Mark McLeod: Six essential beliefs for good leadership

Every time I board an aircraft, and I am about to take off, the pre-flight address always reminds me of an essential part of leadership.

The address says that a mask will drop from the ceiling and make sure it is securely fitted before you help others around you.

What I draw from that is that for me to be effective in showing any leadership to the people around me, I must be breathing first, comfortable in my own skin and secure in the fact that I can navigate the way forward.

So often I see poor leaders passing their frustrations on to their teams and creating dynamics that are virtually impossible for good leadership to flourish.  

My second belief is that a great leader has a higher belief of the person underneath them than the person has of themselves.

Confirmation bias is such a powerful force, and if I think someone is a fool, they will probably turn up that way.

Alternatively, having a higher belief and want for the person means often they will fill that gap of where they are and where I believe they can be.

Great leaders have great belief in their people. 

The next is vision. I have often believed that the role of the leader is to be very clear about where the organisation is heading, how they want their people to be part of that journey and instil a belief that the destination is not a dream but a reality.

All the great leaders that I have worked with were very clear on that vision and often involved their people in how they should, as a team, go about tackling that journey.  

The next step is honesty.

Honesty can sometimes be misunderstood as directness or being blunt.

I believe that directness and honesty are only about one thing, and that is care.

When I was a young leader, I didn’t fully understand how verbalising what I was thinking in my head was kind or compassionate.

While telling the truth would often set that person free, trigger improvement and, in some cases, give them the understanding that they were not the right person for this journey.

Great leaders are honest and great leaders are carers. 

The next one for me is the way that you praise.

We have the belief in our company that you praise in public and you take the big concerns into privacy.

You would think this is fairly self-explanatory and that chastising someone in public rarely gets you anywhere, other than in a difficult position. 

The last belief is just to be a good human.

I have a strong belief that good always wins.

Be kind, be caring and be understanding as the bedrock of your leadership, and you will be amazed at how far you will get as people. 

I am often asked if people are born leaders.

Maybe some are, but I believe most learn to be leaders.

They learn from their mistakes and go on a journey of self-improvement.

If you understand that leadership is not a destination but a journey, more often than not, you will be on the right track.

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Mark McLeod

Mark McLeod is the Ray White Group's Chief Strategy Officer for Real Estate. He works alongside agents and businesses across Australia, helping them reach their ultimate potential to achieve success.