The Desk

April 18, 2014

Traits of a Great Leader

Today’s HR Daily Advisor has an article that itemizes the 14 traits of a great leader according to Marvin Bower and then talks about the qualities of those traits. The 14 traits are listed here.

  1. Trustworthiness
  2. Fairness
  3. Unassuming behavior
  4. Listening
  5. Open-minded
  6. Sensitivity to people
  7. Sensitivity to situations
  8. Initiative
  9. Good judgment
  10. Broad-mindedness
  11. Flexibility and adaptability
  12. Capacity to make sound and timely decisions
  13. Capacity to motivate
  14. Sense of urgency

You can go to the article to read a discussion of each attribute.

The order of these traits is interesting; I speculate about whether they’re ranked in order of importance or not. Whatever the ranking system, the next thing to consider is whether you, in your career goals, have these traits or not and what you can do to develop them. Author of the article, Dan Oswald, tells us many of these attributes cannot be taught but can be learned and developed. I would venture to say having reliable mentors and coaches is one way to accomplish the learning and development involved. Further, these coaches and mentors should demonstrate these attributes in their own dealings, no matter what the industry.

And then comes the tricky part – does Boss have these qualities. If not, which are excusable and which ones aren’t required in that milieu.

There’s one very important characteristic that’s missing from Bowers list. Have you been wondering about its absence? Perhaps we should talk about that one another day. It’s “good ethics.”

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