of its leader, then it will fail when the team is exposed to stress or a risk. If a person is capable of minor lapses in their personal integrity, they fail to keep faith and then they could let their own team members down when they are under pressure. Once the team doubts the leader, that doubt greatly limits their chances of the fullest success.

Good Memory

To enable them to recall peoples names and the few essential facts that are pertinent to a wide range of problems.

A Genuine Interest In People

Those that you are responsible for leading will know at once if you are genuinely interested in them – and particularly in their development. Show this and you create that personal bond which is essential to the success of your team. You cannot fake an interest in people – they always find you out. A leader can only be successful by ensuring the success of every individual in the team.

The Ability To Communicate Effectively

A good leader must be able to talk and write simply, clearly and persuasively. They must also listen and digest information intently – communication is a two way process.


There is a time when a decision must be made and a risk taken, even though the facts may be incomplete. A leader must recognize when further analysis is unprofitable and action is needed. It helps if the cost of changing the decision is known. If the cost is low, the risk is low.

The Ability To Relax

If the team is kept tense and under pressure, irritation arises and performance fails. This is overcome by deliberately introducing a break – just a light remark or opportunity for laughter. The importance lays in the frequency and the need for the break to be related to the task, or the people – not a funny story. The break should be brief, even momentary. It should also come at an opportune moment.

Genuine Enthusiasm

Inner conviction, belief in the team and the objectives before it, gives rise to enthusiasm. This must be visible to the members of the team. It provides the motive power they use to tackle their jobs with courage and hope. If the leader has no belief in the task, why should their team even attempt it?

Those are my top seven, and tomorrow, I’ll reveal the five main drivers, which point organizations towards success ..

News: Lots of comments about my Hardtalk interview with Dan Waldschmidt  “The Problem With Sales Trainers” – if you missed it, simply go HERE and look in the right-hand column.

We are putting the finishing touches to our new project – – which launches next week, plus finalizing the details of the Top Sales World magazine, which publishes next Tuesday …

This month’s highlight is undoubtedly Linda Richardson’s interview with genuine thought leader, Neil Rackham. Plus, in my new monthly column – JF Uncut – I take a tongue-in-cheek look at the reasons why any imminent marriage between sales and marketing is unlikely, and we also have superb articles from Colleen Stanley, Tibor Shanto and John Doerr.

Finally, we announce all the categories for this year’s Top Sales & Marketing Awards. It is certainly going to be a bumper edition!

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