What Separates Great Leaders From Good Leaders

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A great leaders success requires extensive efforts and professionalism. Being a great leader an individual must focus, have consistency, obtain discipline and have dedication. Great leaders are easily distinguished from good leaders by their skills and measure of dedication. A great leader is willing invest their time, do the work necessary and make sacrifices. A great leader has the ability to think clearly, sort through clutter and anticipate well. This is called critical thinking skills, which are separated, in six key skills, which are interpretation, analysis, evaluation, inference, explanation and self-regulation.

Characteristic Of A Good And Great Leader

  • Good leaders make assumptions/Great leaders asks questions.
  • Good leaders wait for feedback/Great leaders solicits feedback.
  • Good leaders find reasons for problems/Great leaders find the solutions for problems.
  • Good leaders take notes/Great leaders take action.
  • Good leaders work at a job/Great leaders invest their lives in what they do.
  • Good leaders lead through declarations/Great leaders lead through influence.
  • Good leaders get people to believe in them/Great leaders inspire others to believe in themselves.

How A Great Leader Is Considered And Judged

  • How well and consistently someone obtains or accomplishes results.
  • The individual has the ability to conform to accepted standards, but also can redefines the standards.
  • The great leaders passion, determination and perseverance inspires others to produce at different levels, which gives more than commonly accepted.
  • The individual manages others exceptionally and creates an environment that produces outstanding performances.
  • The great leader is humble, which enables them to understand their job, duties and obligations.
  • They have the ability to know their customers inside and out.

Becoming A Great Leader

Many great leaders have simply gone to school and improved on their trade. With other great leaders, their leadership was created from the outcome of hard work, experience, perspective and dedication. As an individually furthers their leadership skills they will recognize pivot points and transitions that will create a certain rhythm and balance. As a great leader you will be able to find purpose, put people first, develop awareness, defer from complexity and get personal. When you have clearly defined the purpose this will fuel your passion and work ethic, which will give you a competitive advantage.

As a great leader developing awareness in all aspects of self, organizationally, culturally, contextually and emotionally will give you a strong upper hand. This will allow you to avoid the traps; gaps and blind spots that can be easily begin a problem. Being a great leader you must be willing to change your mind, which will help to keep from the lack of growth and development that can occur. Defer from complexity this can slow developments and growth of your business. Also getting personal is a great method to show your customers that you care for their satisfaction. Getting personal by displaying empathy, kindness, compassion is a great strength to build your business further.

Til’ Next Time,


Kyle Nelson

22 Responses to What Separates Great Leaders From Good Leaders

  1. Hi Kyle,

    Your description of a great leader is right on target! There is a difference between a good leader and a great on as you pointed out here.

    Putting others first is imperative and being humble. One would only gain respect if these characteristics are genuine because to lead, we must have a passion for others to succeed. That has to be the first priority.

    Dedication and constant learning is another sign of a great leader. To lead we must be students ourselves and share our knowledge. We also need a good ear to listen to people.

    donna merrill recently posted…Taking Time For Your SelfMy Profile

  2. Kyle: Thanks for the research that went into this extensive and well thought out list. Would recommend Maxwell’s work on ‘Levels of Leadership’ for additional insights. Out of curiosity, are there any leaders you have worked with that meet your definition of great? Thank You, Thank YOU, THANK YOU. prp
    Peter Pocklington recently posted…Is YOUR Canvas StretchingMy Profile

  3. Dawn Golden says:

    We should all strive to be great leaders and also open-minded learners and students of sociology. Our interactions with others are so very powerful! I strive to be a great leader to my teams and I find it very rewarding!
    Dawn Golden recently posted…SPAM: New Canadian Law in 2014My Profile

  4. Your thoughts of what makes a great leader are right on….I think a great leader not only asks questions, they are great listeners and can pull the information out of their customers by asking great questions….Asking and Listening are huge in my book….Thanks Kyle….Smokey
    Gregory Smokey Bowen recently posted…I Have Some New Stuff Happening Here….Take A Look!My Profile

  5. David Ryan says:

    Great leaders are hard to come by. That’s why they’re precious.
    David Ryan recently posted…thecalculatr.comMy Profile

  6. These are a great list of traits of great leaders. Certainly, we need to work toward developing those characteristics if we are to move beyond the mediocrity of “good” and enter the circle of the “great” leaders.
    David Merrill 101 recently posted…Everything Big Is Small AgainMy Profile

  7. Kyle, great post on leadership. Your points on leaders and great leaders is almost managers and leaders. It is so important to work more on yourself than on your job to quote Jim Rohn. Thanks for sharing Andy
    Andy Lockhart recently posted…Spend Spend SpendMy Profile

  8. I like your comparison’s. I spent 25 years in the military and a lot of that time was leading, training, and developing Soldiers. Many say leaders are born but I firmly believe that is not true.

    I have worked with some mediocre Soldiers that were developed into superb leaders. One attribute that I have found all great leaders have in common is the ability and know-how to accept feedback (to include criticism). That is one attribute that makes theman even better leader in the future. Thanks for sharing.
    Nathaniel Kidd recently posted…Frugal Living Tips – How to Save on Your Electric BillMy Profile

  9. I.B. Nosey says:

    A well written, well explained article that distinguishes between the two!
    I.B. Nosey recently posted…Diane Bator Dreams It Up with I.B. NoseyMy Profile

  10. Kyle,

    That comparison of good and great leaders reveals why some people succeed and other struggle. The qualities of a great leader are similar to the qualities of a great mentor, coach or therapist I was particularly struck by the first two – a great leader asks questions and solicits feedback. And a great leader solves problems, takes action and helps people to believe in themselves.

    Thanks for helping me to differentiate between the two and continue to aspire to be a great leader, mentor, therapist.

    Dr. Erica
    Dr. Erica Goodstone recently posted…Relationship Success – Look Forward Not BackMy Profile

  11. Really excellent points Kyle. I can honestly say I haven’t worked for many good leaders let along great, though a couple do stand out. For me one of the characteristics of a good leader is they set the bar by example – which I think is your point about leading through influence. These are people who make you want to do better not just for yourself, but for them as well. Thanks for the inspiration!
    Marquita Herald recently posted…The Reality Behind the Art of ProcrastinationMy Profile

  12. William Amis says:

    Yes, great leaders only will realize they are, by the feedback they get from others. They, are humble and never seek to be in the spotlight.

    Most of the time. Great leaders are in the background when recognition time is handed out. Knowing that they are at their best from seeing the development of those they continue to still consult.

    Thank you for this outline. It makes us all feel and think to stride to be better at service.
    William Amis recently posted…Establish, Look and Be A Company!My Profile

  13. Hi Kyle,

    I love the way you distinguish good leaders from great leaders. I am reading “Start With Why” by Simon Sinek at the moment. I have a big why and Simon explains how great leaders inspire everyone into action by starting with their why rather than the how or the what.
    Rachel Lavern@Online Biz Boomer Babe recently posted…How Thoughts Can Sabotage Your BusinessMy Profile

  14. Excellent comparison, Kyle! Although there’s nothing wrong with working at a job while learning the other skills, until one CAN make a living at what he loves doing.

    I want to be a great leader. I can see where my work is cut out for me in a number of areas. :)
    Willena Flewelling recently posted…Baby StepsMy Profile

  15. Sarupa Shah says:

    An inspiring post Kyle… you must be a great leader ;)
    Sarupa Shah recently posted…What are you selling?My Profile

  16. Holly says:

    Definitely a great article comparing the quality of a great versus good leader.. I often wonder what I can do do be even better… questioning and listening and drawing from others is important…

  17. Kyle,
    the list you have compiled make sooooo much sense.. thanks so much.

    Love the list of all characteristic that great leaders have.. I love to say that I have all of them (hahah :-) but I know is not that simple :-)

    I may not have al of them and I am working on day after day, task after task.. and I know I will be improving at every step I take.

    Working toward developing all those characteristics is a great motivation for me because I love to be above mediocrity for my own good, and I found that once I out of mediocrity, the rest become easier..

    I love to be a great leader not so much to lead anyone.. but for my self to feel great at all times because doing less than great, t=does not make me feel good.. so I always strive for more and better things ahead.

    Thanks so much for the inspiration to be and do more to become a better leader.
    nick catricala recently posted…A Lifetime Commitment -Part 5 of 6My Profile

  18. Justin says:

    This is extremely applicable to anything marketing, because when you market to an audience there must be a huge leadership aspect in your approach.
    The difference between a good marketer and a great marketer is definitely the difference between a good leader and a great leader.
    I seriously need to bookmark this page! Thanks for the great post :)
    - Justin

  19. Hi Kyle, there’s a big difference between being a good leader and a great leader isn’t there? The good leaders I know learned from experience, I don’t believe that all leadership skills can be learned purely by education only. We all need “work experience” to achieve “great things”.
    Julieanne van Zyl recently posted…How to Change Styles on your WordPress Blog – for beginnersMy Profile

  20. Mark says:

    An extremely informative list Kyle!

    Your initial seven characteristics of a good vs great leader are extremely eye opening!

    You really articulate the subtle, but extremely important differences between the two.

    And it definitely helps me (going forward), to be able to spot and separate the two!

    Mark recently posted…Three Extremely Critical Business Lessons Jogging During A Severe Rainstorm Taught Me!My Profile

  21. Harrison says:

    Great leaders embrace change, and create an environment that lets those they lead grow and prosper too.

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