Whom would you consider the most influential people in your life? Think of the answer to that question in terms of both past and present. Whose advice and guidance have you willingly followed? Whom have you allowed to impact your life? As you think about the answer to these questions, then ask yourself a very important follow up question. Why did you willingly follow and allow those people to lead and influence you? The answer to this question will likely reveal to you the most important characteristics of leadership.
In their excellent book, The Truth About Leadership, James Kouzes and Barry Posner reveal the results of a study where participants were to select characteristics of their most admired leader (Kouzes,Posner, 2010, p.17-19). The respondents were from six continents. The four qualities of the most admired leaders that continuously received an average of over 60 percent of the votes were as follows:
How many of the above four qualities did the leader have that you chose in answer to the questions above?
Here is the lesson for you and me. Each of us are leaders with the potential and ability to help others achieve a higher level of success than they ever thought possible. It is an awesome responsibility and within our grasp daily. Our effectiveness will largely depend on how well we incorporate the above four qualities into our lives and live them every day.
*Kouzes, James & Posner, Barry, (2010), The Truth About Leadership