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Can You Spot A Leader?

There is a lot written and a lot of discussion on the subject: “What makes a Leader?” So, guess what? I’m going to weigh in on the subject and share some of my observations of “Leaders and Almost Leaders.”


Let me start by creating a construct of “where I’m coming from.” There is a long list of traits, attributes, and behaviors that might be universally present. I’m not going to review a long list; instead, I will share my short list, and you can add to mine or even subtract from it. I hope that you will ponder my list and think about “leadership” and its place in the “professional you.”


Leaders I have had the pleasure of observing and interacting with exhibit the capacity to focus on goals that have a short-term immediacy and while also focusing on big-picture implications and consequences. They can function in the “heat of the moment” and rise above the moment, and see the bigger picture of the root causes and future possible implications. Not only can they appreciate the immediate goal and problem to be solved, but they can “anticipate” what may lie ahead. It is a trait, skill that creates trust in those reporting to this Leader.


Leaders also exhibit an “empathetic capacity”. That’s the ability to actually “listen for understanding”. It’s called “emotional intelligence”. It is the willingness to listen to others; others with whom they may not agree on the interpretation of “what, why or how”.  They have a willingness to learn. They are mentally flexible. Leaders appreciate that better understanding can lead them to improved and more productive outcomes. In short form, they recognize that knowledge can expand their power over problems.


So, this is my shortlist. What would you add?



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