The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader - Deepstash

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Leadership Is An Internal Quality

Leadership Is An Internal Quality

 Leaders are effective because of who they are on the inside—in the qualities that make them up as people. And to go to the highest level of leadership, people have to develop these traits from the inside out.

Everything rises and falls on leadership. And leadership truly develops from the inside out. If you can become the leader you ought to be on the inside, you will be able to become the leader you want to be on the outside. People will want to follow you. And when that happens, you’ll be able to tackle anything in this world.

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BERNARD MONTGOMERY, BRITISH FIELD MARSHAL

Leadership is the capacity and will to rally men and women to a common purpose and the character which inspires confidence.

BERNARD MONTGOMERY, BRITISH FIELD MARSHAL

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CHARACTER: Be a Piece of the Rock

CHARACTER: Be a Piece of the Rock

How a leader deals with the circumstances of life tells you many things about his character. Crisis doesn’t necessarily make character, but it certainly does reveal it. Adversity is a crossroads that makes a person choose one of two paths: character or compromise. Every time he chooses character, he becomes stronger, even if that choice brings negative consequences.

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Improving Your Character

Improving Your Character

• Search for the cracks. Spend some time looking at the major areas of your life (work, marriage, family, service, etc.), and identify anywhere you might have cut corners, compromised, or let people down.

• Look for patterns. Examine the responses that you just wrote down.

• Face the music. The beginning of character repair comes when you face your flaws, apologize, and deal with the consequences of your actions.

Rebuild. It’s one thing to face up to your past actions. It’s another to build a new future.

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DAN REILAND

How can you have charisma? Be more concerned about making others feel good about themselves than you are making them feel good about you.

DAN REILAND

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CHARISMA: The First Impression Can Seal the Deal

CHARISMA: The First Impression Can Seal the Deal

Roadblocks to charisma:

Pride. Nobody wants to follow a leader who thinks he is better than everyone else.

Insecurity. If you are uncomfortable with who you are, others will be too.

Moodiness. If people never know what to expect from you, they stop expecting anything.

Perfectionism. People respect the desire for excellence, but dread totally unrealistic expectations.

Cynicism. People don’t want to be rained on by someone who sees a cloud around every silver lining.

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COMMITMENT: It Separates Doers from Dreamers

COMMITMENT: It Separates Doers from Dreamers

If you want to be an effective leader, you have to be committed. True commitment inspires and attracts people. It shows them that you have conviction. They will believe in you only if you believe in your cause.

When it comes to commitment, there are really only four types of people:

1. Cop-outs. People who have no goals and do not commit.

2. Holdouts. People who don’t know if they can reach their goals, so they’re afraid to commit.

3. Dropouts. People who start toward a goal but quit when the going gets tough.

4. All-outs. People who set goals, commit to them and pay the price to reach them.

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JOHN C. MAXWELL

Educators take something simple and make it complicated. Communicators take something complicated and make it simple. 

JOHN C. MAXWELL

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COMMUNICATION: Without It You Travel Alone

COMMUNICATION: Without It You Travel Alone

To improve your communication, do the following:

Be clear as a bell. Examine a letter, memo, or other items you’ve recently written.

To be a communicator, your best friends are simplicity and clarity. Write your next piece of communication keeping both in mind.

Refocus your attention. During the coming week, pay attention to your focus when you communicate. Is it on you, your material, or your audience?

Live your message. Are there any discrepancies between what you communicate and what you do? Talk to a few trustworthy people and ask them whether you are living your message. 

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COMPETENCE: If You Build It, They Will Come

COMPETENCE: If You Build It, They Will Come

When you think about people who are competent, you’re really considering only three types of people:

1. Those who can see what needs to happen.

2. Those who can make it happen.

3. Those who can make things happen when it really counts.

You’re only as good as your private standards. When was the last time you gave a task your absolute best even though nobody but you would know about it?

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COURAGE: One Person with Courage Is a Majority

COURAGE: One Person with Courage Is a Majority

Face the music.

Go out and do something stretching simply for the sake of growing in courage. Skydive. Speak in front of an audience (most people’s greatest fear).  It doesn’t matter what you do as long as it causes you to face a genuine fear.

Talk to that person.

Most people are avoiding confrontation with someone in their lives. If that’s true for you, talk to that person this week. Don’t dump on him or abuse him. Speak the truth in love.

Take a giant step.

Maybe you’ve been afraid to make a career move. If you’ve known in your heart that you should have changed jobs, now is the time.

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DISCERNMENT: Put an End to Unsolved Mysteries

DISCERNMENT: Put an End to Unsolved Mysteries

Discernment can be described as the ability to find the root of the matter, and it relies on intuition as well as rational thought. Effective leaders need discernment, although even good leaders don’t display it all the time.

Never ignore a gut feeling, but never believe that it’s enough.

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FOCUS: The Sharper It Is, the Sharper You Are

FOCUS: The Sharper It Is, the Sharper You Are

A leader who knows his priorities but lacks concentration knows what to do but never gets it done. If he has concentration but no priorities, he has excellence without progress. But when he harnesses both, he has the potential to achieve great things.

To get back on track with your focus, do these things:

  • Work on yourself. You are your greatest asset or detriment.
  • Work at your priorities. You will have to fight for them.
  • Work on your strengths. You can reach your potential
  • Work with your contemporaries. You can’t be effective alone.

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GENEROSITY: Your Candle Loses Nothing When It Lights Another

GENEROSITY: Your Candle Loses Nothing When It Lights Another

•Give something away. Find out what kind of hold your possessions have on you. Take something you truly value, think of someone you care about who could benefit from it, and give it to him.  

•Put your money to work. If you know someone with the vision to do something really great—something that will positively impact the lives of others—provide resources for him to accomplish it.  

•Find someone to mentor. Once you reach a certain level in your leadership, the most valuable thing you have to give is yourself. Find someone to pour your life into. 

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INITIATIVE: You Won’t Leave Home Without It

INITIATIVE: You Won’t Leave Home Without It

Don’t wait for opportunity to knock.

 Opportunity doesn’t come to the door knocking. You’ve got to go out and look for it. Take stock of your assets, talents, and resources. Doing that will give you an idea of your potential. Now, spend every day for a week looking for opportunities. Where do you see needs? Who is looking for the expertise you have? What unreached group of people is practically dying for what you have to offer? 

Opportunity is everywhere.

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LISTENING: To Connect with Their Hearts, Use Your Ears

LISTENING: To Connect with Their Hearts, Use Your Ears

Keep your ear open to these people:

1. Your Followers

Good leaders, the kind that people want to follow, do more than conduct business when they interact with followers.  

2. Your Customers

Good leaders always make it a priority to keep in contact with the people they’re serving.

3. Your Competitors

As a leader, you don’t want to base your actions on what the other guy is doing, but you should still listen and learn what you can to improve yourself.

4. Your Mentors

No leader is so advanced or experienced that he can afford to be without a mentor.

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CHEROKEE INDIAN SAYING

Listen to the whispers and you won’t have to hear the screams.

CHEROKEE INDIAN SAYING

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PASSION: Take This Life and Love It

PASSION: Take This Life and Love It

If you look at the lives of effective leaders, you will find that they often don’t fit into a stereotypical mold. For example, more than 50 percent of all CEOs of Fortune 500 companies had C or C– averages in college. Nearly 75 percent of all U.S. presidents were in the bottom half of their school classes. And more than 50 percent of all millionaire entrepreneurs never finished college. What makes it possible for people who might seem ordinary to achieve great things? The answer is passion. Nothing can take the place of passion in a leader’s life.

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POSITIVE ATTITUDE: If You Believe You Can, You Can

POSITIVE ATTITUDE: If You Believe You Can, You Can

If you desire to be an effective leader, having a positive attitude is essential. It not only determines your level of contentment as a person, but it also has an impact on how others interact with you.

The greatest discovery of this generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitude.

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PROBLEM SOLVING: You Can’t Let Your Problems Be a Problem

PROBLEM SOLVING: You Can’t Let Your Problems Be a Problem

No leader can simultaneously have his head in the sand and navigate his people through troubled waters. Effective leaders face up to the reality of a situation.

The ability to solve problems effectively comes from experience facing and overcoming obstacles. Each time you solve another problem, you get a little better at the process. But if you never try, fail, and try again, you’ll never be good at it.

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The TEACH Process for Problem Solving

The TEACH Process for Problem Solving

  • TIME—spend time to discover the real issue.
  • EXPOSURE—find out what others have done.
  • ASSISTANCE—have your team study all angles.
  • CREATIVITY —brainstorm multiple solutions.
  • HIT IT —implement the best solution

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RELATIONSHIPS: If You Get Along, They’ll Go Along

RELATIONSHIPS: If You Get Along, They’ll Go Along

The first quality of a relational leader is the ability to understand how people feel and think. As you work with others, recognize that all people, whether leaders or followers, have some things in common:

  • They like to feel special, so sincerely compliment them.
  • They want a better tomorrow, so show them hope.
  • They desire direction, so navigate for them.
  • They are selfish, so speak to their needs first.
  • They get low emotionally, so encourage them.
  • They want success, so help them win.

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RESPONSIBILITY: If You Won’t Carry the Ball, You Can’t Lead the Team

RESPONSIBILITY: If You Won’t Carry the Ball, You Can’t Lead the Team

Good leaders never embrace a victim mentality.

They recognize that who and where they are, remain their responsibility— not that of their parents, their spouses, their children, the government, their bosses, or their coworkers.

They face whatever life throws at them and give it their best, knowing that they will get an opportunity to lead the team only if they’ve proved that they can carry the ball.

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SECURITY: Competence Never Compensates for Insecurity

SECURITY: Competence Never Compensates for Insecurity

No one can live on a level inconsistent with the way he sees himself. You may have observed that in people. If someone sees himself as a loser, he finds a way to lose. Anytime his success surpasses his security, the result is self-destruction. That’s not only true for followers, but it’s also true for leaders.

Insecure leaders are dangerous—to themselves, their followers, and the organizations they lead—because a leadership position amplifies personal flaws. Whatever negative baggage you have in life only gets more difficult to bear when you’re trying to lead others.

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SELF-DISCIPLINE: The First Person You Lead Is You

SELF-DISCIPLINE: The First Person You Lead Is You

As a leader, you already have too little time. Now all you need is a plan. If you can determine what’s really a priority and release yourself from everything else, it’s a lot easier to follow through on what’s important. And that’s the essence of self-discipline.

The first and best victory is to conquer self.

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SERVANTHOOD: To Get Ahead, Put Others First

SERVANTHOOD: To Get Ahead, Put Others First

Servanthood is not about position or skill. It’s about attitude. You have undoubtedly met people in service positions who have poor attitudes toward servanthood: the rude worker at the government agency, the waiter who can’t be bothered with taking your order, the store clerk who talks on the phone with a friend instead of helping you.

Just as you can sense when a worker doesn’t want to help people, you can just as easily detect whether a leader has a servant’s heart. And the truth is that the best leaders desire to serve others, not themselves.

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TEACHABILITY: To Keep Leading, Keep Learning

TEACHABILITY: To Keep Leading, Keep Learning

Leaders face the danger of contentment with the status quo. After all, if a leader already possesses influence and has achieved a level of respect, why should he keep growing? The answer is simple:

  • Your growth determines who you are.
  • Who you are determines who you attract.
  • Who you attract determines the success of your organization.
  • If you want to grow your organization, you have to remain teachable.

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VISION: You Can Seize Only What You Can See

VISION: You Can Seize Only What You Can See

To improve your vision, do the following:

•Measure yourself. If you have previously thought about the vision for your life and articulated it, measure how well you are carrying it out.

•Write it down. If you’ve thought about your vision but never put it in writing, take the time to do it today. Writing clarifies your thinking.

•Do a gut check. If you haven’t done a lot of work on vision, spend the next several weeks or months thinking about it. Consider what really impacts you at a gut level.

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Answer The Three Questions

Answer The Three Questions

  1. What makes you cry?
  2. What makes you dream?
  3. What gives you energy?

Also think about what you’d like to see change in the world around you. What do you see that isn’t—but could be? Once your ideas start to become clearer, write them down and talk to a mentor about them.

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IDEAS CURATED BY

lindtho

Media buyer

CURATOR'S NOTE

The A to Z of Leadership.

Curious about different takes? Check out our The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader Summary book page to explore multiple unique summaries written by Deepstash users.

Linda Thompson's ideas are part of this journey:

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