Cream of the Crop features a rotating panel from the Harvest Group, a landscape business consulting company.

In today’s challenging times this rings true more than ever. When the Harvest Group is brought in to help organizations harvest their potential, one of the key areas that is reviewed is how well do the leaders of the organization truly lead? We certainly start with the ownership and then take a good look at the leaders who are currently in place.

With this in mind, perhaps now would be a good time to reflect on how you and your leaders are doing in their roles at your organization. There are many ways to assess leaders. Here are seven areas that are essential for being a solid leader at your organization.

Using the acronym of LEADERS, let’s review seven key attributes and qualities of a good leader.

Leads with a clear sense of vision.

People know where the organization is headed. There is a sense of destination and a solid unified understanding of their Why the organization is in existence. This gives purpose and inspires team members to aspire to reach their fullest potential. There is a clearly stated vision, mission and core value statement, along with the company’s strategic intent. These are written and clearly understood and embraced at all levels.

Encourages and inspires to aspire.

Serve as an encourager to others. Good leaders are even-keeled and enthusiastic about the company’s future. Leaders are clearly passionate and positive about the future of the organization and its people. They give plenty of recognition and praise whenever and wherever possible.

Acumen for business.

Good leaders are achievement-oriented. They are aware of their marketplace and they adapt to change quickly. They know their numbers and key performance indicators and are decisive when there is need to adjust to the challenges they face. They are always prepared and have options. When they are in doubt or lack knowledge in certain areas, they seek and take good council.

Develops others and self.

Good leaders create and embrace a continual learning culture. They not only have training and development programs for all team members; they also look closely at themselves and have a skill or behavior they are learning to improve. Ask yourselves, what one or two skills or behaviors would be good for you to develop or learn more about that would help you to be a better leader or your organization be more successful? Do you have a professional coach/mentor to help you or your leaders? If not, maybe now would be a good time.

Ethics, values and integrity: builds trust.

Great leaders have a clear sense of what is right and are consistent with their actions that adhere to being ethical, living and exemplifying their core values and being honest. Everyone in your organization is consistently treated with dignity and respect. Great leaders serve as excellent examples in words and action/behaviors. A good dose of humility also goes a long way here as well.

Results and action-oriented.

Leaders make sure that all of their leaders have clearly defined roles, goals and activities that are in place and reviewed regularly (at least quarterly and preferably monthly). Relevant goals are written down and understood by all. Results in key areas are tracked, reviewed regularly and accomplished! Key areas that need special focus include:

  • Recruiting, onboarding, growing and retaining the right people
  • Retaining the right clients at the right rate of retention of 90%+
  • Working safely (no lost time injury accidents), effectively (quality of work) and efficiently (achieving targeted gross margins)

Serves others.

Great leaders set the tone of serving. They are a positive example of servant leadership. They give their time generously to others within and outside the organization. They pursue the success of others as if it were their own because it often is the case. You are a servant leader when you focus on the needs of others.

With this content in mind, take the leaders self-evaluation at and see how you rate yourself. Now have some of your leaders do the same evaluation on you!

Remember: It all starts and stops with the leaders!