The Four Attributes of Successful Leaders

In a conversation with a client recently we were discussing what are the attributes of successful leaders? I believe that there are four key ones.

The first attribute is adaptability, which means that a leader must be able to lead in varying environments whether it be a crisis, a boom, moderate success, ambiguity. A leader must be able to understand and then adapt to the environment around them.

The second attribute is being perceptive. Leaders must know what is going on around them, the different personalities of the teams they lead, the different agendas people may have and how the leader is perceived by others and use that information to determine how to best achieve their goals and objectives.

The third attribute is being decisive. This means balancing the desire for consensus with the required speed of decision-making. It also means that in most cases some action is better than no action.

The fourth and final attribute successful leaders have is being humble. We often read about leaders who give most of the credit to the people around them when things go well but shoulder most of the blame when things go awry. A leader needs to recognize that he/she needs smart people around them and that they can’t do everything on their own.

I will also let you in on a little secret. Great leaders aren’t always at the top of their organizations. There are many great leaders we have never heard of yet show all of the attributes I have just discussed. Do you know who those people are in your organization?


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