4 Traits every leader must have

Reading a new book from James Kouzes and Barry Posner entitled The Truth about Leadership. I recommend you read it. Kouzes and Posner have been studying and doing research on the topic of leadership for the past 30 years. One of their books, The Leadership Challenge, is a classic and must read. They explain in The Truth about Leadership that, based on their research over the last 30 years, there are 4 key traits that every leader must have. These 4 traits continually show up at the top of the list in terms of what people on a team expect and desire from their leaders. Every year these are the top four in their research projects, regardless of economy, recessions, growth of the internet, political landscape, etc.

1. HONESTY- telling the truth. Your team needs to believe you are worthy of their trust. Knowing in your heart that you truly believe what you are saying, and they can believe it too.

2. FORWARD-LOOKING- having a sense of direction and concern for the future of the organization. You must know where you are going if you expect others to willingly join you on the journey. People won't willingly follow you until they can see how they share in the future you envision.

3. INSPIRING- people on your team expect you to be positive, upbeat, and optimistic. Your energy signals your personal level of commitment. Sharing enthusiasm, excitement, and energy. You have to give your team reason to believe that tomorrow will be even better than today.

4. COMPETENT- your ability to get things done. People have to believe you know what you're talking about and you know what you're doing. Competence inspires confidence in the team that you'll be able to guide the enterprise in the direction it needs to go.

Honest, forward-looking, inspiring, and competent. Traits/qualities that your team is looking for in you.

Ultimately, these four are evidence of the fact that people want to follow leaders who are CREDIBLE. Who do what they say they will do. People want to follow a leader who is believable. Your team wants to believe that your word can be trusted, you are passionate about the work you are doing, you know where you are headed, and you have the necessary knowledge and skill to lead.