4 Traits of a true leader

by Brian Beedle on November 8, 2010

Normally in my blogs, I write about many different business related topics, ranging from “Making Sound Business Decisions” to “Managing in a Down Economy” to “Best Practices for a BI Implementation”.  Today, I am taking a different direction: highlighting 4 key personality traits that make a great leader.

Almost a month ago to the day, my sister Kelly, who is a graduate from San Francisco State University, and has worked for in the realm of International Education, was contacted by a private education company based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). She was offered a leadership position with the company, and with very little hesitation, she accepted the role. Today, November 4th, Kelly started her “New Adventure” and arrived in Abu Dhabi, where she will live for the next two or three years.

Biased perhaps, but what I have recognized is that the characteristics that my “little sister” possesses are those of a natural born leader. The experiences ahead of her are not only going to develop her into the person she will be tomorrow, but it will further advance her role as a leader that many will be able to learn from with her future endeavors of being a college professor.

With these thoughts in mind, and drawing from a proud brother’s view of Kelly’s success, the following are some of her traits that I feel are evident (and required) in most true leaders:

  1. Integrity: Defined by Webster’s Dictionary as: adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty. To me, integrity is the most important characteristic of a leader, and when a leader shows a lapse in integrity, the overall response by society is disappointment.  I consider myself an ethical business leader.  With this comes great responsibility as well as high level of expectations.  In return, a high level of respect is received from both those that I lead and those to whom I have reporting responsibility.
  2. Confidence: A true leader is consistently confident and possesses unparalleled decisiveness.  In business, we are taught that “time is of the essence” and it is important that leaders make poignant, informed decisions without undue hesitation.
  3. Willing to take risk: Great leaders must take risks and be willing to make sacrifices in order to meet the ultimate goal – SUCCESS.  Leaders understand that short-term personal and professional sacrifices are inherent in leadership roles. These sacrifices are required in order to position themselves for their personal success as well as the success of their company.
  4. Passion:  Great Leaders keep passion as core to their recipe for success.  Like the seasonal flu, passion is infectious and will spread quickly through an organization.  If a high level of passion is projected by the leader, this will establish a sense of motivation and high level of morale throughout.  The generation of this feeling must be injected from the top.

In summary, each and every business leader can learn a valuable lesson from Kelly.  By maintaining a level of high level integrity, exuding an extreme amount of confidence with decisive actions, not being afraid to sacrifice or take risk, while maintaining her passion, she is paving the way in establishing herself as one of the top business, educational or political leaders in our future.

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