Characteristics of Leadership
- Character / Integrity. Establish yourself in the core values that never change over time: honesty, loyalty, respect, faith, compassion, and dedication. Strong moral fiber inspires trust and confidence.
- Sincerity. You must be genuine. Do not pretend to be someone you are not. Make sure your actions and words are aligned with your core values.
- Trustworthy. Say what you believe and then do what you say. People need to know they can count on you and put their trust in you. Strong integrity and sincerity will lead to the respect and trust of others.
- Compassion. Cultivate a sense of compassion for others. Understand their point of view and be empathic to their feeling. Always nurture and protect those around you.
- Humility. Lead by example. Pitch in and do the work. Do not ask anyone to do anything that you would not do yourself.
- Optimism / Enthusiasm. Be positive and upbeat. Leaders need to be able to be a source of inspiration, and be a motivator towards the required action. People are not likely to believe or to follow if they are not convinced that success is at hand.
- Courage. In the face of adversity, remain true to your core principles, values and vision. A leader must have the courage to step out from others and express their thoughts, feeling, and vision, even if it is total contradiction with others.
- Vision. Always look ahead and develop a compelling vision of the future. Live for today, but be guided by your vision of what it is you want to accomplish in the future.
- Communication. Clearly articulate your vision. Share your vision and plan of action with others. Ask and be open to others thoughts and opinions. Make them feel part of the process and responsible for the outcomes. One of the most important parts of communication is listening. Listen attentively so you are in sync with your team.
- Planning. One of Steven Covey’s Seven Habits of highly successful people is “begin with the end in mind”. Know where you are going and how you want to get there. Evaluate alternatives, consider resources and be flexible to changes.
- Flexibility. Even if you plan meticulously, things often can and do go wrong. Evaluate why something is not working, replace it with a new plan and move on. Don’t stay stuck on the same plan if it’s not working.
- Empowerment. Give people responsibility and the authority, provide them with the resources to do the job, and stand behind them when they make mistakes. A good leader is not afraid to surround themselves with people who have the skills they lack. Good leaders recognize the skills that others possess and utilize those skills to accomplish the shared vision. Challenge people to live up to their capabilities.
- Praise. Publicly give the credit to others when they are successful. Never take credit for what someone else accomplished. Nothing will stifle their future contributions more quickly. “Respect a man, and he will do all the more.” – John Wooden
- Continuous Improvement. Do not be afraid to make mistakes; just be willing to learn from the mistakes. Do not let failure paralyze you. Look at mistakes as opportunities for constructive growth and develop ways to improve yourself. “If I had to live my life over again, I’d dare to make more mistakes next time.” -Natine Sanger
- Responsibility. Take responsibility for your actions. Don’t make excuses. Accept the responsibility when things go wrong and learn from it so you and your team can grow and enhance performance.
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” –John Quincy Adams