The difference between a mediocre leader and an outstanding one can be attributed to a string of common denominators frequently exhibited by successful leaders, particularly when it comes to leadership within the workplace.

Ownership of Mistakes

Successful leaders are still mere humans and are no more perfect that you or I. One of the differentiating factors between an average leader and an outstanding one, however, can be the competence and ability to take ownership of mistakes. A strong leader won’t brush his or her mistakes aside, nor will they shift blame under any circumstance.


Jack Welch, former chairman and CEO of General Electric, once said “Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion.” A leader without a vision is about as useful as a Team Leader without a team. Successful leaders can clearly articulate their vision and demonstrate fearless commitment to their goals and strategy. This in turn inspires others to envision a positive future and become engaged because they can picture themselves being part of this successful future state.

Authenticity and Loyal Followers

According to Margaret Beaton of Beaton Executive Coaching “Being authentic means leading in a genuinely self-expressed way”. Strong leaders exhibit a heightened level of self-awareness as well as a genuine understanding of their abilities and limitations. Theypossess strong self-belief as well as a belief of truth that what they’re aiming for is achievable. People are attracted to people with strong conviction, who know what they want and genuinely know what it takes to get there. Ms Beaton also said “Authentic leadership is the most powerful form of leadership, the most influential. It is the source of a high performing culture and a sustainable organization”.

Welcoming of Change

Great leaders view change as a welcome and constructive effort, rather than a prohibiting factor in the workplace. Strong leaders dislike stagnant delivery or maintenance of the status quo and continually strive for innovation. They empower staff to contribute ideas for improvement and are often willing to experiment and take calculated risks. “Because leaders know that risk taking involves mistakes and failures, they accept the inevitable disappointments as learning opportunities.”

Foster Responsibility Through Accountability

Successful leaders encourage staff to be accountable by ensuring clarity of each job roleas well as setting clear expectations from the get-go. Success is discussed, as well as defined and measured in a way that is explicitly clear for both parties. Their staff understand what it takes to excel within their role because they have a clear understanding of how success will be measured. They also have clear expectations about how they will be rewarded.


Bio: Joe Flanagan has over 7 years experience in hiring and management and is currently a Senior Consutant at Velvet Jobs. They provide job matching, personal branding and coaching via their outplacement service. When he's not helping candidates and recruiters

You Might Also Like:

1 Comment