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Essential Traits of Effective Leaders

  1. Character is said to be who we are when no one else is looking.  That is true because character is simply who we truly are, whether anybody is looking or not.  The kind of leaders businesses and organizations need must be honest and full of integrity.  They should demonstrate a great work ethic and work from positive energy rather than emitting constant negativity.  Leaders should be reliable and they should stand up for what is right.  No façade can effectively hide a bad character.  The truth will be seen in the ultimate outcomes.
  2. Commitment is the decision to exercise determination in a mission.  Leaders must possess conviction about the work being done and the purpose that drives it.  Leaders must demonstrate a passion for quality and excellence, consistently exceeding minimum expectations.  Great leaders must consistently show great passion for their companies.
  3. Vision is that human capacity of “seeing” the end of a journey or task before it begins.  Great leaders begin with a view of how the finished work will look.  They show a passion for a better future.  Great organizational leaders understand, own, and implement the strategic plan.  Because of vision, great leaders naturally demonstrate continuous growth and improvement.  They have a whatever-it-takes attitude.
  4. Motivation is simply a measure and description of one’s will to do something.  When the strength of the motive to accomplish something exceeds the forces against it, that thing will certainly begin to happen.  Motivated leaders show self-initiative and forge ahead through tough times.  Such leaders work with energy and set a fast pace.
  5. Team Spirit is more than simply teamwork.  Team spirit is first an attitude and a character trait.  It is about believing in the necessity of a dynamic team to achieve great objectives.  Leaders must lead in supporting collaborative efforts, demonstrating an equal concern for the whole company, not just themselves and their charges.  They discourage selfish self-interests, seeking rather the good of the team.  Leaders seek the greater productivity and quality derived from teamwork.
  6. Resourcefulness is a rare quality in a world of plenty.  However, great leaders do not depend on always “having everything”.  Great leaders demonstrate how to accomplish the task with the resources available.  They improvise when necessary within certain given parameters.  Such leaders find a way to get the job done while other whine and idle away the hours in mediocrity, failure, and “can’t-do” attitudes, while resourceful leaders find a way to do it.  Resourceful leaders work efficiently with limited waste, preferring to use 100% of resources available, and save any leftover for when times are dry.
  7. Caring is the simple quality of having heartfelt concern for others.  Passionate leaders, the kind most needed, manage from the heart, demonstrating genuine concern for each individual and team.  Caring leaders seek to understand and empathize with others.  These leaders build healthy working relationships that build and sustain excellence.  They draw the best out of team members and minimize turnover due to exasperation.
  8. Servant-Mindedness is an attitude and a belief system.  Great leaders have learned the age-old secret that the greatest are always the servants of all.  Effective leaders demonstrate the value of humble service and model a willingness to truly serve.  Thus, such leaders set the pace at outstanding customer service to customers and coworkers.  These are the leaders that show concern for the “little people” and the “little things.”
  9. Empowering Others is about believing in others and the value of empowering them to act on their own.  Poor leaders lead followers.  Great leaders lead leaders.  Period.  Sadly, some leaders seek to elevate themselves by limiting the power and effectiveness of others, especially those that might possibly exceed them.  Great leaders understand otherwise.  These leaders delegate effectively and train others well.  They allow others to make mistakes and teach them how to avoid and correct them.  These are the leaders that build up rather than belittle and tear down.
  10. Reproducing Themselves is a final quality of all great leaders.  Along their life and work paths will lay a string of productive individuals who have been developed by such leaders.  Great leaders constantly seek to develop not just followers, but leaders.  They serve as mentors and support the growth of others.  These are the leaders that demonstrate a vision for leadership in others.