top of page
  • karensteincoaching

Moving from good, to great, to inspirational. What kind of leader are you?

A Good Leader

Leadership in the corporate world tends to be very goal focussed. We identify, construct and agree to individual and team goals, assess how we will attain them, how we will navigate barriers to their success, and determine the resources, teams and support required to get there. We are measured by these goals, through our kpi’s, and contribution to our business, hence their importance remains critical.

A good leader moves our teams towards these goals, articulating their purpose and the strategy to which they are linked, the desired outcomes and the timeframes in which they are to be achieved. And then, we focus on meeting or exceeding these goals. As good leaders do, we aid our teams in reaching the goal, demonstrating the way forward on the road to success.

But is being a good leader good enough? No doubt good leaders will evaluate their goals each year and assess whether the goals remain achievable or need to be reframed. They will consider the likelihood of success and ability to reach the desired goals within the selected timeframes. They will represent their team’s best interests in providing opportunities for their involvement and engagement in these goals, and where they can, will shape the goals to the collective benefit. That’s what good leaders do. And if you so choose, you can continue to be a good leader, year upon year. But is good, good enough? Does this form of leadership inspire and motivate others to be the best they can be?

How can you evolve in your leadership journey and develop further?

A Great Leader

A great leader is one who is reflective; one who considers not only their goals and those of the team, but their own personal development and growth in becoming more effective as a leader; one who sees beyond a goal focus and considers the impact they have in their leadership role. It requires a curious mind to question what impact you want to have as a leader, and an honest assessment of the impact you are actually having.


By engaging in introspective reflection you can consciously assess your own behaviours and cognitions in an effort to gain insights into your leadership effectiveness. This requires discipline in paying attention to yourself; identifying how you behave and what you think in responding to others and situations; increasing your self-awareness.

Reflections however, don’t just arise. They require considered thoughtful contemplation of yourself, and an investment of time to determine what is working well, and what would be even better if you were to adopt new behaviours and/or cognitions.

As busy professionals we tend to schedule time for our team members, clients and customers. Yet we often reprioritise time which could be spent investing in ourselves. This is where discipline kicks in. In order to evolve as a leader, it is imperative to prioritise reflective time to assess your own performance. Diary management can support this, by booking an hour a week as reflective time for ongoing self-assessment. Clear your mind of goals and tasks, and pose yourself a series of questions to ponder.

Useful questions include:

- What am I doing well as a leader, and what could I be doing even better?

- Am I communicating clearly as a leader and are my behaviours consistent with my messaging? How could I be more effective in this regard?

- Am I enabling myself with my thinking, or destabilising myself with my automatic negative thoughts? What changes do I want to focus on to improve my mindset?

- What are the successes I have had of late, and how can I learn from these? How can I adopt these learnings to be a more effective, inspirational leader?

- Where else have I observed success, and what insights can I take away from these outcomes? How can I utilise these learnings as a leader?

- How am I inspiring my team and those around me, and what else should I be doing to better this?

- How am I role modelling leadership behaviours and what should I further focus on?

Through self-reflection, and gaining feedback from others, you will be better placed to then decide which things to focus on to become more effective and impactful.

Extend your perspective - gather feedback

Self-reflection requires your own consideration of how you are performing, and is bettered when you extend the view to also incorporate how others perceive you. Seeking feedback is critical in gaining a more comprehensive perspective of your performance.

But don’t wait for feedback. Too many people tend to operate with the approach that I must be doing the right thing as I haven’t been told to do things differently. This passive approach leaves doubt as to the impact which you might in fact be having. Recognise that people may not have your needs front of mind, and may not be proactive in providing you feedback. No doubt they will have some feedback for you when asked, so your role is to seek it.

Ask your teams and other leaders to provide you with feedback regarding your leadership. Pose questions such as

- What do I currently do as a leader that I should continue to do?

- What should I do differently to be more effective as a leader?

- How has my leadership changed your capacity to act in your role?

Savour the responses and clarify the messaging so that the feedback is useful in guiding your thinking towards changes to your behaviours or cognitions.

For instance, if you are told that you need to have a bigger impact as a leader, ask questions to unpack what this might mean. Ask for examples of what this might look like, how it might be played out, or who does this well so you can observe and learn from the feedback. Ask for more specific feedback to help you understand the suggestion, and continue to mine the feedback so that you are able to comprehend and assess it.

Continue to evolve

By broadening your frame of insight and self-awareness, you can evolve from a good leader, to a great leader. And by developing the discipline to actively and regularly engage as a reflective leader, you will be on the road towards becoming a remarkable leader; one who is truly inspiring.


Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page