4 Essential Traits of a Great Leader

Leadership is a demanding role that requires a discriminating blend of expertise, awareness, courage, and persuasiveness.

Expertise is functional, experiential, or perceived. What you’ve gotten good at, that others recognize, defines the first part of the leadership equation for you. It answers the question: “Do you know what you’re talking about?”

Awareness is about how plugged in you are to your followers, your market, and your industry. “Do you know what’s really going on” with your employees, shareholders, customers, competitors, suppliers, regulators, and politicians?

Courage is all about making decisions crisply, intelligently, and with conviction. “Do you have the guts to address what’s really going on?”

Persuasiveness is about convincing others that you’ve done the work necessary to understand the challenges before you and that you have the capacity to lead. “Do I believe the answers to the first three questions?”

Leadership is only one part you, many parts them. And this represents the trick question: “Can you get past you to serve them?”

The truth of the matter is that leadership is only partially about you. It’s true that you have to have the right stuff—expertise, awareness, courage and persuasiveness. More than that, it’s about what you can do through them. It’s about your ability to convince others that your view of the future is exciting and accessible, challenging and satisfying, as good for them as it is for you.

Categories: Leadership

About Susan Marshall

founder susan marshall

Susan A. Marshall is author, speaker and founder, whose mission is to create a stronger, more confident future, one person or team at a time.  Through personal experience and hands-on work with executives from diverse industries at all levels, Susan has had the privilege of helping thousands of people do the difficult and exhilarating work of growth.