5 Traits All Great Leaders Share

Posted on Thursday, October 13th, 2016 at 9:48 am

Consider the following question: if all leaders lead other people, are all people who lead others, leaders? Not exactly. Giving orders and providing direction does not necessarily make someone a leader. Rather, good leadership is exhibited by individuals who harness their unique characteristics to not only benefit themselves but everyone around them as well.


They lead by example

It is easy to rely on excuses after making mistakes or experiencing failure. Leaders do not make excuses; they set a standard for other people to follow.

Derek Jeter, the former team captain of the New York Yankees, exemplifies this approach. During his 20-year tenure as a member of the team, Jeter became highly regarded throughout the city of New York and all of Major League Baseball for his work ethic. He did not use excuses to justify poor performances and conducted himself with professionalism at all times on and off of the field. Jeter led the team to win five World Series Championships during this time.


They challenge the status-quo

Anyone can acknowledge when something is not working. However, successful leaders will show initiative by attempting to fix the problem.

The educational-activist, Malala Yousafzai, is not afraid of a challenge. She continues to advocate on behalf of girls and women everywhere for them to have equal access to education, even after being attacked by the Taliban and remaining under their constant threat.

They are likable

Likability is a trait that aspiring leaders often lack. In order to succeed, a leader must be able to connect with other people in addition to being Intelligent, enthusiastic and hard working.

The Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, was able to connect with voters during the 2015 Canadian federal election by presenting himself as a personable, realistic, empathetic and humble person. This connection ultimately led to the Liberal Party winning the election by a wide margin.

They empower others

A successful leader will recognize that one person cannot and should not be expected to do everything alone. An effective leader will help other people develop the tools that they require for success and independence.

Nancy Lublin followed this principle by founding Dress for Success, a non-profit organization that helps women attain economic independence by proving them with the tools they will need to achieve success. These tools include professional attire, job training, leadership training and helping them develop a professional network of support. The organization now operates in 20 different countries.


They see the big picture

Some leaders aspire to bring about change on a local level. Other leaders ask themselves how they can harness local change to bring about change on a national or global level.

Michael Bloomberg, the former Mayor of New York, is an advocate for public health reform. His most notable initiative to improve public health was banning the use of trans-fats in restaurants in the city. While not all of his initiatives were successful, his ban on trans-fats quickly caught on in many states around the country, which led to a national ban on trans-fats in 2015.



N. Budhram | The Edge Blog

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