Key Characteristics of Great Leaders – Part I | Chris Banescu | Dec. 31, 2007

What are some key characteristics of a great leader? While many books and countless articles have been written about this subject, we continue to witness a significant shortage of great leaders in many companies and institutions. Here are some essential traits and skills that great leaders must possess.

Great leaders are people persons. They must like being around people, be comfortable talking to and listening to people, and know how to relate to them. Great leaders must know how to communicate with people, speak their language, and not talk down to them. This is essential. Anyone who is not comfortable being around people, or exhibits anti-social or narcissistic behavior, should not lead or be in charge of anyone. Bullies, sycophants, and loners never make great leaders, regardless of their level of intelligence, education, and capability.

Great leaders are knowledgeable and effective administrators. They understand the work that is being done in all areas of their organization, how those areas and the people interact and relate to one another, and the roles their managers play in getting the job done efficiently and correctly. Great leaders have a good understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the people they manage and proactively dedicate resources and time to correct the weaknesses and reinforce the strengths. They don’t micromanage, know how to delegate, and empower those around them to do what’s needed. They almost always promote from within.

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