The Eight Characteristics of a Great Leader

We recently met a 42-year-old pharmaceutical employee who was promoted to commercial director of a European pharmaceutical company in Japan. In Japan, there is often a positive correlation between age and seniority. This gentleman was promoted because of his exceptional leadership ability. What are the characteristics of a great leader in Japan’s Pharmaceutical industry? Through qualitative observations, based on over 1,000 face-to-face interviews, Morunda KK has compiled the following eight characteristics of great leaders.

Read More

1. Great leaders come in all shapes and sizes. The movie Money Ball (a true story based on Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane) is about an attempt to put together a baseball club on a budget by employing analysis to acquire new players. In it, the management of the Oakland A’s focuses on the “look” of a successful ball player. The management made false assumptions based on preconceptions of what successful player should look like! Just as in baseball, success in business is about achieving goals and managing teams to achieve those goals. Great leaders focus on achievements and not on personal qualities such as education, gender, or ethnic background. The greatest predictor of future success is past performance.

2. Great leaders have character, and some are even “characters.” Regardless of this fact, strong leaders prioritize the greatness of their organizations and teams, rather than being in the spotlight. Their characters are shown through their actions and the way that they treat others.

3. Great leaders are wonderful communicators. In an interview, Warren Buffet once said that Dale Carnegie’s course, “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” changed his life. He mentioned that his certificate from the course hung proudly in his office, while he wasn’t quite sure where his degree from Colombia Business School was. Great leaders can make the complicated simple and share with enthusiasm and urgency. They understand that communication is a two-sided coin, with one side silent and the other listening. This is what Steven Covey describes as empathetic listening in his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Empathetic listening means listening with the intent to understand and not just waiting for the other person to be quiet so we can have our turn.

4. Great leaders are focused. Superior leaders have a laser-like focus. They know what the priorities are and have the concentration needed to do whatever it takes to get the job done. They understand the Pareto principle, also known as the 80–20 rule or the law of the vital few. This principle states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. They focus on the 20%. Great leaders are able to analyze their business and focus their energies on the 20% which will give them the greatest return on their investment of time and resources.

5. Great leaders are generous with both their time and resources. They understand that building a team takes time and people do not respond well to the carrot and stick school of management. They empower their people with autonomy and the necessary resources to accomplish their goals.

6. Great leaders are passionate. They are able to instill in their team the core belief that they will win. They unify their teams around a common goal. Enthusiasm, passion and a positive attitude are their calling cards.

7. Great leaders admit their mistakes and take responsibility. They freely admit when they are wrong and immediately seize upon their own mistakes and those of others as teaching opportunities. They welcome learning opportunities and know that the road to success is paved with the stepping stones of failure.

8. Great leaders are constantly learning. They understand that a leader is made and not born, and that the skill of leadership is learned and fostered by reading, listening, and associating with people who inspire and uplift them.

Great leaders are made; the characteristics of leaders who shape the Pharmaceutical industry of Japan have been learnt over time. We all have the ability to lead whether it is on organization of one or a company of thousands. If we are fortunate enough to lead a team then one thing is certain, people are watching our behavior far more closely than they are listening to our words. Perhaps the German literary genius Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said it best, “Behavior is a mirror in which everyone displays his own image.

Morunda Asia

Talent Search

Morunda Blue

Retained Search

Connect with us

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) focuses on integrating environmentally friendly practices into the work

Read more >

According to recent statistics on the prevalence rate of rare diseases, per 10,000 individuals, the United Stat

Read more >

I am often asked: Who is the typical candidate that we place at our Pharmaceutical and Medical Device clients at M

Read more >

I was recently interviewing a female candidate who had a reputation for being among the best in the male-dominated

Read more >

Morunda recently surveyed 109 managers at 29 pharmaceutical companies and we asked them to give their opinion on fi

Read more >

One of the benefits of being sick and nearly kicking the bucket is that it gives you a new perspective on life. It

Read more >