C-Suite Advisory

The 3 Faces of Leadership

When reviewing the performance of organisations. leadership author John Maxwell states that “everything rises and falls on leadership”.

For any leader to be effective long term their leadership must be multi-faceted. Every leader must be able to first of all lead themselves well; secondly, lead people well; and thirdly be able to raise up the next generation of leaders. These are the 3 faces of leadership. There are 3 sets of skills to learn.

The first face of leadership is self-leadership

The first person every leader MUST lead well is themselves. Effective self-leadership is vital for you to make it easy for people to work with you. More people leave their jobs because of frustrations with their leader/manager than any other reason. Leaders who are disorganised and who struggle to keep their word make any kind of work unnecessarily difficult. Leaders who cannot manage their emotions and mood create a ‘walk on eggshells’ environment in which it is difficult to thrive. Leaders who are insecure often struggle to give encouragement, and are quick to blame when things go wrong.

Leaders who have healthy self-respect will be secure and show respect to others in all their communication and actions. They will understand their own strengths and know they need to surround d themselves with people who have strengths that help cover their weaknesses. They will have clear values and live by them consistently so that people can be secure under their leadership. They will have learned to be organised and are thus able to follow through on plans and keep their word.

If you do not lead yourself well you undermine your effectiveness and eventually forfeit the right to lead others.

The second face of leadership is people leadership

Some people with charisma and natural gifts can gather and lead people. With the right team around them who can help them stay organised and set strategy and plans in place, they can do well. Charismatic leaders often come unstuck because of their poor self-leadership which eventually frustrates their teams.

Leaders who are secure and know themselves well usually make the best leaders of people.  They empower people. They can cast an inspiring vision and create the kind of environment in which individual team members feel valued and can thrive. Insecure leaders often drive and burn people in their desire to achieve their goals. Secure leaders include people in the planning and help them gain ownership of projects and goals. They tap into the internal motivation of their people, and create an environment where people can take initiative and work together to create outstanding outcomes.  Every achievement becomes a shared success journey.  They are excellent communicators and people managers on a personal and group level. So, each person knows how they contribute to the success of the organisation.

The third face of leadership is next generational leadership

Leaders can be good at leading people and setting a positive tone for an organisation but still be poor at mentoring the next generation. One measure of this is to note how many leaders within an organisation have developed through the ranks and how often it is required to hire someone from outside.

Leadership potential exists within many of the people in any organisation. Great leaders are able to spot that potential in their people and develop it. They create an environment in which people are encouraged to step up and have a go. This requires a mix of insight, inspiration, encouragement, challenge and patience. There will be times in every mentoring relationship when you have to challenge a person to rise and do what it takes to fulfil their potential. Often, they do not yet believe in themselves. There needs to be sufficient trust and relationship for this process to work well. They need the freedom to make mistakes and learn. They need to be stretched and challenged without being broken or bruised.


These 3 faces of leadership are a useful lens to review your own leadership. How well do you lead yourself? How are you as a people leader? Do you have a record of raising up younger leaders?

Every leader must learn the first two faces of leadership for long-term leadership effectiveness. Many leaders do not have the patience or the skills to raise up other leaders while they are establishing their own leadership credentials. Those leaders who make a mark beyond their lifetime are those who develop the relationship skills and insight to mentor the next generation of leaders.

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John Drury
John Drury is a Business Mentor who works with busy high achievers to assist them achieve sustainable business success AND create a great lifestyle for themselves and their family. John is also in demand as a keynote speaker, and is author of ‘INTEGRATE – why work-life balance is a myth and what you really need to create a fulfilling lifestyle’.