The Top 7 Characteristics a Leader Should Possess

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I made a post awhile ago about some of the characteristics I thought you should have as a leader, but I wanted to update my thoughts and add a few more qualities I feel you should have in this and day and age not only to be a good leader, but to be a great leader.

As I sat down and started thinking about what I would classify the top seven characteristics of a leader to be these are the top seven that came to my mind.


The dictionary defines Integrity as: “adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty”

Integrity means you have an inner purpose and drive to do what is right.  You know what you need to do.  

You also know that you're always going to strive to do the right thing not only for yourself, but also for your people. 

Integrity is also about those times when times get tough, and they will believe me, you will be tempted do bad things, or to do wrong things, but your Integrity is the thing that will keep you on the right path.


As a leader it's important that we don't forget where we came from and that we don't forget what the most important commodity in any business is, the “people”

I think it's important that we as Leaders always have a service mindset. 

We need to serve people, and we need to serve others besides ourselves.  

We need to take care of our staff,  we need to take care of our business, and we need to take care of one another.  

The day you quit thinking about Service and Serving others is the day maybe you need to take a step back and try to figure out what kind of Leader are you trying to become?

Positive Attitude:

I believe that it's important that you have a positive attitude because I believe that attitude decides everything.  

Attitude decides a lot of what you do and how you do it without a positive attitude you won't go very far in life or in business.  

I think that no matter who you are be it an individual or part of an organization we always look to our leaders to have a positive attitude. A positive attitude is so powerful I have personally seen it change the mood in room, change the tone of negotiations, change the tone of an upset customer, or even change the way a company or organization operates.  
If you question the power of a Positive Attitude just look around your group or organization and see who the Leaders are, I bet you will find that all of them will have A Positive Attitude.


Another characteristic that I think it's important is Listening. I think it's very, very important that you listen not only to your customers and to your staff, but also management, and stakeholders.  

By listening to these groups the information you will gleam will be invaluable to you as a Leader. With that being said I think we should also note that it's important that you listen to yourself.  

Some times leaders are so busy listening to others that they don't stop to ponder and think.  

Leaders have to make decisions and how are you suppose to make decisions if you don't have time to process the information you have gathered from Listening?  

Listening is the first step in a chain of events that cant be ignored if you want to make good decisions and be a great Leader.

Taking Action:

This is a quality that I think in today's society is usually stopped because we tend to over think everything.  

As a leader there is going to come a time when a decision needs to be made or some course of “Action” need to happen and people are going to look to you to take that action.  

It is your responsibility as a Leader to recognize that even though you might be taking baby steps toward the goals at least you are moving forward and you are “Taking Action”.  

We must also understand that we are all going to make mistakes and we need to learn from our mistakes but 9 out of 10 times taking some Action is better than no action at all.  

If we do not take action and execute on the plans we will be ineffective Leader and let's get to the point here, do we need any more ineffective Leaders in our world today?

Be Disruptive:

What I mean by this is you need to be able to look at things differently then other people.  You need to see solutions and niches where other people don't see anything.  

You need to be a lateral thinker, and take that lateral thinking to the next level and be a disruptive thinker.  
No change in any industry is ever going to take place by trying to fit into what is already happening.  You need to stand out, you need to be different, you need to have a different mindset and have a different view of things if you want to get ahead in today's world.  

The time for conformity and being the same as everyone else on the conveyor line are over.  

If you can't look at things differently and attack problems from different angles and come up with new ways to solve problems and to look at solutions differently in this day and age you are going to be out of business.

Lead by Example:

This quality is probably one of the most important if not the most important quality on this list.  

In today's society there are a lot people who talk the talk, but very few who actually walk the walk.  

Fewer that even walk the path that they themselves preach to others.  

What kind of message are you sending to your team or to others when you share your Vision, share a goal, or an objective you want the team to achieve then they see you the Leader out there doing just the opposite?  

If you can't lead by example, should you even call yourself a leader at all?  

Hey not everyone can be a leader and I think most of us understand that, but if you can't walk the walk then own that and don't call yourself a leader.

In closing I'd like to recap quickly the seven characteristics we spoke about today Integrity, Service, Positive Attitude, Listening, Taking Action, Be Disruptive, and Leading by Example. These are the seven qualities or characteristics of a leader that I feel are important.

What other qualities or characteristics would you add to this post if you were writing it?

 And why is that quality or characteristic important to you for a Leader to possess?

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