Friday, June 22, 2012

Twelve Leadership Traits



Twelve Leadership Traits

Leadership has often been described as the ability to get others to follow willingly. Political, military, business, and religious leaders have been studied throughout history in an effort to identify the traits that made them successful.
Is there a common thread? And if so, what are those traits?
I spent years as a leader in military and business organizations, and I have studied leaders from those with whom I have had direct contact to those past and present leaders about whom so much has been written.
I encountered a number of truly outstanding leaders in the business world who were highly successful and widely respected, and who provided inspiration for organizations to achieve remarkable results. In the military, I encountered Marine Corps officers and non-commissioned officers who had been highly decorated combat leaders under the most terrifying, unimaginable conditions, and whose troops nevertheless followed them into that dark hole of battle. With political and military leaders, I've studied the lives of Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, U.S. Grant, Robert E. Lee, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, George Patton, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Chester Nimitz, John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, and Douglas MacArthur, among others.
I've made it a point to learn about business leaders such as Jack Welch, Lee Iacocca, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Ted Turner, Herb Kelleher, Warren Buffett, and more recently, Mark Zuckerberg.
I have identified twelve traits that great leaders seem to demonstrate on a rather consistent basis. Some have strong traits that are not on this list and still others some have traits that are not particularly desirable, perhaps even detestable, yet they succeed anyway. This list is not meant to be all-inclusive, such that every great leader embodies all these traits; it is meant as a guide to what I would consider the common thread bonding many of those leaders who are clearly exceptional.
Please note that in future articles, I will take each of the twelve traits and elaborate further.
My twelve leadership traits are thus:
1. Ability to Communicate
2. Courage
3. Integrity
4. Discipline
5. Fairness
6. Unselfishness
7. Dependability
8. Vision
9. Assertiveness
10. Professional Competence
11. Judgment
12. Creativity
These are the twelve leadership traits that I have identified among the best of the leaders I have seen and studied.
Are you a leader? If so, how do compare your own identified leadership traits to the above list? If you are preparing for a life of leadership, your possession and embrace of the above twelve traits would not guarantee you career success, since there are no such guarantees, but it would put you in good company. Very good company, indeed.
My next article will address the trait Ability to Communicate.
Gerald Gillis is the author of the award-winning historical novel "Shall Never See So Much." Gerald's forthcoming novel, a business thriller, is due for release in the Fall, 2012. Visit his website at http://www.geraldgillis.com and his blog at http://geraldgillis.blogspot.com