What Makes a Great Leader?

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.”

– John Quincy Adams


As the head of KGI Design Group, I truly feel my role is to inspire. To inspire our staff, to energize and inspire our vendors, and to ultimately provide inspired, strategically focused, beautiful, effective marketing materials to our clients.


While we’re celebrating Presidents’ Day this weekend, we are honoring the great leaders of our country, with Washington and Lincoln as the most recognized and inspirational. Like the President, a great business leader provides direction for a company through its mission and vision. Employees need to know which direction the company is headed and who to follow to reach the destination. Leadership involves showing people how to effectively perform their responsibilities to reach personal and company goals.


We enjoyed this article by Deseri Garcia and are happy to share this inspired list of 9 things that great Presidents and leaders have in common:

  1. Provide clarity: Being clear about what needs to be done – and concisely expressing business visions and goals – is vital for effective leadership.
  2. Listen and allow others to be heard: Effective listeners strengthen relationships, build trust, improve teamwork, and show employees that they care.
  3. Value conversations: Great leaders facilitate genuine conversations – meaningful human-to-human connections – and bring people together to achieve goals.
  4. Model desired behaviors: You can have inspirational quotes and company values framed on your wall, but modeled behavior will always be more effective.
  5. Encourage healthy conflict: Powerful leaders allow different views to be presented and shared and know that disagreements can open pathways to innovation and higher-performing teams.
  6. Create an environment of emotional safety: To foster a healthy cognitive and emotional culture in which individuals feel safe expressing their feelings and views without stigma or shame.
  7. Have high levels of self-awareness: Leaders that are not self-aware make decisions and behave in ways that can lead to negative consequences.
  8. Empower others: Successful business leaders give employees the freedom they need to come up with innovative ideas, initiatives, or processes on their own.
  9. They welcome feedback: Giving and receiving feedback can feel uncomfortable, but failing to do so could seriously hurt the company or organization.


So while you’re enjoying the extended weekend in honor of Presidents’ Day – a day to look back and learn from our nation’s leaders – how can you improve your own leadership skills to benefit your company?


While it’s the American dream that anyone can become President, it takes exceptional qualities to leave a lasting legacy from which your countrymen and business leaders can learn. Moreover, these lessons go beyond politics and are just as applicable today as they were centuries ago!


God Bless America!

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