What Makes a Great Leader? Master These 8 Imperatives

An airline customer debacle causes social media outrage that raises questions about the firm’s CEO leadership. Missteps or misreads by political leaders create new fears of military actions. And then there are the leadership decisions that don’t make headlines, which take place in companies and governments across the globe.

But even as decisions by leaders large and small come under close scrutiny, there’s a broad consensus about what lessons an organization can teach—or how individuals can train themselves—to become better at the job. A new Korn Ferry report highlights eight leadership development imperatives, such as embracing new experiences and optimizing stress, that can help improve one’s ability to manage teams, think strategically, and inspire others. These eight principles aren’t new, but it’s critical to practice all of them systematically, consistently, and in combination with one another, says Sarah Hezlett, senior assessment scientist at Korn Ferry and co-author of a new report on leadership imperatives. “Deliberate use of the eight imperatives will keep leaders from defaulting back to old approaches, habits, and routines that are not serving them effectively,” she says.


  • Sarah Hezlett

    Senior Assessment Scientist, Korn Ferry Institute

  • Dennis R. Baltzley, Ph.D.

    Global Solution Leader, Leadership Development

    Bio >
  • Guangrong Dai

    Senior Director of Research, Korn Ferry Institute