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Mar '11

Attributes of Leaders

Aaron just finished reading “Think and Grow Rich,” a book written in 1937 by Napoleon Hill. I thought this list of leadership attributes that he identifies was very good. It’s not the normal things you hear but I think these are a far better reflection of what characteristics a good leader must possess. You’ll have to ask Aaron about the book next time you talk to him–It had some really interesting insights into US history, our current situation and self-improvement.

The Major Attributes Of Leadership

The following are important factors of leadership:—
1. UNWAVERING COURAGE based upon knowledge of self, and of one’s occupation. No follower wishes to be dominated by a leader who lacks self-confidence and courage. No intelligent follower will be dominated by such a leader very long.
2. SELF-CONTROL. The man who cannot control himself, can never control others. Self-control sets a mighty example for one’s followers, which the more intelligent will emulate.
3. A KEEN SENSE OF JUSTICE. Without a sense of fairness and justice, no leader can command and retain the respect of his followers.
4. DEFINITENESS OF DECISION. The man who wavers in his decisions, shows that he is not sure of himself. He cannot lead others successfully.
5. DEFINITENESS OF PLANS. The successful leader must plan his work, and work his plan. A leader who moves by guesswork, without practical, definite plans, is comparable to a ship without a rudder. Sooner or later he will land on the rocks.
6. THE HABIT OF DOING MORE THAN PAID FOR. One of the penalties of leadership is the necessity of willingness, upon the part of the leader, to do more than the part he requires of his followers.
7. A PLEASING PERSONALITY. No slovenly, careless person can become a successful leader. Leadership calls for respect. Followers will not respect a leader who does not grade high on all of the factors of a Pleasing Personality.
8. SYMPATHY AND UNDERSTANDING. The successful leader must be in sympathy with his followers. Moreover, he must understand them and their problems.
9. MASTERY OF DETAIL. Successful leadership calls for mastery of details of the leader’s position.
10. WILLINGNESS TO ASSUME FULL RESPONSIBILITY. The successful leader must be willing to assume responsibility for the mistakes and the shortcomings of his followers. If he tries to shift this responsibility, he will not remain the leader. If one of his followers makes a mistake, and shows himself incompetent the leader must consider that it is he who failed.
11. COOPERATION. The successful leader must understand, and apply the principle of cooperative effort and be able to induce his followers to do the same. Leadership calls for POWER, and power calls for COOPERATION.



2 comments to “Attributes of Leaders”

  1. jon Says:

    So we seem to prefer to elect and promote those who are:
    1)Chickens 2)Self indulgent 3)What’s best for me morality 4)Popular decision making 5)Fluid “plans” that can be changed dependent on #4 6)Doing the minimum and getting paid more than deserved 7)Being argumentative and insulting 8)Ignoring needs of workers 9) Leaving the “devil in the details” 10)Never accepting blame 11)Being a dictator……
    If your list gives the characteristics of leaders mine gives the characteristics of “Bleeders” – i.e. parasites who suck the life blood out an organization to benefit themselves and give nothing back….
    Oh, bother…..it doesn’t look good…….

  2. asebesta Says:

    You are so right. I’m always amazed at the people we continue to elect. However, I think it’s endemic of the larger issue of a broken system. Even people who are good leaders and look like they have potential get sucked into “the system” and end up acting the same as all the others. I think Obama is a good example of this. People had a lot of hope that he would be “different.” Now, whatever your opinion on what he’s done or how he is doing as President, I don’t think many people would claim he’s doing it “differently” and really breaking out of the system.
    Aaron and I have talked about it and wonder if this is a cause of some revolutions–The system itself is so broken that instead of trying to fix it, it’s easier to just start over and try again. That is full of problems too, but in looking at some of the systemic problems today, you can see why people would think the whole system needs to be changed.

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