How to lead others – 6 skills you need to be a great leader

How to lead

We applied our Clever logic to the question of ‘What makes a good leader?’ and came up with the 6 skills you need to be a great leader.

What is a ‘Leader’?

According to the Oxford Dictionary, a leader is:

A person who leads or commands a group, organization, or country.

From this definition, we can see that to be a Clever Leader you need to be leading people. This brings us to our first simple conclusion that the essential ingredient of being a leader is having followers.


Conclusion 1: A Clever Leader must have followers.


Some ‘leaders’ gain their followers through threats and fear, e.g:

  • “If you don’t do what I say you will lose your job”
  • “Your pay review is coming up”
  • “Business is not looking good…”

The problem here is that people who lead by fear or threats are not true leaders. This is because their followers are not following the leader, they are doing what they are told through fear of negative action. A leader who forces people to follow them is not a leader; they are a bully!

From this, we can see that a Clever Leaders followers should be willing and not forced.


Clever Conclusion 2: People follow a Clever Leader because they want to.


This leads to the next logical question of ‘why’ people want to follow a Clever Leader.

To answer this we have to turn to motivation. There are many different motivators for different people but the majority of followers hope to gain something of value in return for their efforts. The most common would be payment of some kind but it could be something as simple as being told… ‘well done!’

Other reasons for following a leader maybe because it:

  • Gets the followers out of a difficult situation – “The ship is sinking, I know a way out – follow me .”
  • Increases income – “Once we reach our goals we will all share in the increased profits.”
  • Improves job security –  “When we get this new system operating we will be the industry leader.”

Followers may also want to gain personally through:

  • New job opportunities
  • Training
  • Support
  • Personal development.

This means that a Clever Leader must provide benefit and support to their followers to enable them to reach their full potential.


Clever Conclusion 3: A Clever Leader must look after their followers’ needs, hopes and wants.


Now we have a Clever Leader who has willing followers and supports and encourages them but if the leader doesn’t have a direction to go in they will soon lose their followers; by definition, people cannot follow someone who is not going anywhere. This means that a Clever Leader must have a direction or aim.

This brings us to our fourth conclusion.


Clever Conclusion 4: A Clever Leader must have an aim.


This conclusion still leaves a small problem. If the leader cannot communicate their grand ideas and ‘inspire’ others then their followers will become confused and demoralised. This means that a Clever Leader must be a good communicator.


Clever Conclusion 5: A Clever Leader must be a good communicator.


Being able to give a long-term aim will not be enough to keep followers motivated when things get difficult.  This leads us to conclude that a Clever Leader must be able to motivate others and keep them doing their best even when things get difficult.


Clever Conclusion 6: A Clever Leader must be able to motivate others.


We can now summarize our answer…

What makes a good leader?

A Clever leader is someone who has willing followers. They do not use fear or threats to gain or keep their followers. They support their followers and help them to achieve their full potential. A Clever leader has a clear vision of the future and where they are going and can communicate their ideas clearly. They are able to motivate their followers to achieve their combined goals in the most effective way possible. MakeMeClever.com

Years of debate and research are summed up in six Clever observations using our ‘Clever logic’.


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Posted in Leadership Series, Motivation.