Fifteen Characteristics of Great Leaders

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Fifteen Characteristics of Great Leaders

I am fascinated by the literature of leadership. Not only is there an abundance of books and articles on the subject, there are many subgroup topics that are becoming genres themselves.

One of the areas of leadership where I have done my most recent literary research is that of high level leadership. What are the characteristics of the highest-performing leaders? How are they distinguished from other levels of leadership? Jim Collins, for example, has contributed greatly to the concept with his research on “Level 5 Leaders.”

Over the past few weeks, I have accumulated the distinguishing characteristics of high-level leaders from a number of written sources. For the purpose of this article, I will list them without comment. I do hope to return to this topic in future articles to unpack some of the characteristics. For now, here are fifteen traits of great leaders:

1. Great leaders see possibilities rather than obstacles.
2. Great leaders do not blame others.
3. Great leaders do not have a victim mentality.
4. Great leaders give credit to others.
5. Great leaders seek what is best for the organization rather than for themselves.
6. Great leaders learn to respond to some critics and to ignore others.
7. Great leaders are able to see past the latest obstacle or challenge.
8. Great leaders are continuous learners.
9. Great leaders exhibit true humility.
10. Great leaders admit their mistakes.
11. Great leaders take calculated risks.
12. Great leaders are more likely to make quick decisions.
13. Great leaders have a love and a passion for what they do.
14. Great leaders are first great leaders in their families.
15. Great leaders mentor others to become great leaders.

What do you think about these characteristics? What would you add or delete?

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