People learn to be leaders by studying other leaders and developing their own approach to leadership. This requires developing a leadership style that is adaptive to the situation. Leaders need to be able to execute the four core leadership actions, switch to any one of six leadership strategies, and utilize nine leadership traits (this presentation). The nine traits discussed in this presentation are broken into three primary groups—Required traits that you need to be a leader, traits we expect from any leader, and soft traits that leaders need to perfect.
Required traits. There are two required traits to be a leader. Without these traits, you can be an executive or an elected official, but you are not leaders.
- Accountable. Accountability means taking responsibility for decisions and ensuring they are made at the appropriate time. As opposed to common belief, accountability is not the same as blame. This concept will be discussed heavily.
- Ethical. Most of us know what ethical means, but the challenge is understanding ethics is a given situation. Different cultures have different ethics and we have to adjust to that without compromising our own principles.
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Expected traits. We normally attribute the following three traits to leaders. If a person lacks any of these traits, he or she is usually not considered a good leader.
- Decisive. A person's ability to make or delegate decisions and make sure they are done in an appropriate manner and time frame.
- Focus. A person's ability to maintain their and their team's focus on a vision or goal.
- Confident. If a person is not confident in their and other's ability, people will not follow them.
Soft traits. Soft traits are what round out a leader and make them great.
- Inspirational. Leaders are cheerleaders for a cause or vision. Their ability to inspire others creates the energy behind the team.
- Empathetic. Empathy is critical in decision making as it helps leaders understand everyone's views and the challenges in a given direction. By being humble leaders help people accept a direction even if they are opposed to it.
- Humble. Humility is a rare trait in today's business. It is the ability to respect others and give them credit for successes.
- Aware. Leaders need to see the big picture. They have to understand that whatever their team is working on is only part of a much larger system.
We also discuss the tension between these traits. Or instance, confidence is always in tension with humility, decisiveness with empathy and humility, and focus is in tension with awareness. It is critical that leaders understand the correct balance between these traits.
The objective of this presentation is to:
- Develop the attendees as leaders by helping them understand the importance of these nine leadership traits.
- Have attendees practice these traits in the session.
- Help attendees understand that there are many ways to use these traits by being engaged in an active dialog on the topic.
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This is a 60- or 90-minute session.
This session is easily coupled with the Extreme Leadership: A Matter of Life and Death keynote as it is a deep dive into one of the three topics of that keynote.
The discussion can be changed to match a conference's theme or a specific professional domain.