Traits of a Leader


Ann Golden Egle asked:

Great leaders have many traits in common, one of which is authenticity. What is an authentic leader then? It is clearly seeing and knowing all of ‘you’–the good, bad and ugly.

It’s you accepting the ‘you’ that you want to ignore or even hide. When those who seek to be leaders don’t accept all aspects of themselves, they create two fatal errors.

First, what you resist persists. If you resist your fear, it only builds. If you resist your anger, it grows larger and larger until it becomes unmanageable.

On the other hand, if you will take a good hard look at yourself; ask others for feedback, and admit who you are—the good, bad and ugly (and we all have good, bad and ugly aspects to us) – then you can make a plan.

For example, if you have a fear of public speaking or you sense that you are not the best communicator, join Toastmasters or a support group to help you become more proficient. In addition, you’ll benefit because your communication skills will become more authentic.

We all know would-be leaders who failed due to improper communication. Had they accepted this weakness and formed a plan to overcome it, they would have succeeded.

Secondly, your worst traits (those you’re embarrassed by) could be the very thing that helps you get off the dime and make some progress in your career. Take the people-pleaser for example. Whether you’re a man or a woman, a people pleaser wants to make good contributions to the team, not be seen as someone who is disruptive and fractured.

Their biggest fear is to be labeled a manipulator or worse. A strong leader knows enough about who he is to consider himself authentic and then be able to tap into his inner resources to motivate his team. They see their ability to be multifaceted as a tool rather than something to hide.

Here’s what authenticity may sound like: “I am a strong leader and sometimes I am weak; I am a big-hearted giver, yet sometimes I am thrifty; I am very outgoing and I enjoy making people laugh, but I place a strong value on silent time; I am one of the most compassionate people you’ll ever meet yet you don’t want to be on my bad side!”

This week give yourself full permission to let all authenticity shine. You may be surprised at what opens up for you. You could craft yourself into an authentic leader. Enjoy your discoveries and have a great week!

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