We’re constantly being told how important good leadership is. Our leaders, whether in business, politics or culture, wield tremendous power and influence over our lives. Most of us have an intuitive sense of when we are being led well, and when we are not. But what are the actual, real world benefits of good leadership? How much of a difference do those who we think of as ‘good leaders’ make for their teams? Here at Holborn Assets, we decided to take a look.

Good leaders… lead

So, this maybe seems an obvious one. But what this is really about is change – the impact that leaders are able to have on their teams and the way that they lead them through the most important changes they face as a group. To make this happen, good leaders also act as interpreters for their teams, looking at the changes that are happening around them and to them, and then making them make sense for their people. We see this in every kind of good leader, in business, in politics and in culture. And this ability to translate change into something meaningful for your team, and then galvanise them to act in a way that makes the change one that has a positive outcome for everyone, is a very real and fundamentally important benefit of good leadership. In a 2013 report by the experts at Aon, they found that creating a two-way dialogue between teams and their leaders was one of the top five most important drivers of engagement for them. Good leaders recognise this and create this dialogue intuitively.

Good leaders create a hunger for success

What lies behind this hunger? For most teams, it’s a goal, an aspiration or a vision. Again, this is where great leadership comes in. The very best leaders are able not just to have the strategic vision their business needs to achieve its goals, but are then able to convey this to their teams and use it as a rallying point for group action. Good leadership should always generate practical, positive actions that move the business forward. But as well as this, the very best leaders also set a standard (most effectively by their own example) that directly impacts everyone else’s behaviour in a positive way. When teams see their leaders setting certain standards and working in a particular way, they then tend to calibrate their own standards to this ideal model.

Good leaders create connections

Business is all about relationships – and we believe that good leadership is what actually creates many of these kinds of connections. How? Well, on the team level, leaders lift people out of a mindset in which they think only about themselves, and their own behaviours – and instead instil a practical sense of group responsibility – to each other and to the wider business. The secret to this is the way in which these leaders help individuals to understand how their role is bigger than just what they do – how their actions, their attitudes and behaviours all are fundamentally interdependent – and rely on every other person’s role within an organisation.

Good leadership, in a very practical sense, creates this awareness, and breaks down the barriers between people to forge something far more powerful than individual ambition – a sense of common purpose.