Good Leaders Are Good Actors

Good leaders must be good actors, specifically proficient in what’s called “situational leadership.” Plain and simple, situational leadership means having the skills and understanding to assess a scenario you’re facing and manage it with the right leadership style.

Considering that there are three basic types of leadership—authoritative, participative and hands-on—a good leader acts in the moment, choosing the best style for the challenge at hand. Situational leaders are good actors because they know how to adapt their leadership style. They can mask fear, panic and worry with a great sense of self-confidence both in themselves as well as those they must inspire and motivate.

In order to assume the appropriate role, leaders must become great believers in whatever leadership approach they’ve chosen. Furthermore, they must exude extreme self-confidence as they reflect that decision.

Like good actors, good leaders “become” the character in that moment, and their success depends greatly on the purity of their belief. If they don’t believe in what they are doing and the type of leadership role they’ve adopted, they’ll come across as a fake. Ironic but true, good acting is one of the strategies good leaders use to communicate with credibility, build trust among their people, and motivate others.

These Skills Can Be Developed

If you believe that good leaders are made, not simply born, it’s important to recognize that situational leaders do possess key characteristics, which are essentially the qualities of a great leader.

In addition to confidence, there are 11 other attributes of leadership, which include: clear vision, integrity, empathy, sense of humor, humility, passion, courage and style, in addition to the ability to recognize potential in others, develop trust and encourage excellence. Some of these attributes might be innate, but many good leaders must develop at least some of these qualities. Doing so comes with time, experience, failure, success, coaching and mentoring, and a genuine desire to develop leadership qualities.

For instance, while there’s nothing wrong with reading books on the subject of leadership, consider reading books that are about great leaders, or make a list of effective qualities in the leaders you personally know.

Adopt some of their ways, test them out, and see what works. While good leaders actively study and prepare for their role as such, they also make great strides by getting the necessary experience, e.g., climbing the chain of command and taking on greater leadership responsibilities.

Coaching and mentoring clearly supports leadership growth, but good leaders and good actors must also develop a strong sense of self-awareness. Understanding your shortcomings and strengths provides a launch pad for improvement and, hopefully, excellence.

In becoming a good leader, or good actor, it’s likely that you’ll have to work on issues around “emotional intelligence.” Use 360° evaluation to discover how effective your leadership style is, and, notably how you communicate. Good actors know that when it comes to delivering a message, 7% of is the content of the message itself, 38% is your voice tone, and 55% is about the visual presentation, which includes a self-confident persona. In other words, how you sound, look and carry yourself makes up 93% of what goes into being an effective communicator — a critical component to leadership success.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lee Froschheiser, president and CEO of Management Action Programs (MAP), works with premiere business leaders and companies nationwide. Lee is also co-author of the best-selling book, “Vital Factors, The Secret to Transforming Your Business – And Your Life.” For over 50 years MAP has helped 160,000 leaders and 13,000 organizations create sustainable results using the powerful combination of the unique MAP Program, Business Coaching and Consulting Services. For more information, visit or call 888-834-3040.