The Key Ingredients To A Great Leader

The Chemistry of Leadership is a delicate balance between what is in a leader’s psychological make up, and those skills and expertise which if they are not present can be developed or learned. When I say “leadership is in your DNA,” I mean your “psychological being”, not necessarily in your genes.

In gourmet cooking there are many recipes with similar ingredients in different quantities, all which can result in an award winning meal, and the same can be said for the chemistry of leadership.ingridientsleaders

A great leader might have some of these, most of them, or all of the following ingredients, in various proportion or intensity.


asks questions and listens.  Curiosity leads to a thirst for learning. Curiosity facilitates thinking ahead (being curious about the future) which results in being able to solve problems before they happen, or even preventing them. Curiosity gives one the insight to understand the reality of now (see it like it is) and thereby know just how to adapt to a changing world. In other words, a leader will have the flexibility ingredient.


is about respecting others, mentoring, helping people, wanting to make a positive difference. This “caring” mindset of a leader will nurture honesty and transparency as they look inward, and in their relationship with others. Even leaders deemed ruthless by the other side, may have an element of caring for people, even if they are only compassionate for their own. 


in this context it is a willingness to go where no man (or woman) has gone before; it means thinking outside the box, being innovative, inspiring, empowering and motivating others to go down the path of “adventure” to accomplish a challenge or goal.

The following attributes can usually be learned, even developed, whether by observation or under a mentor but as often as not they are found in leaders in one form or other, as part of their psychological makeup.

Being a great communicator

A leader listens… not only do they listen but they hear.  A great leader asks many questions, considers all options and makes decisions, which are the most beneficial for the team, group, company or organization.  There are many facets to being a great communicator and many ways in which this is shown. Not all leaders are great orators, or have a compelling video presence, yet their message comes through loud and clear in other ways, such as in their writing, collaborating with a team, negotiating or speaking one on one.

Being confident

A confident leader has well defined values, they know what they know and also what they don’t know; so being humble about what they don’t know, asking questions and asking for help actually increases people’s perception of a leader’s confidence.

Being committed

Those in leadership roles are some of the most committed people I know. They are focused on the task at hand, interested in people (rather that trying to be interesting themselves) and are implementers who can be relied on to get the job done alone, or with a team.

Being resourceful

A resourceful leader knows both how to use the available resources and create resources that are needed to further an endeavor or solve a problem or challenge. It’s a matter of finding exactly what is needed at any given time, and the ability to use it efficiently. This applies both to material things and people as a resource, but where people are utilized it’s not “use”, instead it is  “inspire” and “empower” people to be effective.

Being Consistent

Confidence and respect cannot be attained without leadership being consistent.  This means consistent in meeting expectations, not in terms of being consistently ordinary or boring. In fact many great leaders are considered unpredictable because they are innovative, they suddenly and often come up with new ideas; this is actually a quite usual (consistent) attribute of a great leader

Being able to delegate

This can be difficult to learn, but without the ability to delegate even the ablest of leaders fall down; because no one can do everything themselves. Who to delegate, how to match abilities to tasks is what makes the chemistry of effective teams or groups; and this happens when everyone is totally committed to their roles in an operation or organization A part of the delegation scenario is recognizing and rewarding those who succeed!


CASUDI aka Caroline Di Diego
Caroline Di Diego aka CASUDI is a Social Media whisperer helping Brands, Communities and individuals find their social voice. She is the creator of the successful Entrepreneurs Questions blog; an effective self-help resource for Entrepreneurs. She is an award winning documentary film-maker, using New-Media to tell people's stories with impact. Esse Group, boutique consultancy has been helping companies move from concept/chaos to fundable and or profitable for over 25 years. INCLINEDESIGN focuses on Architectural Design solutions. She is a Co-Founder of the non-profit BankOnRain, solving the global water crisis with an available resource, THINK RAIN! . She is an avid guest blogger
CASUDI aka Caroline Di Diego
CASUDI aka Caroline Di Diego




  • April 1, 2014


    The good news, if you find yourself lacking in some or all of these qualities, is that you can use this list as a blueprint to get you going in the right direction, regardless of where you are you in your leadership career.  Pick the one you are weakest in and start building today.

    Great post!

  • April 1, 2014


    Leadership Keys to Success!  Love them all.  Great resource and reminder, Caroline.

  • April 1, 2014


    One major final ingredient got missed here ~ “the binding energy of the chemistry of a great Leader, which in my opinion is VISION” Perhaps this is the most important ingredient!

  • April 1, 2014


    davidallenspell great suggestion ~ pick the ingredient where you are the weakest, also take the one where you are the strongest and develop it fuirther. Thanks so much for your comment.

  • April 1, 2014


    CASUDI …and passion, and mission, and execution.  🙂

  • April 1, 2014


    CASUDI ! This is great! And I do completely agree with David. The best part about and one of the most important ingredients in making a GREAT leader is the self-study and understanding one has for him/her self. When we admit, discover, recognize and understand our weaknesses, we can work on them! It is really THAT simple. The hard part is doing the admitting and self-searching. Deeply and honestly. But it is only that, that will allow us to become stronger and in turn help others to do the same.

  • April 1, 2014


    AlaskaChickBlog – Analyzing our strengths is just as important.  Always be examining your life, that’s what makes it all worth it. 🙂

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