The 3 'E's of great leadership

by Evan Davies, Chief Executive - QLD | |   Leadership
The 3 'E's of great leadership

Effective leaders influence their organisation to achieve greatness. There are many 'E' words used to describe leadership, but if effective leadership is hinged on one's ability to influence, these are the 3 key 'E's that are critical for winning CEOs.

It is often said that an organisation is only as good as the quality of its leader. Everything rises and falls on the CEO's leadership.

There can be no leadership without influence, because influencing is how leaders lead. Good leaders influence people to do things that they might not do otherwise.

In their classic book on leadership, Leaders: Strategies for Taking Charge, Warren Bennis and Burt Nanus echo this point:

"There is a profound difference between management and leadership and both are important. 'To manage' means 'to bring about, to accomplish, to have charge of or responsibility for, to conduct.' 'Leading' is 'influencing, guiding in direction, course, action, opinion.'"

To be an effective leader therefore, the CEO must stop managing the organisation and trying to do everything themselves. Rather, they should focus their efforts on influencing and guiding the organisation, thereby empowering their people to take the ball and run with it.

At a recent CEO Institute Syndicate meeting, members were discussing leadership, and how effective leaders successfully influence their organisation to achieve greatness. The discussion is summarised into 3 'E's below: 


    Great leaders can vividly dream an inspiring future, and mobilise their people around a compelling vision for their organisation.

    The best leaders can communicate their vision precisely, so that others will want to become a part of their team.

    They can also turn their vision into a powerful purpose that drives their business.


    After setting the vision, great leaders can energise an organisation to act. They engage others in a way that ignites a fire inside of them, so that they will not only want to help achieve the vision, they will also begin to embrace it as their own vision.

    They show people what's possible and motivate them to make those possibilities real. They energise and focus people in ways that fulfill their dreams, give them a sense of purpose, and leave them with a profound sense of accomplishment when the work is done.


    To achieve a vision, a great leader ensures that the right people and the right skill sets are in place to get the job done.

    True leaders provide their people with the resources, funding and support to successfully execute on the vision and drive results.

    The best leaders are teachers, mentors, and role models and they accomplish the vast majority of their work through influence, not authority. 

There are many other 'E' words quoted to describe leadership; empower, enthusiasm, empathy come to mind, but these were the 3 key 'E's that members of one of our Syndicates unanimously agreed were critical to effective leadership.

The CEO Institute was founded in 1992. It is now Australia's leading membership organisation for CEOs and senior executives. It provides a forum for over 1,000 Chief Executive members to connect and share their learning with each other. In 2011, The CEO Institute became the world’s first global certification body for CEOs, and in 2013, partnered with UNESCO in support of the "Malala Fund for Girls' Right to Education". In 2014, they began offering their programs globally.
The CEO Syndicate is an exclusive peer support network for CEOs. The first meeting of The CEO Syndicate program was held in Melbourne in June 1992. Offices were opened in Adelaide in 1996 and Sydney and Brisbane in 1997, with Perth launching in 2007. In 2015, the New Zealand office opened.
The Future CEO program is a certification course designed by the business leaders of today for the business leaders of tomorrow. The first Future CEO meeting was held in Melbourne in May 2012. In 2014, the "Future CEO Scholarship Fund for Women" was established, and continues to be offered today.

Membership of The CEO Institute is by invitation only. To register your interest click enquire.





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