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The Traits That Define Good Leadership


Numerous books and articles have been written on the subject of leadership. When it comes to the world of business there are certain traits that all successful leaders share. This article presents these key traits and serves an opportunity to ask yourself how you compare.

The late George Steinbrenner often referred to General George S. Patton as his model of the ideal leader. Rudy Giuliani would refer to Winston Churchill as his inspiration for leadership during times of crisis. In terms of basic leadership skills itís not necessary to have a specific role model or inspiration. What is necessary is to have a specific set of principles that guide you as a leader. These principles can apply to organizations from small to large. As you read each one ask yourself if you follow these principles.

  • Display Business Maturity - The ability to deal with stressful and difficult situations without losing control. Avoid displaying your emotions but rather maintain an even tempered demeanor.
  • Be Energetic and Enthusiastic - Display a level of energy and commitment to your role as manager or leader. Itís important for an effective leader to possess and display a high level of energy to accomplish their responsibilities. Often times this energy can be infectious to subordinates, while a lack of energy and enthusiasm can have the opposite effect.
  • Professionalism - Treat others with respect. Conduct yourself in a manner that generates respect and admiration from your subordinates.
  • Avoid Being Ego Driven- Be committed to developing your subordinates. Be open minded when needed and recognize that others may have the answer to certain problems or situations. Avoid being driven by personal recognition.
  • Practice Coaching Skills As Needed - An effective leader has the ability to improve the performance of subordinates by communicating areas in need of improvement and applying the resources to make improvement. The leader creates and inspires a sense of team. Good leaders avoid being compulsive.
  • Display Self Confidence - Itís important that subordinates view their leader or manager as confident. They will place their trust in someone who displays a level of confidence and is not afraid to make a decision. Recognize the performance of others.
  • Be Able to Emphasize - An effective leader is capable of putting themselves in the shoes of another. They avoid a level of detachment that is dismissive of others.
  • Capacity to Make Tough Decisions - There will be situations when a leader or manager will have to make some tough decisions, especially when it comes to personnel. Itís important for a leader to make difficult choices without guilt and hesitation.

In addition to these principles, an effective leader must possess traits that will motivate others and lead their subordinates in new directions.

If your goal is to be a more effective leader, review the list above and see how you compare. If you identify areas in need of improvement read books and articles. Consider workshops or seminars that can help you improve on those areas.

Jack Welch on Leadership

ďToo often, managers think that people development occurs once a year in performance reviews. That's not even close. It should be a daily event, integrated into every aspect of your regular goings-on. Customer visits are a chance to evaluate your sales force. Plant tours are an opportunity to meet promising new line managers. A coffee break at a meeting is an opening to coach a team member about to give his first major presentation. Think of yourself as a gardener, with a watering can in one hand and a can of fertilizer in the other. Occasionally you have to pull some weeds, but most of the time, you just nurture and tend. Then watch everything bloom.Ē

© 2010 FranchiseKnowHow, LLC

Ed Teixeira is the President of FranchiseKnowHow, LLC. He can be reached at franchiseknowhow@gmail.com

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