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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Traits and Attributes of a Good Leader

I found this article in my archive of documents and thought it was important to post it now. If you have been following this blog for any length of time you know I focus a lot of time and energy on leadership and project management. My favorite authors are Dr. Stephen Covey and Tom Peters. Both have a lot to say on the subject of leadership.

I believe the text below is solely attributable to the Santa Clara University and the Tom Peters Group.

Hopefully someone that is leadership challenged will receive value from reading this.

Traits of a Good Leader

• Honesty - Display sincerity, integrity, and candor in all your actions. Deceptive behavior will not inspire trust.

• Competent - Your actions should be based on reason and moral principles. Do not make decisions based on childlike emotional desires or feelings.

• Forward-looking Set goals and have a vision of the future. The vision must be owned throughout the organization. Effective leaders envision what they want and how to get it. They habitually pick priorities stemming from their basic values.

• Inspiring - Display confidence in all that you do. By showing endurance in mental, physical, and spiritual stamina, you will inspire others to reach for new heights. Take charge when necessary.

• Intelligent - Read, study, and seek challenging assignments.

• Fair-minded - Show fair treatment to all people. Prejudice is the enemy of justice. Display empathy by being sensitive to the feelings, values, interests, and well-being of others.

• Broad-minded - Seek out diversity.

• Courageous - Have the perseverance to accomplish a goal, regardless of the seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Display a confident calmness when under stress.

• Straightforward - Use sound judgment to make a good decisions at the right time.

• Imaginative - Make timely and appropriate changes in your thinking, plans, and methods. Show creativity by thinking of new and better goals, ideas, and solutions to problems. Be innovative!


Attributes establish what leaders are, and every leader needs at least three of them:

Standard Bearers

Establish the ethical framework within an organization. This demands a commitment to live and defend the climate and culture that you want to permeate your organization. What you set as an example will soon become the rule as unlike knowledge, ethical behavior is learned more by observing that by listening. And in fast moving situations, examples become certainty. Being a standard bearer creates trust and openness in your employees, who in turn, fulfill your visions.


Help others learn through teaching, training, and coaching. This creates an exciting place to work and learn. Never miss an opportunity to teach or learn something new yourself. Coaching suggests someone who cares enough to get involved by encouraging and developing others who are less experienced. Employees who work for developers know that they can take risks, learn by making mistakes, and winning in the end.


Orchestrate the many activities that take place throughout an organization by providing a view of the future and the ability to obtain it. Success can only be achieved when there is a unity of effort. Integrators have a sixth sense about where problems will occur and make their presence felt during critical times. They know that their employees do their best when they are left to work within a vision-based framework.

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