Traits of a Leader

LeadershipOne of our projects is running an Emerging Leaders program for up-and- coming Emergency Managers from across the country.  Sponsored by Target Corporation and ESRI, this program brings in leaders from each of these companies as well as Directors of Emergency Management from some of the largest cities and jurisdictions in the country to discuss leadership issues. Recently, I had the pleasure of facilitating a panel of such leaders. A question posed by a student was “what are the leadership traits that have made you successful?” Traits noted were:

  •  “Say-do” ratio. If you say you are going to do it, then do it.
  •  Persistence. Don’t give up even in the face of pushback.
  •  Selflessness. It’s not about you. Focusing on your success does not provide success.  Focus on those around you.
  •  Transparent. Don’t hide your thoughts or the situation.
  •  Self awareness. Know your strengths and weaknesses. Know how you show up to others and how you show up in stressful situations.  Do you tend to make quick decisions or make no decisions at all? Do you tend to react with noticeable anger or appear too calm as though there are no issues at all?
  •  Ask for help. This is a collaborative society. Don’t try to do it all and don’t try to do it all alone.
  •  Be calm in a crisis. Leaders can cause chaos if they are not calm. Don’t let the disaster manage you.

What was most amazing to me was the concurrence from senior public and private sector executives that this list is accurate. There was no differentiation based on if you’re part of a for profit business or if you’re a government employee.

Do you have these traits? What are others you would add to this list?