Four Traits of Great Leaders

Great leadersWhat are the traits that all great leaders possess?

Robert Mann has spent the past 43 years developing leadership evaluation tools to help any leader identify their strengths and weaknesses.

Mann, the author of The Measure of a Leader, shares his thoughts on leadership traits in a recent interview with Inc. magazine contributor Minda Zeltin.

Good Leaders Have a Mission

Organizations and leaders need purpose, says Mann, and good leaders know how to share that mission with others.

“You must be able to understand that and communicate it to a group of people such that they will commit themselves to it. And you have to have a strategy for them to follow to achieve that mission.”

Having a mission or a vision for how you’d like to see your organization grow and evolve  is key to developing a competent leadership style.

Good Leaders Create Strong Organizations

A vision is a start, but good leaders understand how to take the current organization of a company and help it achieve more.

“This is important because the leader needs to understand and manage not only the mission but also the structure of the organization, with sub-leaders who are also important to the company achieving its goals.”

Knowing where your company is right now will steer planning for where you want it to head.

Good Leaders Have Strong Interpersonal Skills

Vision and organizational management won’t take you far unless you can clearly communicate with those under your leadership.

“Interpersonal behavior will very strongly affect how people feel about the organization’s goals, and whether working toward those goals is worthwhile,” Mann says.

Good Leaders are Good Motivators

Motivating those under your leadership to accomplish more and move towards the vision you’ve established is the final trait Mann identifies, but he notes motivation doesn’t necessarily mean everyone loves the leader.

“Some leaders rely on the exercise of power — coercion — to motivate employees, or by the exercise of authority granted to a leader with superior skill or commitment. A third way to motivate is with charisma, so that people are drawn to the leader.”

Different situations call for different forms of motivation, he says. “You have to adapt your performance to the culture of your organization.”

Which traits do you exhibit in your leadership?