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The Most Important Characteristic of a Leader

Author: Carissa Logan
July 6, 2016

Leaders possess many qualities, but what one characteristic is most important? We asked our coaches and blog contributors this question to see what they thought. They responded with the following:LEADER CLOUD

Vision

Great leaders have vision for what they are trying to accomplish and how they will get there. A clear vision inspires, builds trust, and gets results when executed well! ~Lynne Fox

Humility

Remember, you are an integral part of the success, not the sole source. To be a part of something greater than yourself is one of life’s greatest opportunities. ~Michael Webb

Good leaders take less than their share of the credit and more than their share of the blame. A good leader positions his or her team out front in the spotlight while unobtrusively supporting and guiding them to success. ~Lynn Kosinski

Commitment

Commitment to the people (believing in them). Commitment to the concept of shared leadership. Commitment to “the cause/challenge” (whatever it may be). Commitment to seeking a win-win solution. Commitment to the agreed-upon process. ~Kelli Johnson

Intentionality

Being intentional in all you do, as a leader, creates the ripple effect and change you want to see (in yourself, others, and your organization)—intentional in modeling values, building relationships, reflection, goal setting, communication, being service-minded, celebrations. ~Dana Penick

Audacity

I intentionally embrace the positive definition of the word. Great leaders need to be bold and fearless for the sake of the mission and the organization. Great leaders have the audacity to push the thinking of stakeholders in order to consider 3rd Alternatives, encourage wild ideas, and intentionally create a risk-free environment by modeling and encouraging others to do the same. ~Betsy Wierda

Courage

You need courage to have integrity in difficult situations—courage to make the hard choices, courage to lead, courage to build the capacity of others, courage to align a team toward a motivating vision. Courage is foundational to the behaviors that separate good from great in leadership. ~Dr. Eve Miller

Intentionality and Reflection

I always say that the two most important words in leadership are intentionality and reflection. We have to be intentional in our actions to be sure they are tied to our mission. Then we must take the time to reflect on our impact so that we can decide the next focus for our intentionality. ~Alicia Parsons

Responsibility

A great leader shoulders responsibility for his or her actions. ~Robin Sampson

Cheerleader

A great leader is always cheering others on. If the team succeeds, a leader grows using the strengths of the team. If the team falls, a leader continues to be positive and supportive while learning from the previous mistake and trying again. ~Kelly Kennedy

Trustworthiness

That combination of character and competence is foundational for any successful leader. ~Paul Pitchford

Love

Great leaders possess a genuine love for other people AND a love for what they do in the service of those they do it for. ~Jill Scheulen

Listener

It’s said that you have two ears and one mouth for a reason. The job oftentimes of a leader is to remove barriers and clear the path—you won’t properly be able to do that without listening. Additionally, the stakeholders of said leader will feel valued and have increased performance when they feel heard and appreciated. ~Ashley Green

Passion

Great leaders should have a passion for what they do and for helping others develop their passion! ~Trish Hassell

Integrity

Great leaders lead by modeling with integrity through their language, behaviors, and actions. ~Kristen Ray

Awareness

Leaders need to be aware of their team and know when to adjust. A leader needs to know when to be out front of their team, when to stand next to their team, and when to stand behind their team. Be aware and adjust! ~Jan McCartan

Vulnerability

The ability to risk emotional exposure to find our true individual and collective strength. Great leaders know how to engage in and trust the process while letting go of perfection. ~Tracey Holland

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