What are the primary characteristics of leadership? Numerous lists of leadership characteristics exist, and the characteristics that are included on each list depend on the person making it. However, there do seem to be some common characteristics of leadership that show up on the majority of lists.
Many leaders possess all of the following characteristics of leadership. These individuals are:
- Visionary – They have the ability to have a dream, share that dream, and explore ways to execute that dream. One of the greatest examples of a leader with vision is Martin Luther King Jr. He had a vision of how the future should be. He was able to communicate that dream to others and get them to believe in his vision. In addition, he was able to mobilize people to action once the dream was communicated. The vision is what propelled people to act in order to attain a different future.
- Self-conscious – They know themselves. They understand their feelings, their emotions, and their moods. They know how to operate within themselves. This is usually reflected in their level of confidence and their awareness of their strengths and weaknesses. A great leader understands what causes their feelings to fluctuate and they are aware of their surroundings.
- Self-controlled – They are not impulsive or reactive. They can control their feelings, and are able to make rational decisions. Leaders can sit down and assess a situation even if it disrupts their natural thought process. Many people are ruled by their emotions. They act and react based upon what is going on around them and how they feel at the time. People, who possess characteristics of leadership, including self-control, do not do this. They are able to focus their thoughts and actions despite what they are feeling.
- Driven – They know what they want and they go after it. Their motivation is not always money or status; often it is just meeting a goal which they have set for themselves. Leaders have the ability to motivate themselves and others. Their drive and passion makes people believe in them and their dream. This drive is what fuels the fire into the future.
- Sociable – They like people. They are friendly, and people enjoy having them around. Leaders focus on building relationships, encouraging people, and establishing connections. They recognize that relationships are foundational to building any dream, and that a strong team can overcome a lot more than one man can.
- Compassionate – Their sociability overflows to care. They are not sociable just to gain rapport; they actually are compassionate towards the feelings and need of the people around them. Leaders spend time outside of work caring and communicating with people. They care about what matters to other people, not just their own concerns.
As you look at these characteristics of leadership you may have noticed that they are all attributes that can be learned. Make no mistake; you, too, can master these characteristics of leadership and become the leader you have always wanted to be.