Mindstate Motivation Blog

What Is the Essence in the Heart of a Great Leader?

I’ll bet something like this has happened to you.

You’re working hard at something…could be as simple as a crossword puzzle or as complex as an interstellar rocket engine.  What I’m getting at is what happens when you get to the point of exasperation.

You’ve tried and tried and you just can’t get to the next step no matter what you do.  Then comes the question we have all uttered in similar circumstances:  “What’s it take anyway?”

Strangely enough, we may have asked the same question when it comes to being a great leader.  What’s it take anyway?

Another question that may come into your mind about now is—Why is knowing the answer to the previous question important to me?

The short answer is:  You can’t be it if you can’t define it.

Take a moment to consider what I am saying.  I’ll put it another way.  If you don’t know what it takes to be something, you will have no idea how to BE something.  If you don’t know how to be something, you can’t BE it!

Now, here’s the implication of all this as it relates to being a great leader.  We all have to be one!  You have to “lead” your life.  It’s your responsibility.  You can’t pass it off to someone else.

And, what is true about “leading” your life also applies to leading people.  The same characteristics are critical to doing a great job.

The characteristics of a great leader have been written about for centuries.  Those characteristics are well documented, as a consequence.

Frankly, I’m going to document them again in this post but in my own way.  I’m doing that because, as stated above, you can’t be it if you can’t define it.

I’ll get to my view of the four critical characteristics of a great leader in a moment.  However, an important point must be made here.  The four characteristics are useless if the leader doesn’t have the essence of a great leader embedded deep in her/his heart.

Let’s make sure we understand the definition of that word, essence.

When you Google “definition of essence” the first definition that appears on the page is:  “the intrinsic nature or indispensable quality of something, especially something abstract, that determines its character.”

Pretty powerful, wouldn’t you say?  So, what I’m saying is each of the following four characteristics of a great leader also have to have another “indispensable quality.”


“Leading” a quality life or a group of people clearly requires wisdom.

Wisdom includes a lot of things but it would be “wise” for understanding to list a few of those things here:


There’s a bunch more…but you get the idea.

Oh, but one “indispensable quality” must permeate each of the above things.


Just as leading a quality life or people require wisdom the great leader must also have vision.

I’m not talking about an ophthalmologist declaring the leader has 20/20 vision!  The kind of vision I’m talking about can only be found in a leader with some of the following characteristics.


Once again, there are many more characteristics that go into being a great leader with vision.  These I consider the most important.

Oh, but one “indispensable quality” must permeate each of the above things.


Power in this context is not used like a despot would use it.  There have been plenty despots drunk with power in the history of the world.  None of them have gone down in the annals of time as “great!”

A great leader thinks of power as defined by the following characteristics:


“Leading” your life or people with true power is inspiring rather than intimidating.

Oh, but one “indispensable quality” must permeate each of the above things.


Yes a great leader must have wisdom, vision and power but s/he has to wield all of those with feeling.  Now I’m not talking about a feeling of kumbaya.

A great leader demonstrates feeling in the following ways:


Oh, but one “indispensable quality” must permeate each of the above things.

Once again, to summarize the key characteristics of a great leader:  Wisdom, Vision, Power, Feeling.  All of those being wrapped in the overriding and “indispensable quality.”

Take a look at the iconic figures defined as great leaders.  They may have demonstrated just as valuable additional characteristics as the four outlined in this post.

The one “indispensable quality” they all had and applied to suit their situation was an attitude of wanting to find new ways to solve old problems.  They would look at the critical issues related to their leadership role and figure out how to make them better.

Whether you want to “lead” your life or your group of people the essence in your heart must be to find new ways to solve old problems and all will be well.


What is the most important point you learned from this information and how are you going to apply it in your leadership role?

Please share your thoughts by commenting below.  

Share this information with others by following the social media links at the top or bottom of this post.  Thank you.   

Crop of GNCC ShotMindstate mentor, author, trainer and speaker, Gary Greenfield (@LifeRider) provides self-employed people inspirational insight and concise business ideas to help improve mindstate and minimize stress. He believes a mindstate that is positive and stress that is minimized helps self-employed people better profit through performance.

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