It’s damned hard to describe what qualities you need to be a leader – it depends on the person, it depends on the circumstances. Yet you always tend to know very well when people in an organisation you work in or with are not displaying the necessary leadership traits; I’ve worked in enough places in my few years of career experience to see this. I’ve also had my own trials in a leadership role as President of JEF.
But how to do you better crystallise these feelings that something is not quite right? Well, the authors of Why Should Anyone Be Led by You? What It Takes to Be an Authentic Leader (a book I own but haven’t delved into yet), Rob Goffee and Gareth Jones, try and list some common characteristics of what to look for in a leader in this excellent short article. Their website is here, and details of the book at Amazon are here.
When you’ve digested that, ask yourself whether Gordon Brown, David Miliband or Alan Johnson seem capable of having those traits. Strikes me that two of the three of those men miss on a number of the criteria.