The Top 5 Characteristics a Leader Should Possess


The Top 5 Characteristics a Leader Should Possess


(This is a Guest Post I did for http://tqltotalqualitylife.com/ )
I know there are more than five characteristics to a leader, but as I sat down and started thinking about what truly classifies the top characteristics of a great leader – these five came to mind: IntegrityServicePositive Attitude, Listening, and Taking Action.  I know there are probably many, many more and I’m sure that we could talk at length about many other characteristics, but let’s explore these five.

Integrity:

The dictionary defines Integrity as: “adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty”. Integrity means you have an inner purpose and drive to do what is right.  You know what you need to do.  You also know that you’re always going to strive to do the right thing not only for yourself, but also for your people. Integrity is about those times when things get tough, and believe me they will, you will be tempted do bad things, to do wrong things, but your Integrity is the compass that will keep you on the right path.

Service:

As a leader it’s important that we don’t forget where we came from and that we don’t forget what the most important commodity in any business is – the “people”. I think it’s important that we as leaders always remember to have a Service mindset. We need to serve people, and we need to work to serve others besides just ourselves.  We need to take care of our staff, we need to take care of our business, and we need to take care of one another.  The day you quit thinking about Service and ways to serve others is the day you need to take a step back and try to figure out what kind of leader you hope to be.

Positive Attitude:

I believe that it’s important to have a Positive Attitude because I believe that attitude drives everything else.  Attitude decides a lot of what you do and how you do it. Without a Positive Attitude you won’t go very far in life, or in business.  I think that no matter who you are, be it an individual or part of an organization, we always look to our leaders to have a Positive Attitude. A Positive Attitude is so powerful I have personally seen it change the mood in room, change the tone of negotiations, change the tone of an upset customer, or even change the way a company or organization operates.  If you question the power of a Positive Attitude just look around your group or organization and see who the leaders are, I bet you will find that many, if not all of them, have a Positive Attitude.

Listening:

Another characteristic that I think is important is the act of Listening. I think it’s very, very important that you listen not only to your customers and to your staff, but also to management, and stakeholders.  By Listening to these groups the information you glean will be invaluable to you as a leader. With that being said I think we should also note that it’s important that you listen to yourself.  Sometimes leaders are so busy Listening to others that they don’t stop to ponder and think.  Leaders have to make decisions and how are you supposed to make decisions if you don’t have time to process the information you gathered from Listening?  Listening is the first step in a chain of events that can’t be ignored if you want to make good decisions and be a great leader.

Taking Action:

This is a quality that I think today’s society has undervalued because we tend to overthink everything.  As a leader there is going to come a time when a decision needs to be made or some course of Action need to happen and people are going to look to you to Take Action.  It is your responsibility as a leader to recognize that even though you might be taking baby steps toward the goals at least you are moving forward and you are Taking Action.  We must also understand that we are all going to make mistakes and we need to learn from our mistakes; but 9 out of 10 times Taking Action is better than no action at all.  Last, but not least, as a leader you must be able to Take Action and execute on your plans.  If you do not Take Action and execute your plans you will be an ineffective leader and let’s be honest with one another, do we need any more ineffective leaders in our world today?
In closing I’d like to recap quickly the five characteristics reviewed here: Integrity,ServicePositive AttitudeListening, and Taking Action.  These are the five qualities or characteristics of a leader that I feel are important. As I said before, I’m sure there are many more and I’m sure that we could talk about leadership characteristics and qualities for hours on end, but I believe these are the top five.
What other qualities or characteristics would you add to this post if you were writing it?
Why is that quality or characteristic important to you for a Leader to possess?