8 Practices All Great Leaders Have (Plus a Bonus One…)

"Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results, not attributes."


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“Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked;

leadership is defined by results, not attributes.” 

-Peter F. Drucker

I’m often asked what would the best leaders I’ve worked with have in common.

It’s a little bit like asking what do different flavours of ice-cream have in common – some you like more than others but they all have their place!

I came across something recently in the same context, by someone who spent over 65 years working with great business leaders and non-profit CEOs – the renowned management and leadership thinker, Peter Drucker.

He remarked that they were were very incredibly varied in terms of their strengths, weaknesses, personalities and values. They ranged from incredibly introverted to wildly extroverted, from easygoing to controlling.

But in his view, what they all had in common was that in one way or another, they all followed the same eight practices:

1. They asked, What needs to be done?

2. They asked, What is right for the enterprise? (For enterprise exchange organisation, family, team, community, world)

3. They developed action plans.

4. They took responsibility for decisions.

5. They took responsibility for communicating.

6. They were focused on opportunities rather than problems.

7. They ran productive meetings.

8. They thought and said “we” rather than “I…”

What’s interesting about the above is that they can be applied in any leadership context – whether it be business, non-profit, sports, family or community.

Peter Drucker also threw in a bonus practice that, because of it’s importance, he called a rule:

Listen first, speak last. 

And in today’s fast changing, busy world, where it’s impossible to have all of the answers as a leader, this last one is perhaps the most valuable and yet often the most violated one of all.

Where can you use the above list this week?



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