Character Traits of Extraordinary Leaders

The success of every organization rests on the foundation of leadership. A group of people, whether a business, organization, family or society, can only go as far as leadership will take it.

Some people do not believe that they are leaders or even that they can be a leader. I believe that every person is a leader in at least one situation.

Maybe you aren’t a leader at work, but you are in your family or as the soccer coach of the little league team. Somewhere you are leading. Here is my working definition of leadership: INFLUENCE. Nothing more, nothing less. So as you are reading this, understand that I am giving you these thoughts in order to help you influence as many people in the most effective way possible!

When people make a decision (either consciously or unconsciously) to follow your leadership, they do it primarily because of one of two things: your character or your skills. They want to know if you are the kind of person they want to follow and if you have the skills to take them further. Yes, there are other variables, but these are the bulk of the matter. Next, we focus on the kind of character that causes people to follow your leadership.

  1. Integrity. Integrity is that you do what you say you will. You are trustworthy. People can rely on you. You keep your promises. The one thing that will keep most people from following you is if they can’t know for sure if you will actually take them where you say you will. Are you known as a person of integrity? If so, you will become an Extraordinary Leader!
  2. Optimistic. People don’t want to follow others who think the future is bad! They want to follow those who can see the future and let them know that there is a better place and that they can get them there! Do you see the cup as half empty? Then you are a pessimist. Do you see it as half full? Then you are an optimist. Do you see it as totally full–half air and half water? Then you are a super optimist! Are you known as an optimist? If so, you will become an Extraordinary Leader!
  3. Embraces Change. Leaders are the ones who will see the need for change and willingly embrace it. Followers will, at first, desire to stay where they are. Leaders need to see the benefits of change and communicate them to followers. If you don’t change, you won’t grow! Are you known as a person who embraces change? If so, you will become an Extraordinary Leader!
  4. Risk Taker. Whenever we try something new, we are taking a risk. That is part of growing and it is imperative. Most people are risk averse. Not the leader! They calculate the risk and what is to be gained from taking the risk. Then they communicate that to the followers and away they go to a better tomorrow! Are you known as a person who is willing to take risks? If so, you will become an Extraordinary Leader!
  5. Tenacious. The tendency of the follower is to quit when the going gets tough. Two or three tries and their motto becomes, “If at first you don’t succeed, give up and try something else.” Not the leader! They know what good lies beyond this brick wall and they will go and get it. Then they will bring others with them! Are you known as a person who is tenacious? If so, you will become an Extraordinary Leader!
  6. Catalytic. A leader is ultimately one who gets people going. They are able to move others out of their comfort zone and on toward the goal! They can raise the passion, enthusiasm and ACTION of those who would follow. Are you known as a catalyst? If so, you will become an Extraordinary Leader!
  7. Dedicated/Committed. Followers want people who are more devoted and committed than themselves. At the first sign of lack of commitment, followers scatter for the doors. If the leader sees the end and is bailing out, they better get out first. Followers follow those who will stick it out because they see the importance of the task and the goal. Are you known as a person who is committed and devoted to the goal? If so, you will become an Extraordinary Leader!

This post originally appeared as part of our monthly e-newsletter, Staff Matters.  This post was written by Chris Widener and published by our partners, the fine folks at Haley Marketing Group.  


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