Leadership Is All Around Us - Core qualities - Proteus Leadership
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Leadership Is All Around Us

A great deal has been and will continue to be written about Leadership, given it is a topic that can be discussed, debated, and challenged in the many environments in which we move during our life’s journey.

We are first impacted by effective leadership during our early childhood, where our family unit, in particular, our parents, guardians and our extended family establish standards of behaviour which require certain actions from us.

School, work, sporting, social and other environments are the next layer of influence. Libraries are full of books about Leadership at varying levels and many offer constructive advice. Often we are seeking what formulas work best for attaining “peak performance, optimum efficiencies for business, in addition to accelerated growth and development of people whom we interact with, be they individuals and/or groups”.

During my thirty years of involvement in High Performance systems and programs, I have developed a view that leadership is all around us, each and every day. This fact offers us opportunities to learn and progress our own personal development as “leaders” in the areas in which we are involved.

Common Definition:

The behavioural process of having a commanding authority or influencing individuals and groups towards achieving set goals.

Importantly, leaders are able to consistently enlist certain actions and behaviours from those they lead, that add value, create and sustain a positive environment.

What is expected of great leaders?

Great leaders of teams make people better while leading by example, and that example is conducting themselves with class, passion, and determination that inspires people to rise up and better themselves, be it as a competitor, work colleague or employee, or just as a human being.

Key attributes and competencies expected of leaders:

Must possess the qualities they are trying to incorporate into their respective team environment.
Serve as influential role models for integrity, accountability and trust.
Excel in the art of communication and motivation, mutual respect, instilling confidence and enthusiasm.

Well known C’s of Leadership

In team sport we often apply the four C’s of leadership that are well known… Confident, Competent, Composed, and Character. However, having been privileged to have worked and interacted with some amazing people over many years, who also happen to be very influential leaders, I know there is a fifth C… Consistency of Character!

Core qualities: a foundation of successful leadership

  • Principled
  • Authentic
  • Responsible
  • Purposeful
  • Composed
  • Open
  • Humble

These qualities measure a leader’s “being”. They represent their beliefs and feelings as to how actions should be carried out.

Leaders draw upon these qualities to drive what they do, how they do it and they form the basis of why they will hold others accountable to agreed behaviours.

Leaders with strong core qualities will deliver messages consistently

  • Leaders do the right thing, at the right time for the right reasons
  • Leaders take responsibility for their actions, retaining a no excuses mentality, even if they mess up
  • Leaders will stand behind their decisions, using measurable processes to validate why and what they do
  • Leaders are strategic, and will empower and encourage those they lead to give their best through their actions
  • Leaders will be honest, truthful and show genuine care for others
  • Leaders will be composed, measured and resourceful.

The synergies between sport and business have been discussed for decades and we learn from both as we cross-fertilise and share what we know.

Not much of this will be new to you, but hopefully by reading and reflecting you are able to clarify that you’re on the right path!

By Jan Stirling
Ex-Australian women’s basketball player and coach.


Proteus Leadership is one of Australia’s premier leadership training and development companies. Proteus Leadership provides leadership courses and management training to a range of industries and assists organisations to build positive workplace cultures, implement change and Create Great Leaders. Proteus also facilitates a range of world-class management courses, workshops, conferences and events across Australia and beyond with the sole purpose of bringing leaders together to connect and grow.

“Our core purpose is to Create Great Leaders that will in turn build Great companies and develop Great teams.”