The Four Traits All Great Leaders Possess
If you Google “What makes a great leader” you get about 26 million results. Aspiring leaders are inundated with advice on how to become one of the greats. It has been my experience as a leader of successful companies that great leadership comes not from daily “how-tos” but from a deeper internal makeup of the leader. This makeup can be summarized in four traits.
The first is vision. Vision is more than seeing the final product. It is seeing the steps along the way that bring you to the final product. It is understanding the implications of decisions throughout the development. A key differentiator, a great leader will act upon a vision while a good leader will admire the vision without action. Until there is action and dedication to the completion, a vision is nothing more than a dream.
The second is instinctive intelligence. Instinctive intelligence is being able to know things, see things and act upon things with an understanding that cannot be taught in a textbook. This is related to vision in that great leaders are able to see the entire picture, understand the implications and make judgments based on instinctual knowledge. This trait, while fundamentally based in instinct that a leader is born with, can be developed over time through thoughtful learning from past decisions and a deeper understanding of the industry inner workings.
The third trait all great leaders posses is persistence. There will never be a great accomplishment that comes easily without resistance. Persistence comes in all forms and great leaders need to have it in every situation. Persistence is tied to the previous two traits in that, someone who does not see the overall vision will not be able to see past the immediate disruption. A good leader could by delayed unnecessarily by a roadblock that seems overwhelming. A great leader will see beyond the roadblock to their final product and will use their instinctive intelligence to find a way around.
The fourth trait in all great leaders is a passion and a drive to win. Full-hearted belief in the vision, refusal to be stopped by resistance and an emotional connection to the end product creates a powerful passion in great leaders that cannot be rivaled by others. The vision becomes an integral part of these great leaders. It becomes part of their identity and they defend it and work towards its success as though it was a living piece of them.
What other traits do you think make a great leader? What do you believe is your strongest trait as a great leader?