The quest to collect the leadership traits of the most influential
people got a major boost in the recent years. Over the past few decades, we have
had a number of people trying to discover how some leaders were so successful in
what they did.
How did they manage to easily
overcome objections, convince voters, win the
negotiations, sell cars, get higher credit rating so on and so forth?
What traits can we learn from people who made millions selling
credit cards or houses or life insurance? Think about it. Can a company become
successful unless it had a successful team? In contrast, lets say you sell life
insurance term for a living, how would it be if you can sell twice as much in
half the time because you can do the same job even
better with good
communication? This notion is probably as old as human civilization.
Let us look at a few general characteristics. found in most of the successful
leaders. This list of characteristics can be used to identify and learn the
leadership skills. The list is focused on some of the traits and in
no way exhaustive.
Change has been the one word which was dreaded by establishments for many
years. In today’s world, this is one word which is the most constant of all.
Thus,the leader of the new world should be willing to change as required.
Flexibility is the word I am supposed to use. (There seems to be no
flexibility in use of words to describe traits of a good leader or so I am told)
Leaders should be able to observe the changes happening in the society and move
"A leader should be flexible and adaptive to changes without compromising his ethics"
Here is chance to show your own Leadership Traits.
When you are dealing with people, you are in effect, dealing with their
emotions. As mentioned before, a leader has to Overcome inner conflicts before
he deals with others’. In essence, a good leader should have maturity and
emotional strength. In contrast to popular belief that business leaders should
be grim faced and tightlipped, a good leader is empathetic and responsive.
By the way, the grim ones often die of heart attacks. You now know which is
the misunderstood of all the traits.
Another defining trait of a leader is his ability to build teams and motivate
them to achieve common goals. It is his duty to keep the group motivated and
give them direction. He can achieve this only if he is motivated enough and he
believes in the cause. Passion for the cause and enthusiasm are indispensable.
Leaders are usually seen as active, expressive, and energetic. They need to
build a sense of excitement required to get the job done. This excitement will
later result in satisfaction.
A leader should be the
Source of Enthusiasm for his Crew.
If you don’t find something worth dying for, you will not find living to be a
great joy. A Common saying
The U571(Movie) Exec officer was very hurt when he is not promoted and given
his own boat. He gets disheartened by the incident. When the captain asks if he
is willing to risk the life of a young crew member to save others, he hesitates.
"You see, you hesitate. As a captain, you can't afford to hesitate" A Famous
dialogue from U571.
Leaders have to make tough decisions and they need thick skin to be effective.
This does not been they should not have compassion. A leader will have
flexibility when he develops an ability to be tough when the situation demands
and be compassionate when required.
Any job that is started needs to be finished successfully. A Leader’s job is
no different. We have often come across situations where we have left the work
unfinished. A leader can’t afford to do so. All the other traits constant, this
is one which can be given the highest priority. At the end of the day, the one
who finishes the race is the one who counts.
I have often failed to finish the things that I started. The result of which,
I used to feel pangs of inadequacy when I tried to lay hands on new things.Success breeds
Success. So it is very important to close the screen on all the
things we start. Success in itself is one the traits.
"A person who displays and demonstrates a determination to complete a task he
has started had the potential of leading others".
One of my family friends is a Veteran of WW II. When I was child, he used to
tell us stories about his experience. In the enemy territory, soldiers dig up
ditches to hold their positions. Then to carry forward an offensive, one team
starts lurching forward on elbows under cover fire.
Dead front, you have heavy machine guns firing 1000rpm. There is an
overwhelming uncertainty of life and still they keep moving forward. What can
possibly keep them motivated to do that? The basic human instinct is to run
away. But these men do not understand that. You can call it brainwashing. These
men have determination unequalled by anyone else.
They just have to get that Job
done. "Mission accomplished " is their only goal.
Energy is one more trait of a Good Leader.
He has to develop the
ability to create and maintain high levels of energy for extended periods of
time. This is one of the reasons the men (and women) of the armed forces make
such good leaders. Their training gives them the ability to stay awake and be
aware for long spells.
In a recent survey, it was shown that 40% of Top CEOs of Corporate America
were from the marines. One of the most famous billionaires of US Donald Trump is
known for his adulation of leadership training he got in the Army.
I am a submarine buff. My best friend’s father was a submariner. My favorite
pastime is watching movies about submarines and reading about them. Submarines
represent a world unnatural to humans, beneath the sea.
A captain and his crew have to deal not only with the unseen enemy but also
the unforgivable and fathomless sea engulfing them. This brings me to the next
"Change is the only constant in the world. The one who is the most adaptive
will rule the world" - Law of nature.
The ancient times had many myths about the power of intuition. Intuition is
natural to humans. Due to overestimation of rational though during renaissance,
Intuition was given a back seat. The trend has continued till date. With the New
Age philosophy spreading like wild fire, everybody is now paying attention to
this ancient force.
Now, it is one the indispensables of the hallmarks of leadership. Intuition can be
nurtured and developed like any other talent. Time spent in this activity will
be of great value.
"Intuition will help one lead other to places which no eyes have seen." - An
Ancient Egyptian Myth
As I mentioned in page on leadership, now a days, leadership is by design. None
of them have a ‘Degree of Leadership’ from Harvard. Most of the good leaders are
products of many kinds of experiences and thus will have developed different
kind of skills.
To conclude, let’s have a look at one of the best compilation of
Traits. US Marine Core or USMC, has been a place which has given birth to a lot
of leaders. So, it would be good idea to know what the marines expect out of a
US Marines 11 Leadership Principles: (USMC)
Develop a sense of responsibility in your subordinates.
Train your soldiers as a team.
Ensure the task is understood, supervised and accomplished.
Know yourself and seek self-improvement
Know your soldiers and look out for their welfare.
Keep your soldiers informed.
Set the example.
Be tactically and technically proficient.
Make sound and timely decisions.
Employ your unit in accordance with its capabilities.
Seek responsibility and take responsibility for your actions.
With this study of traits of a great leader , you will be more aware of your
surroundings and easily pick up these skills. Please make sure you have gone through thebest characteristics of leadership and the
leadership quality also.