The Leader Within

Published Tuesday, November 16, 2010 2:32 PM

Think you have it in you to become the boss? Consider these five leadership traits from and see how you stack up.

Vision: Effective leaders not only have a vision of where they're heading, they can communicate that goal and bring others along.

Passion: Effective leaders do what they love and love what they do. A leader's true commitment to their message, cause or company makes others willing to trust in that individual to chart an effective course.

Decision Making: The buck stops here. An effective leader can make the tough calls. A leader works to achieve group consensus when appropriate but can take sole responsibility when necessary.

Team Builder: If you're going to be a great leader, you need followers (aka there is no "I" in team.) Leaders designate effectively, encourage and promote their subordinates strengths and inspire teams to do great work. And when need be, leaders step in and guide by example.

Character: To thine own self be true. A great leader has strength of character: they know their strong suits (and weaknesses) and are not tempted by fads or expediency. A leader remains true to their essential character and can be trusted to remain constant.

Finally, remember that other qualities can be important leadership traits. Harvard Business Review blogger John Baldoni makes the case for humility as a leadership trait.  Baldoni says
"A sense of humility is essential to leadership because it authenticates a person's humanity." Baldoni suggests that leaders, "Take pride in what you have done, but use it as a platform to bring people together to do greater things, e.g. increase sales, improve quality, or save the planet. Use your leadership for something other than self-aggrandizement."

What other traits might be useful leadership qualities? How do you define leadership? Can leadership traits be learned or are they innate? Share your thoughts here and at the Beyond Folders Facebook page.

by Bradley Eggers


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