Pom in Oz: A true leader has the confidence to make the hard choices

Derek GoforthMidwest Times
A good boss leads by example.
Camera IconA good boss leads by example. Credit: Jupiterimages/Getty Images/Pixland

During my 30 years in the workforce, I have worked for, and with, some great people.

I have also had the pleasure of being led and mentored by some great people.

But I have never really paid much thought to what makes a true great leader.

That was until this week.

Everyone has “bad” days at work, tough days at the office, so to speak.

But it’s rare that a working week would have been as challenging as the one we have had at my place of work.

I am not going to detail the whys and wherefores, but it has shown me without an inch of doubt what a great leader is, what qualities they possess and how they go about inspiring and leading a team of people.

Firstly, confidence. A great leader exudes this by the bucketload. I never really understood why this was so vital until this week. But when things are tough — like really tough — you need a leader you can look to, to look up to.

When you feel yourself crumbling, your legs are turning to sand and you don’t know where to turn, you look to that person who is calm, collected and confident. Their confidence comes from a solid faith in their beliefs and what their beliefs are rooted in.

They know how to delegate.

A solid leader often has a great leadership “team” and that is most certainly the case for my place of work, from the deputies to the “assistant” to all the others who shoulder some of the burdens of a leadership role.

However, when push comes to shove, it’s the big boss that guides them, too. Delegation is an art form only few master.

They make the hard choices.

My boss is responsible for the livelihoods of dozens of people.

He oversees the wellbeing of hundreds and is the head of a large, complex community.

Hard choices are made, unpopular choices are made.

Choices that ruffle feathers, that get people’s backs up, that shake things up. But the choices are made because ultimately, it’s the right thing to do.

True leaders talk the talk and walk the walk. Sadly, I have seen many bosses who fail to do this.

A great boss is not afraid to get their hands dirty — ever.

They know that investment in people is the key to success.

I guess when you work in education, it becomes second nature that your greatest asset is the staff.

To have a boss who so clearly realises that and acknowledges that is refreshing, to say the least.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, they have a clear, concise and achievable vision.

I know where my school is headed, I know what direction we are facing and I am confident in my part on the journey.

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