Leadership – Ten Traits That Describe Authentic Leaders


Here’s a quick list of characteristics and habits that describe genuine leaders. We’ve all seen lists like this, but to add a different layer of description, each attribute in this list of leadership is balanced by the opposite quality. Sometimes we need to develop a quick profile of the people around us to assist us in selecting employees, friends or role models. Maybe you’re just curious to see how you stack up as a leader.


1. Know the difference between having a reason based upon fact, and an excuse meant to evade or limit their liability.

2. Are accountable, accepting the burden of duty; they do not rationalize, trying to dodge responsibility or justify their failures.

3. Speak in terms of what can be done, not what can’t be done.

4. Always have a back up plan, they are prepared for contingencies; they do not rely on chance, blaming whatever goes wrong on simple happenstance, outside the limits of their control.

5. Work with vision and purpose; they are not erratic, unstable or unpredictable.

6. Are proactive, controlling events; they are not reactive, letting events dictate to them.

7. Bloom in challenging times; they don’t wilt under pressure.

8. Are adaptable and flexible; they are not intractable, nor do they freeze up when confronted with unexpected changes in conditions or plans.

9. Build others up; they do not tear others down.

10. Expect complete integrity and dedication to mission, personally setting the performance bar; they do not set standards for others while exempting themselves.

There are some aspects of leadership that can be learned. However, it is not possible for everyone to master all ten of these characteristics. We can’t all be concert pianists either. The world would be a mess if everyone were a leader; who would follow?

Leadership is not a value judgment. May I suggest that we think of it as a particular combination of talents and temperament. One who is an authentic leader is not necessarily a better person than one who is not.

This list of ten traits is meant to help you accurately visualize what genuine leadership looks like. Use it as a guide and method for comparison. To be an authentic leader you must do what authentic leaders do.


writers by Lynn Baber

Define Leadership – What is Leadership?


This article attempts to define leadership. Why? Because ‘what is leadership?’ is a question I get asked often. When you understand the definition of leadership, you will understand why leadership is everything.

In this article, I will define leadership in several ways and highlight how it plays out in practice. Let’s begin with the simplest definition of leadership.

So, what is leadership?

Leadership is the ability to command acceptance by a group of people and thus, get them to do what the leader wants. The person providing this direction and commanding acceptance is called the leader.

From this definition of leadership, it is obvious that the leader is the person whom others accept to show them the way.

However, you probably are aware that a leader can be imposed on a group of people against their will. For example, a military coup can bring a leader to power. This leader was not voted for or accepted by his people. But he ascended the leadership seat by virtue of military might or military intrigues.

Can this military dictatorship be referred to as a form of leadership over the people?

Of course, yes.

Obviously, this indicates that our definition of leadership above is not all-inclusive. Something is missing. So, let’s define leadership again.

What is leadership?

Leadership is the ability to provide direction to a group of people and influence those people to follow the direction and act accordingly.

This seems like a better definition. But it still does not take into cognizance the fact that a leader may not necessarily influence his people in the accepted sense of the word.

The word ‘influence’ suggests that the leader motivated people to follow his direction. Influence can also be defined as the ability of an individual or group of individuals to get others to conform to their expectations or requirements. Either way, it implies willing acceptance to follow the instructions or directions of the leader for whatever reason the individuals decide to do so.

But when the leader has to compel, force, or coerce people to do what he says, it is no longer influence. Nevertheless, the person who uses coersion, brute force or some other unethical means to get others to do as he says is still a leader.

That brings us to the realm of leadership styles.

A leader can be…

A charismatic leader

An autocratic leader

A dictator

… or whatever other leadership style he wishes to adopt.

Whatever his approach to leadership, he is still a leader.

Now that we have established that, let’s refine our definition. Let’s define leadership again in a manner that is all-encompassing.

I ask the question again: what is leadership?

Here’s the simple answer.

Leadership is the ability to influence other people to act in line with your expectations willingly or otherwise.

Everything or anything the leader does to accomplish the goal of gaining followership merely defines the style of leadership. It does not define the concept of leadership.

Bottom line.

Understand the true meaning of leadership. Understand how this affects you. Understand why people often say everything rises and falls on leadership. Then plug yourself in to reap the benefits of effective leadership.

Leadership is about results. It’s about managing followers in such a way that you deliver on set objectives.

Sorry, even that statement is an error.

A leader may not achieve set objectives. A leader may be terribly disappointing and shalow but is he still the leader?

Well, if he is the man in charge, he is the leader.

So, there is good leadership and bad leadership. What determines whether leadership is good or bad depends on the leadership style adopted by the leader and the quality of the results achieved.

Want to be a good leader?

Understand leadership and… get results!


Seven Personal Characteristics Of A Good Leader


How often have you heard the comment, “He or she is a born leader?” There are certain characteristics found in some people that seem to naturally put them in a position where they’re looked up to as a leader.

Whether in fact a person is born a leader or develops skills and abilities to become a leader is open for debate. There are some clear characteristics that are found in good leaders. These qualities can be developed or may be naturally part of their personality. Let us explore them further.


1. A good leader has an exemplary character. It is of utmost importance that a leader is trustworthy to lead others. A leader needs to be trusted and be known to live their life with honestly and integrity. A good leader “walks the talk” and in doing so earns the right to have responsibility for others. True authority is born from respect for the good character and trustworthiness of the person who leads.

2. A good leader is enthusiastic about their work or cause and also about their role as leader. People will respond more openly to a person of passion and dedication. Leaders need to be able to be a source of inspiration, and be a motivator towards the required action or cause. Although the responsibilities and roles of a leader may be different, the leader needs to be seen to be part of the team working towards the goal. This kind of leader will not be afraid to roll up their sleeves and get dirty.

3. A good leader is confident. In order to lead and set direction a leader needs to appear confident as a person and in the leadership role. Such a person inspires confidence in others and draws out the trust and best efforts of the team to complete the task well. A leader who conveys confidence towards the proposed objective inspires the best effort from team members.

4. A leader also needs to function in an orderly and purposeful manner in situations of uncertainty. People look to the leader during times of uncertainty and unfamiliarity and find reassurance and security when the leader portrays confidence and a positive demeanor.

5. Good leaders are tolerant of ambiguity and remain calm, composed and steadfast to the main purpose. Storms, emotions, and crises come and go and a good leader takes these as part of the journey and keeps a cool head.

6. A good leader, as well as keeping the main goal in focus, is able to think analytically. Not only does a good leader view a situation as a whole, but is able to break it down into sub parts for closer inspection. While keeping the goal in view, a good leader can break it down into manageable steps and make progress towards it.

7. A good leader is committed to excellence. Second best does not lead to success. The good leader not only maintains high standards, but also is proactive in raising the bar in order to achieve excellence in all areas.

These seven personal characteristics are foundational to good leadership. Some characteristics may be more naturally present in the personality of a leader. However, each of these characteristics can also be developed and strengthened. A good leader whether they naturally possess these qualities or not, will be diligent to consistently develop and strengthen them in their leadership role.


writers by Barbara White