Successful Leadership

Successful leadership is an elusive quality that often leaves people wondering whether successful leaders result from a pressure cooker of experience and hard work.

As the question of what makes a good leader is pored over and examined further by business analysts and educational institutions, new developments arise in leadership theory and methodology. The one thing that remains the same is the understanding that effective leadership is the catalyst that drives all elements of a successful organization.

Aspiring leaders may find themselves wondering what essential traits they need to possess in order to be a good leader. Here are four that can serve as a springboard to success for anyone occupying a leadership role.


  • People should know why and how a leader has come to a decision and in what ways it will affect them. Transparent leaders are typically challenged less by those they oversee. Good leaders use transparency to help those around them embrace change, which can be accomplished through a combination of communication, informed debate, shared decision-making, consensus-gathering and using social media. Transparent leaders are not micro managers; they give credit to others when success occurs and take the blame for failures.

Learn From Failure

  • Experiencing failure has the power to shape a leader. It is a powerful resource for learning and teaches survival, renewal and innovation. Embracing failure enables us to change and inspire others. Leaders must be willing to take great risks and fail or great rewards can never be attained. In the process, leaders gain perspective.


  • One of the core principles of leadership is trust. In the past, leadership was scarce and special, a function of powerful people. In modern times, that vertical model of leadership is less effective. Today, success is attained by being able to collaborate with someone in pursuit of common goals. In other words, a good leader no longer trusts in power, but places faith in the power of trust. Additionally, a leader is the trustee in any relationship and in order to be effective, must be trustworthy and willing to take the risk of placing trust in the people around them.
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  • A good leader embodies confidence. No one will follow a leader who isn’t self-assured and will quickly see through one putting up a façade of bravado. A leader who can articulate goals and stand by decisions is far more effective than someone trying to hide insecurities behind a mask of arrogance. Confident leaders are generally happier, create better relationships, remain open to risks, accept feedback, think for themselves, recognize success and are more motivated.

While leadership styles may need to be tailored to suit specific situations and businesses, these four traits can provide the tools necessary to steer an organization down the path of success. Some people may be born leaders, but these are characteristics that can display, with the right amount of determination, for successful leadership.

What Makes Successful Leadership?

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Philip Murphy
Philip Murphy works at Bisk Education with the Jacksonville University. He writes about topics relating to Nursing Leadership.