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Identifying effective traits of leadership and adopting those traits in your daily life is critical to a leader’s long-term success.
Fortunately, leadership traits can be developed over time by anyone who is seeking to improve his or her standing. Whether you’re looking to impress your superiors or to become a more valuable team member, adopting effective traits of leadership will increase your chances for success.
This is an introductory article on leadership traits. We’ll cover our top three effective traits of leadership here and provide you with a companion reference article that details several more.
Smart leaders understand that the more they know, the more they realize that there is so much more still to learn.
Learning in the area of leadership must be an ongoing, never-ending process throughout your professional life. Great leaders never stop seeking out ways to further improve their ability to improve their skill-set and help others to become better leaders in the process.
The really good news here is that all great leaders possess certain traits, and each of these qualities can be developed over time by anyone willing to make the effort.
As you learn more about our top three effective traits of leadership start thinking about how you can apply these traits in your life and in the lives of your team members.
One of the many attributes common in effective leaders is their ability to face their fears. When others instinctively head for the hills, a leader will evaluate the situation; assess the risks and potential opportunities, then makes a thoughtful decision on what next steps to take.
If the leader determines that the opportunity is worth the risk the leader will work to minimize the risk and implement a strategy to overcome obstacles and create a pathway for success.
Having a healthy dose of fear is not a bad thing, particularly for a leader. Fear is good in the sense that it waves a red flag in front of you saying, “Watch out, something bad is about to happen!”.
However, while a leader hears that warning message just like everyone else, the leader will take the time to question the validity of the message and seek ways of spinning that dire warning into something positive, and possibly very profitable.
A leader has the courage to manage and maneuver around fear.
"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts."
- Winston S. Churchill
Leaders appear to others as being “fear-less”, but that’s not true. Leaders simply respond to fearful situations differently. They possess the courage to look past their fear and focus instead on the success they’ll realize once the perceived challenges are overcome.
To be clear, an astute leader must also at times recognize that retreat may be in the best interest of everyone involved, but they do not make the judgment until all other options have been fully considered.
Effective leaders recognize the limitations and costs that fear, jealousy, worry or pettiness can have on one’s ability to succeed. For so many people these emotions can cause personal or professional paralysis.
Leaders understand that a person’s fear of failure is the greatest dream killer known to man.
Leaders understand that true failure only exists when you give up and stop trying. In truth, failure is not trying something when there's a reasonable chance that it just may work.
Failure is when you quit. Failure is trying something that doesn’t work, then not learning from the experience and doing it again. So, never stop trying but when you do fail learn from your failure. This is called “Failing Up”, and that is what all successful leaders do.
All great leaders have failed, many times, but they demonstrate persistence – they simply don’t quit, and they learn from their failures.
It’s true; “failure exists only to one who accepts the label as fact.” Leaders never accept failure; they simply keep pushing forward!
- Maya Angelou
Integrity is the one most important and effective trait of leadership. A leader who lacks integrity cannot and should not be trusted. In fact, leaders without integrity are not leaders, but only someone who has mistakenly been given some level of authority.
People do not instinctively hitch their horse to a wobbly wagon. Rather, they want to relate to someone with a strong foundation, or to further our analogy - a wagon made with quality materials that can withstand adverse conditions. A leader’s character and integrity are the materials from which the highest-quality wagon is made.
While Courage, Persistence and Integrity are our top three effective traits of leadership, there are many more leadership traits you will want to master. To learn more about leadership traits, go to the following link and find out the mystery behind J.J. D.I.D. T.I.E. B.U.C.K.L.E.
The preceding link reviews in detail 14 effective traits of leadership, developed by the United States Marine Corp. This list provides a complete checklist for any leader wanting to test their knowledge and grow their leadership skill-set.
As you read through each leadership-based trait it’s easy to see how these same ideals can be applied, and should be expected, in your daily business environment.
As you review each leadership trait think about how you are applying yourself to live up to these leadership standards.
Enjoy the process! Incorporating effective traits of leadership into your daily personal and professional life will be an insightful and rewarding experience.