There are 9 common traits of history's most effective leaders. This according to Charles A. Tribbett III, Andrea Redmond, and Bruce Kasanoff, authors of the 2004 book, Business Evolves, Leadership Endures.
I think it is worth reviewing their observations in 2010 and I certainly recommend reading what they have written. As we are called on to provide effective leadership, each one of these traits is worth striving for.
1. The Commitment Not to Lead a Little Life: If there is one trait that leaders share throughout history, it is the unshakeable commitment to live a life that matters.
2. Vision: To lead others, leaders must have a destination in mind and be absolutely commited to making a vision come true.
3. Voice: Armed with commitment and vision, leaders need a voice – a manner of communicating that others not only hear but also wish to follow.
4. Heart: Leaders with heart are capable of inspiring others through example, whether this takes the form of incredible work ethic or a contagious passion.
5. Team Building: To leave a lasting legacy many leaders build organizations that are not dependent on one person, but are self-sustaining entities in which people and processes work toward common goals.
6. Backbone: There are times when mere talent and insight are not enough, and leaders have to summon unimaginable strength and internal fortitude to persist in the face of overwhelming obstacles.
7. Listening: Real listening empowers leaders as it conveys the information needed to make wise decisions.
8. Emotional Intelligence: By understanding and managing not only one’s own emotions, but also those of other people, leaders earn deserved respect, trust and confidence.
9. Diversity: History, business and nature teach us that the surest way to survive – and thrive- over the long run is to foster diversity of thought, behavior and approach. Tomorrow’s leaders must master diversity.
Like me, you probably don't feel like you are the epitome of all nine of these characteristics. But, along with many other traits that the leaders you respect show, these nine can challenge us to reach up and forward to be the best that we can be.