A Closer Look at Leadership Traits

Looking at leadership traits can help us understand what we see when we observe leaders in action.  Lets take a closer look.  Gaining a better understanding of basic leadership traits can also help us evaluate leaders to determine if they are truly leaders or not.  How leaders live out their leadership traits is can be an indicator  of authenticity and consistency in their leadership.  So let’s take a closer look and gain a clear perspective on what these traits mean.

To begin with, the traits we are discussing are what we see when we observe leaders in action.  We can begin to grow our confidence in the leader when we can see the leader living out these traits.  These traits are not a complete list of the qualities needed to be a leader.  We should look at these traits as foundational traits simply because they are necessary in a wide variety of leadership situations.


A very important trait for authentic leaders is Integrity and it is described as the quality of honesty and trustworthiness of a leader.   An example of leaders leading with integrity means they have and adhere to a strong set of principals and take personal responsibility for their actions.  Taking personal responsibility means they accept responsibility and do not point fingers or blame others when things go wrong.

These people inspire others and generally can be counted on to do what they say they are going to do.  Integrity is that quality that makes them worthy of our trust and confidence.


The trait of self-confidence actually describes several aspects of the person as leader.

Self-confidence emphasizes ones ability to be certain about their competencies and skills. This includes self-esteem, self-assurance and the belief that they can make a difference.  Self-confidence allows the leader to effectively influence others and be assured their actions are appropriate and right.


This describes the strong desire to get the job done – sometimes at all costs.  This drive and determination helps leaders overcome obstacles, road blocks, problems and interruptions in order to reach their goal.  Some other terms that help describe this quality is initiative, persistence, and drive.   Folks with strong determination are willing to be assertive and proactive in solving problems.  Sometimes determination may be displayed by leaders being directive and displaying dominance over others focusing on achieving goals.


This trait, along with intellectual ability has been related to effective leadership.   Leaders with strong ability to communicate their ideas clearly, are perceptive, intuitive and can apply sound reasoning make better leaders.   Particular important is intellect associate within the context of their leadership environment.  Such as a leader with considerable experience and training in their field: business, military, non-profits, ministry, etc.  These folks bring a large body of knowledge both technical but also how to apply this knowledge most effectively in certain situations.  these folks realize that evrey situation will be different and the application of knowledge and experience is necessary for successful outcomes.


The leaders with this trait tend to focus on others and seek out pleasant, satisfying socisal relationships.  Friendly, outgoing, courteous, tactful and and diplomatic they can keep the issue the issue and maintain quality relationships, even with people they disagree with.   These folks show concern for others and maintain positive working relationships with their subordinates.

Consider this…

How does this deeper understanding of some basic leadership traits help you see these traits lived out in you?  Have any co-workers, peers or subordinates commented on these traits either positively or negatively relating to your own leadership potential?

Reference: Leadership Theory and Practice, Peter G. Northouse, 2004