What really makes a great leader? In order to be an effective leader, one needs to be able to motivate and influence others to contribute toward organizational success. As companies, employees, and policies change, so do leaders and ways they motivate their team.

“Employees are not static,” said Marcy Adams, MBA, RN, BHA, national director at IQVIA in Durham, NC. “We don’t manage employees the same way we did a year ago, five years ago, 10 years ago. We don’t manage employees the same way we did yesterday.

“Managers don’t always make good leaders, and leaders don’t always make good managers,” she added. To figure out if you have leadership skills, Adams said that you must look at your moral authority. “What is your character? Are you able to do what’s right in the absence of rules?” Adams asked.

Employees can be tempted to do the wrong thing, and this is where leadership comes in. Leaders will focus on their people, while managers set out to focus on the tasks that need to be completed. In addition to moral authority, if you do take up a leadership role, Adams said that the difference between poor leadership and great leadership is attitude. Attributes of a leader’s attitude include: 

  • Has a visionary outlook
  • Communicates effectively
  • Has a plan and goals
  • Is decisive
  • Wants to make a positive difference
  • Embodies a passionate sense of purpose
  • Is crazy enough to think he or she can change the world
  • Chooses leadership—not appointed or given a position
  • Has a tenacious sense of courage and determination
  • Starts with self-confidence
  • Essential core leadership values include:
  • Integrity
  • Responsibility
  • Compassion
  • Forgiveness

Leaders also understand that it has various roles and “that the coloring of the picture can come in many different shades,” Adams said. Fundamental leadership competencies include: 

  • Social intelligence
  • Interpersonal skills 
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Prudence
  • Courage
  • Conflict management
  • Decision making
  • Influence
  • Political skills
  • Competence

When having a crucial conversation, leaders must clarify expectations of both the manager and employee: 

  • What do you want?
  • What are you doing?
  • How is this working?
  • What is the plan?
  • What options have you considered or not considered?

After clarifying your team’s expectation, be sure you identify the needed outcome, make it their plan, and tie rewards to results of the plan. If results are not done as promised, move them out, and have them realize that it is not personal. Adams concluded that leadership can come from the bottom up, not just the top down, and that a title does not make a leader. A leadership role may have managerial parts, but remember that management is a job and leadership is a calling.