What makes a GREAT business leader?

The primary purpose of M2MD, our group for Managing Directors, CEOs, General Managers,  Managing Partners and now a limited number of third sector leaders, is to help our members to be inspiring leaders on the basis the inspiring leadership leads to improved business performance.

I was therefore interested to come across a well written paper by Whitehead Mann, the executive headhunting firm.  Although their focus is clearly the Chief Executive of the listed company, I believe the comments they make apply to all business leaders, and with the exception of a couple of financial aspects to the leader of any organisation, including third sector leaders such as the Head Teacher of a large school, the Chief Executive of a Housing Association or the Chief Executive of a Charity.

Three factors that I believe contribute to a leader being a great leader are having a clear and inspiring vision, always behaving with integrity and recruiting, retaining and developing other great people. In my ten years as a Managing Director and Chief Executive of Medium sized businesses and longer period as a SME Managing Director and General Manager I’ve tried to behave in this way, and the Whitehead Mann paper says much the same.  They list ten ‘X Factors’ competencies that their research suggests are needed to go ‘from Good to Great’ and I’ve summarised them below for your benefit:

A great business leader …

has a vision of where the company is going, not just of the next year’s financials

delivers financial performance, appreciating this is always necessary – but alone is not sufficient

recruits, retains and motivates other talented people

is smart

has an eye for detail without losing sight of the bigger picture

has a realistic view concerning time-frames

has integrity

is not afraid to stamp their own style on an organisation

has energy and resilience

understands that there is no single model

Bob Bradley

Bob is a specialist in running high value added service businesses, having run five such businesses as General Manager, Managing Director or Chief Executive. His last employed role was as Chief Executive of a £16M, 200 person family owned business having previously been Chief Executive of an AIM listed company for which he raised £5M funding and which he grew from £4M to £12M in three years through two acquisitions and organic growth, and a corporate PLC subsidiary where he was Managing Director responsible for delivering £10M profit on £45M turnover through 450 staff.

Bob is now following a portfolio career providing entrepreneurial business leaders with mentoring and coaching around business leadership, business growth, merger integration and exit planning.

Core to his portfolio is MD2MD. Having experienced for himself the value of having a strong sounding board of fellow Managing Directors he founded MD2MD in 2004 to provide groups of business leaders with a confidential environment within which they can support and challenge each other to raise their game as leaders and by doing so improve the success of their organisation.

MD2MD membership

  • You meet your peer group privately for structured confidential conversations about real business challenges. You meet online for 90 minutes every 3 weeks.
  • You attend one of a selection of open workshops led by top professional speakers sharing best practice on a wide range of leadership topics.
  • You join our annual conference LeaderFest and our annual ‘Retreat to advance’.