What Makes A True Leader?

This conversation happened recently with one of my clients during her Executive Coaching sessions. In the midst of our conversation, the focus shifted to Leadership as she made a remark “He was a True Leader!” about her Business Head. The conversation went like this …

Me : Which phase of your career did you enjoy the most?

She : (Mentioned the time frame when she and her colleagues reported to that particular Business Head.)

Me : Why is it that you call him a True Leader? Why not efficient, capable, intelligent etc?

She : I have seen several people who are efficient at getting their job done but this person was different. In addition to success of the various projects in his Business Unit, he took care to see that he valued each of his colleagues. There was a human element in his Leadership Style.

The work schedules were grueling, but we would still not feel the pressure as we did not have other fears like fear of being manipulated or the fear of uncertainty. Also, those who worked under his tutelage followed the same principles and hence it was imbibed by the entire unit.

The above interaction made me introspect about True Leadership. Is it an inborn quality or are True Leaders made? Do we look for such a Leader or do we become one ourselves? Is it a choice to become one or an esteemed responsibility? I decided to share my thoughts on some of the qualities of  what does make a True Leader

Passion Is Everything:

Passion for the job is an invisible and a constant force which drives employees to give their best! When one is truly passionate about the job in hand, it acts as the much -needed energy and enthusiasm booster.

Also, passion is contagious in a good way though! When a leader in the top rung of the organizational ladder is passionate about his/her job, the others get inspired too and a positive aura spreads in the workplace. This indirectly has a very positive impact on the minds of the employees and they begin to enjoy the work.



As one goes up the Corporate Ladder, he/she automatically becomes a role model employees look up to. Hence, it is of utmost importance to monitor one’s thoughts and actions on a regular basis.

A quick recollection of how the day went – the behavior patterns one followed during employee interactions, the approach one followed while managing a critical issue, awareness of certain strengths and weaknesses – all these will help plan for the next day, thereby enabling one to face the next day even better than the previous one. While intelligence, efficiency and other required qualities helps one reach the top, self-awareness helps one sustain at the top.



It is well-known that having foresightedness with respect to Goals is absolutely essential to succeed. Being aware of the “BIG PICTURE” helps us be aware of the pros and cons of our approach, anticipate few factors, which could possibly hinder the progress and also help us sustain in industry in the long run.

However, a True Leader has an edge over others in this area. They see the BIG PICTURE keeping the team in mind. He/she also makes the employees understand about their contribution in the long run. When employees come to know that they are valued and also play a prominent role in the organizational success, the much-needed motivation to perform at their level best automatically Kicks in.

The leader recognizes the employees’ strengths and nurture it in such a way that it benefits the employees as well as the organization. This in my opinion results in employees working for the organization for longer periods of time.


The Knowledge Database:

When one gets a thought, “I know everything!” that’s the end of his/her learning curve. If there is one thing people look up to in a leader, it is knowledge. Be it in the vast fields of Technology, Finance, Manufacturing, HR and so on, expanding one’s knowledge is a must.

Now, you might ask me “Satish! What is special in this? Knowledge is only a product of intelligence. Where does True Leadership come into picture here?”

You are absolutely right! However, the answer is “It does come into picture.” A true leader learns from 3 sources –  theoretical knowledge, own experiences and other’s experiences. All these are not only learnt but also applied at the right time in the right manner.


Crisis Management:

Any industry can go through its ups & down and this situation, actually acts as a filter to identify true leaders.

The Leadership style of such people even in such challenging situations will not be survival-based but rather ethics-based.

At such challenging times, a leader gives priority to people first, than anything else as they are aware that the situation will turn for the better now or later but great employees & teams once lost cannot be gained back.

Few tough decisions have to  be taken, few heads may roll in the form of lay-offs but still, the way the situation is managed will be more humane and also provide hope for the employees thereby not damaging their careers in the long run.


The Personal Connect:

One of my clients joined a new company and had been to their Headquarters for training. The very next day, it so happened that the company CEO passed by in the hallway and saw my client.  This is what she told me during one of our coaching sessions – “Satish! He is the CEO of a company which has 6000 plus employees with around 9 centers across the world. I did not even expect him to glance at me, let alone speak to me.

He, on the other hand enquired about my previous experience, welcomed me to his company and wished me Good Luck! I know very well that this is business but what made me happy was the human connect. It clearly showed that he valued each employee. Throughout the tenure in that company, I observed that value imbibed by each employee working there. “

This is what is meant by a personal connect. True leaders empathize with the employees, understand how they want to be treated and do so.


Is True Leadership A Mere Skill?

If you ask me “Satish! Are true leaders born or made?”, I would say “Both! Few true leaders are born and the rest are made!”

Just like charity begins at home, True Leadership too begins at home. Few are fortunate enough to grow up in such an environment that the leadership qualities are deeply ingrained in their personality.

Work and Home are two totally different entities. Agree! However, certain qualities (discipline, self-awareness, empathy etc) required to run a company or a home are more or less the same.

I would also say that the rest are made. The only requirement is the willingness to become one. True leadership is definitely not a mere skill but an esteemed responsibility. The journey of becoming one starts as a habit which then turns into a deeply imbibed quality which later becomes one’s personality.


If you are someone who is interested to work on yourself in becoming a True Leader, then do click on the below link

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Here I will be able to spend some time with you on your biggest goals and challenges and help you move in the right direction in no time.

If you are an executive in an organization and are looking at “Employee Transformation” then you will be glad to hear that I do “Strategic Intervention” personally for your core team. By the end of this intervention your team will be able to

1.Work on their Leadership Skills and create a clear Road map for their team

2.Develop a powerful belief system.

3.Work on their own blue print for becoming a “True Leader”

You can reach out to my team by sending out a mail to the following email id enquiry@satishrao.in One of my team members, will be happy to reach out to you and discuss about these “Strategic Interventions” which can be customized to your team & your organisation goals.

Thank you for reading my post. I regularly write about Leadership, Peak Performance, and Health & Wellness.

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