Over the last couple of years as I have spoken to Leadership organizations I have taken over 100,000 leaders through an interactive session where they have shared what they believe are the top qualities or characteristics of great leaders.
You can see a video of this dialogue and discuss in action by clicking here.
So according to leaders in over a dozen industries from companies like Blue Cross Blue Shield, Avnet, Subway, Nestle, Ericsson, and many others – these are the top 15 qualities of great leaders.
1. Leaders Set The Example: Leaders understand that action speaks louder than words and they act the part.
2. Leaders Have Vision: Vision comes from the old germanic word vissen which means I know what I see. Leaders have a clear vision and know how to communicate it.
3. Leaders Care: Leaders understand that people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Your people need to feel it.
4. Leaders Are Doers: Leaders get things done and deliver results. They are self motivated and take action.
5. Leaders Listen: Leaders listen to understand. They don’t just prepare their response or rebuttal. They truly listen.
6. Leaders Are Great Communicators: Leaders develop their ability to communicate in a clear and concise manner and understand how to connect.
7. Leaders Are Committed: When you are interested you do what is convenient but when you are committed you do whatever it takes.
8. Leaders Make It About Others: Leadership is not about you, it’s about the people that you lead.
9. Leaders Have Knowledge & Skills: Leaders develop their knowledge and skills because they know that people do business with people they know, like trust & value.
10. Leaders Are Adaptable: In a constantly changing world – adaptability is crucial.
11. Leaders Have Integrity: Leaders do what they said they were going to do, when they say they were going to do it, the way they said they were going to do it.
12. Leaders Lead Individually: Leaders know their people well enough that they can treat them the way they want to be treated. Leadership is individual not collective.
13. Leaders Are Approachable: The idea of the leader in the ivory tower is gone – leaders need to be accessible to their people.
14. Leaders Are Passionate: The word passion was originally used to describe Christ’s suffering – so passion means “Being willing to suffer for something that you love” – so leaders push through when it is hard.
15. Leaders Are Solution Thinkers: Leaders focus on the answers and know their job is to solve problems and find solutions.
What other characteristics would you add to the list?
Real leaders don’t tell lies. They are honest and transparent. They admit their mistakes and take personal responsibility. They don’t blame others when things go wrong. Lie to me once, it’s your fault. Lie to me twice, it’s your fault. Lie to me three times, you are a proven liar and I’ll never trust anything you say again.
Joe Nave, DMN