What are the characteristics of the leaders you follow and what draws you to follow them?

I recently hosted a Good to Great Roundtable at the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) event. The women answered the above question with words like:

  • Passionate
  • Dynamic
  • Committed
  • Visionary
  • Caring
  • Listens
  • Open to Change
  • Open to New Ideas
  • Respectful
  • Focused
  • Persevere
  • Mentor
  • Leads by Example

What attributes must leaders have in order for you to want to follow them?

As I have read and researched leadership over the years, I find there are four common themes for the characteristics of great leaders that other leaders are most likely to follow. Merriam-Webster and Wikipedia give us the following definitions:

    Integrity is a concept of consistency of actions, values, methods, measures, principles, expectations, and outcomes.
    Someone with a vision, or a visionary, is a person with a clear, distinctive, and specific (detailed) outlook on the future, usually connected with advances or improvements. Visionaries paint pictures of that future so that others can clearly see their vision.
    Credibility refers to the objective and subjective components of the believability of a source or message. Modern credibility has two key components: trustworthiness and expertise, and both have objective and subjective components. Trustworthiness is based more on subjective factors, but can include objective measurements such as established reliability. Expertise, too, can be subjectively perceived, but it also includes relatively objective characteristics of the source or message (e.g., credentials, certification, or information quality).
    Having the ability to inspire others means filling someone with the urge to feel or do something. Someone who inspires a team, for example, is a leader who communicates company strategy with clarity, helping employees to see the future in a positive light, and inspiring workers to pull together.

Now, let’s take a look at how these four characteristics align with the four common leadership styles, so that you can begin mapping your own path to become a great leader.

View Leadership Table

Click on the picture above to view a table that outlines the links between our four common characteristics of leaders and the four common leadership styles.

If you want to map your path to become a great leader, begin by analyzing the table carefully to see where your vision of leadership best aligns. Consider what Integrity, Vision, Credibility, and the Ability to Inspire really mean to you and how you envision yourself implementing them in your role as a leader.

You can also rely on your truth-tellers (people around you who are insightful and willing to tell you the truth even when it isn’t pretty). Ask them to really dig into the aspects of your strengths and your weaknesses as they relate to these four characteristics.

Once you better understand your personal view of leadership, start building your own map to greatness. Write out the steps you can take now to get closer to the ideal leader you know you can become.

At Kinetic Insights, our PathFinders are skilled in helping leaders unleash the greatness in themselves and in their organizations. Call or email us for a quick discussion that just might put you and your team on the path to significant change.

Gail A. Froelicher is Founder, CEO and PathFinder of Kinetic Insights, LLC. For over 11 years, Gail and her team of PathFinders have journeyed with their customers to forge successful paths in rapidly changing business environments.

Gail A. Froelicher, CEO and Founder of Kinetic Insights, is an experienced executive with a proven and consistent record of established and emerging technology businesses. Throughout her 30 year career she has been successful in key leadership positions by motivating and developing teams that stress quality, integrity and respect for associates and business partners. View full bio