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Leadership Traits - How Can You Be a Better Leader?
Some of the best leaders that I have respected over the years had traits that were more about their character than about their productivity. Because they had a strong character, their actions were a reflection of what they believe.
When I am leading people, I try to emulate the people who I admire and develop the traits that they have.
- Courage - The world is not very open to having those who are afraid as their leaders. Many of the people who have made significant changes in the world were those who did not run away when trouble arrived. I think of President John F. Kennedy who stood up to Cuba in the missile crisis. His courage saved his country from serious conflict.
- Respect for others - Very seldom do you watch an admired leader act in a judgmental or disrespectful manner. Even when Gandhi was under significant stress and abuse, he did not repay disrespect with disrespect. He respected himself and the others around him no matter how they behaved.
- Persistence - Prime Minister Winston Churchill is known for a number of things but one of the most powerful is the speech in which he said repeatedly "Never give up. Never give up. Never give up." We often seem persistence in the histories of scientists and inventors who try for years and years to find answers to their questions or develop products that will benefit the world. Think of Edison, Ford or Bell.
- Willingness to consider the options - Leaders who are intelligent and prepared to talk with experts in order to make informed decisions are often difficult to find. President Obama runs the United States very much like a CEO rather than like former Presidents. His style is to appoint experts into positions and then delegate tasks to them. They report back to him regarding their findings and then he makes the final decisions. Interesting approach.
- Inspiring - People will not usually follow someone unless the leader can inspire them about the cause and encourage them to be part of the group. This often requires charisma, good communication skills and the ability to make other people feel that they are part of something big. Leaders who are strong in the area of inspiration have a great deal of power as they have already won over the people and can therefore add a new idea or make a plan knowing that they have support.