What Does it Take to be a Great Leader?


If there is one thing the world will forever be in need of, it’s great leaders. Great leaders are supposed to be one-of-a-kind people who are courageous, determined, and resourceful enough to successfully spearhead revolutionary ideas forward. Great leaders must inspire and create change.

Although it sounds like the world’s responsibilities will organically fall on top of great leaders’ shoulders, we must keep in mind that it is our responsibility to promote, cultivate, and prepare these same great leaders. However, according to BCG’s leadership expert Roselinde Torres, we are failing to do so.

During her TED talk, Torres talked about a study she conducted to measure the effective use of leadership development programs in numerous companies. Out of the 4000 companies she surveyed, “58% reported significant talent gaps for critical leadership goals.” In other words, despite all the training and resources made available to their employees, more than half of the companies in the study failed to prepare great leaders.

After analyzing her results and noticing an increasing pattern of failing leadership development programs, Torres took it upon herself to gather more information and ultimately define what makes a great leader in the 21st century. She travelled around the world to learn about effective and ineffective leadership practices. She studied how culture, environment, and current circumstances shaped different kinds of leaders. When she resumed her travels, she was able to distill the following three key questions that can truly address what make a great leader nowadays. Take a look:

Where are you looking to anticipate change?

Great leaders should constantly be looking for potential discontinuities in trends. They should continuously study when and where changes can take place and be prepared for those changes.

What is your diversity measure of your network?

Great leaders recognize the power of diversity. They must possess the capacity to relate and collaborate with people that are different from them. Increased diversity in your work environment can be directly linked to greater levels of pattern identification and solutions.

Are you courageous enough to abandon the past?

Great leaders dare to be different. They understand that sticking to traditional values will eventually stunt their growth. The key to success lies in being able to evolve with the times and the world around you.