Go from good to great: 9 essential traits of great leadersArticle added by Mitchell Smith on October 2, 2013
Mitchell K. Smith

Mitchell Smith

Deerfield Beach, FL

Joined: September 26, 2013

"Greatness doesn’t come from those content on just being, but from those who seek being the difference.” ― Kirk Mango

The difference between good and great leaders has become clearer to me as the years progress. Any individual or organization that remains static remains vulnerable. Any individual or organization that believes their knowledge has peaked or that they now know all that they should, would not reflect a symbol of greatness.

Over the past few decades, I have been blessed to work with, read about, learn from and observe some of the best people and organizations across a variety of industries. Over the course of my consulting history and the lessons I’ve learned, it has become clear to me that they all have several traits in common. I believe these are some of the most valuable and required qualities of the greatest people who have come before us and lie ahead.

1. Integrity

The belief that you are honest is very different from living with integrity. The best of the best always speak the truth. They choose what is best for whomever they serve, and they do so without hesitation. They know their strengths and weaknesses and never believe taking a step up is accomplished by stepping on someone along the way.

2. Effort

Look out the window early in the morning and after the typical workday's end. Those cars you see on the road belong to them. Walk past their offices and see as they create results, not simply complete tasks. When no one asks or is watching, they continue to push the limits.

3. Efficiency

Understanding how best to serve time as your master is not just a skill, but it's also an art. Great leaders seem to take pleasure in the abundance of work ahead of them and somehow prepare a place for each role those jobs entail. Financial and operational aspects will always be in their thoughts as they formulate options.

4. Faith

Faith in God or anything more powerful than oneself is an obvious trait among many successful people. However, faith in oneself and in the choices they make, as well as the people they surround themselves with, is a compelling characteristic necessary for greatness.

5. Love

Let’s be honest. Some people just love themselves and, frankly, a controlled ego is an important component to greatness — and probably necessary. Keeping that in check when required and knowing when to utilize confidence is the key. Most importantly, love what you do or don’t do it.

6. Passion

When you talk with these people you feel it, see it, and immediately everyone in the room knows it. Be passionate about what you offer or no one else will be.

7. Acceptance

Acceptance is the quiet winner. When we accept the most difficult struggles we have had, the people who have caused us distress, and understand that the future will not be without complications, only then can we begin to be a part of the “greatness” mentality. Confiscate your anger.

8. Ethics

Great leaders do what is morally obligated, and they do not hesitate.

9. Leadership

Leaders do not typically call themselves leaders; titles are not their goal, and they do not bully to create strength. You manage things; you lead people.

We all strive for greatness and contemplate what separates “us” from “them." That contemplation is the best place to start. The great are not alone; they know they need a coach, mentor and partner to aid during that journey. They are constantly being coached and are studying, recognizing that they will never get there. And it is that modesty that might just mean they already are.
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