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Seven Key Leadership Traits

In my MBA management class we are studying Leadership so I have been thinking about leadership,  what makes a great leader, what types of traits and characteristics leaders have.  I have summarized 7 key characteristics that the majority of leaders have.  There are exceptions to the rule but generally most leaders possess these traits.

  1. Drive:  Leaders display a high level of effort.  They are ambitious and have a desire for achievement.  They Desire to lead and influence others.
  2. Honesty and Integrity:  Leaders must be trustworthy and they must be congruent in their actions and their words.
  3. High degree of self-confidence:  People are attracted to and follow others that are not filled with self-doubt and those that exhibit a high degree of self-confidence.
  4. Vision:  Leaders know where they are going and are goal oriented.
  5. Communication skills:  They are able to communicate their vision, goals and mission.  This is critical sense it would do no good to have a vision and goals and not be able to express to your organization what the vision and goals are.
  6. People skills:  Leaders are able to create rapport with others, they are sociable and normally more extroverted than introverted.  They are able to understand the needs of others and determine what motivates team members.
  7. Attitude:  Generally most leaders have a get it done attitude and are usually more glass half full type of people who see the possibilities instead of the obstacles.

While working on an assignment last Sunday, I was walking by a TV that was on, Undercover Boss was on and it caught my attention.  I normally do not watch much TV but this really grabbed me.  Rick Silva the CEO from Checkers/Rally drive in burger restaurants was the undercover boss.  I am not sure if this was a re-run of the show or the current episode but it was an awesome demonstration of Leadership in action.  I do not want to be a spoiler if you happen to be watching the series via Hulu or Netflix so I will just say he showed an example of true leadership and accepting responsibility.  We seem to get a barrage of reports of upper management in companies that have had lapses in ethics or integrity i.e.  Enron, Tyco and the like.  So it was very refreshing to see an example of a CEO in action accepting responsibility for something that was going wrong on the frontlines.  He also showed extreme appreciation for his front line employees.  Sometimes upper management may forget who the face of the company really is.  Usually it is the frontline sales associate, nurse, teacher or order taker.  These are the ones that have the most interaction with the customer or client and sometimes they are the least appreciated.  If you are a leader or aspire to be a leader you must remember that being a leader requires that you accept responsibility for the team or organization you are leading.  You also need to remember that it is the team members that execute the strategic plans and operations that make your organization successful.  They should be recognized and show appreciation for their efforts toward the organizations goals.  I hope you found this information helpful and as always I appreciate your comments.


Javitch, D. D. (2009, December 9). 10 Characteristics of Superior Leaders. Retrieved April 7, 2013, from Entrepenuer:

Robbins, S. P., DeCenzo, D. A., & Coutler, M. (2012). Management & Skills Development (Vol. Eighth). Boston, Massachusetts, USA: Pearson Learning Solutions.

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