Having interviewed more than 5,000 leaders over the past 30 years, and intensely studied the attitudes, characteristics, traits and values of highly effective leaders, I have discovered that they have:
(1) A clear sense of purpose – meaning a well thought out personal mission statement and a clear and focused personal vision, which is openly shared with others.
(2) Personal core values – well thought out and in writing and displayed for self and others to see. Makes decisions, solves problems, builds and maintains relationships, coaches team members – all governed by the core values.
(3) A sense of and support of accountability for self and others. Takes ownership for all personal actions and holds other accountable for their actions. Understands and supports the value of performance evaluations.
(4) Servant Leadership. A leader who understands that the development of the team members is priority one. Is a coach, and at times a mentor, depending upon the needs of the team member. Values team work and actively supports and works toward building and maintaining a high performing team.
(5) Exceptional communication skills. A leader who is articulate, well spoken, excellent writer, and an active listener who knows and uses active listening techniques while totally focusing on the needs of the speaker.
(6) Clear objectivity. A leader who is objective, weighs all the information/options, seeks input and involvement of others, possesses an anticipatory set and is an adult logical thinker. Calm and patient in demeanor, but having a proper sense of urgency.
(7) The Ability to execute. A leader who is strategic in thinking and planning who understands that planning without action is an exercise in futility. Organized in thought and action, with a strong focus on step by step positive progress.