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Four Traits of a Good Leader

Many of the things I learn about leadership have come from either my failures as a leader, or conversely, the good examples of those leaders who inspire me to follow. This list is no different. I am no leadership expert; I have just seen things that have characterized leaders I would follow. Here are a few:

  1. A good leader takes responsibility. It’s probably pretty obvious that a leader ought to take responsibility. It’s also evident to anyone who has paid attention to the world that many leaders do not. A good leader will take responsibility for everything that he or she leads. It’s an easy trait to have when things are going well. It’s a sign of honest authenticity when things aren’t.
  2. A good leader takes ownership. Ownership is the father of responsibility. A good leader considers that which he leads as his. Like a father looks to his children as his own, regardless of their gifts or the lack thereof, a good leader looks to his responsibilities as his. It is his task to cultivate and grow the gardens that are his.
  3. A good leader knows how to critique without being a jerk. Perhaps there is a more John Maxwellian-way of saying that, but anyone who has had bad leadership has experienced the emotional payload that “jerk-critique” conveys. I’m not saying critique isn’t necessary. But being a jerk isn’t.
  4. A good leader knows how to redirect good people with bad ideas. Bad ideas aren’t even always bad within and of themselves. But a good leader has a clear vision of what must be accomplished, and those things that will either help or hinder the mission. But more than a clear vision, a good leader can guide followers toward the same lane without damaging the follower or the lane.

While there are a plethora of skills that could be listed here (I mean…Google leadership traits), these are some of the most potent. Like tools in the hands of a master craftsman, with these characteristics a good leaders builds powerfully.