15 Common Characteristics of Effective Leaders

Diverse Managers

Leaders are diverse!  They come in different nationalities, gender, generations, personality profiles, etc.  They come from different life experiences. For example, although they were both war time presidents, President Roosevelt led and communicated differently from President Harry Truman.  Though Harriet Tubman and Dr. King were both civil rights leaders, their leadership styles were very different.  And, as CEO’s, Steve Jobs differed from Jack Welch in how he led his organization. These and other examples show that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to leadership.

Despite the many differences that effective leaders possess, they do have some common characteristics.  Here are 15 common characteristics of effective leaders:

  1. They are clear about what needs to be done.
  2. They can express their vision of a desirable future in simple language.
  3. They are idea generators.
  4. They inspire others to follow them.
  5. They challenge assumptions.
  6. They accept and use conflict as needed.
  7. They are imitated by others.
  8. They are persistent about getting results.
  9. When they speak, others listen to them (even their detractors).
  10. They are convincing people.
  11. They recognize and utilize the unique value of others.
  12. They tackle difficult problems.
  13. They can accept not being liked.
  14. They are not paralyzed by mistakes; they move on.
  15. They have their limitations.

These are 15 common characteristics of effective leaders.  There are other common traits.  What would you add to this list?

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