As a leadership coach, I have the privilege of working with some of the best leaders around the world, and I’m able to see firsthand the consistent attributes that make them the kind of leader that people admire.
These traits are surprising in their simplicity. Even so, they’re not easy to cultivate—but if you make the effort you’ll not only earn admiration but also inspire others to work together toward your shared goals.
Here are the five most important attributes shared by admired leaders:
They say what they mean and mean what they say. They encourage confidence and demonstrate consistency to everyone in the organization at all times. This straightforward honesty is among the strongest traits anyone can bring to leadership.
They take ownership of their mistakes and failures. The most admired leaders own their own decisions and actions—good and bad. Many people are quick to hold others to account, but admired leaders hold themselves accountable above all. They don’t blame anyone else or downplay the consequences of their failures and mistakes. Whatever the situations, they hold themselves to high standards.
They develop solutions and solve problems collaboratively. For those who lead from ownership, the next step is seeking solutions to organizational problems. That doesn’t mean micromanagement but collaboration, a system in which everyone is included in developing a solution. And because everyone has a voice, people better understand the proposed solutions and everyone can move forward together to execute the desired outcome.
They leverage assets, relationships and resources to get the job done. The most admired leaders know that solving problems and creating solutions require that they make use of their most important assets, relationships and resources to get the job done. Because they have worked to maintain a store of goodwill at every level, they are able to bring together people and resources to accomplish extraordinary things. It takes a compelling person to rally an organization to work together toward a common goal.
They check their ego at the door. The last trait, and maybe the most important, is that of leading with humility. These leaders have built a culture of trust—one in which they know they can depend on their people, and their people know they can depend on their leader, as they work together to accomplish the needed results and support the organization’s mission.
These traits may sound like things that are easy to develop, but they are not—they take commitment, drive, and the will to forge strong connections with the members of your team.
Working to build the attributes of admired leadership is challenging, but if you put in the effort you and your organization will benefit—no matter what kind of industry or organization you’re working in, whatever your leadership position or title. When you lead with these traits your outcomes will be consistently successful—and you will be consistently admired.
Lead from within: An admired leader is the thread that ties people together and aligns everyone to succeed as a unit.