Successful Leadership Traits

Successful Leadership is more than a Title

The receptionist can have a leadership mindset about his or her role and responsibility or they can just wait to be told what to do, when, and how. Successful leadership has nothing to do with your role.

The president can have a leadership mindset or stay in a reactionary mode waiting for things to change or get better. Successful leadership has nothing to do with your title. Leadership is about leading not waiting. Yes, leadership can have management responsibilities, but real leadership is about a personal vision. It is about the personal desire to excel regardless of roles or responsibilities. Here are a few things to consider when it comes to leading as a function of your position – whatever it is:

Consider Your Purpose

The purpose of any organization is to serve others. Yes, if it’s a corporation or business it needs to be profitable. But, if in the end, it doesn’t effectively serve its members, customers, or partners, the business will eventually fail.

The purpose of every employee is to; in some way contribute to this ultimate and higher purpose. If employees put the agendas or motives of their department or themselves above this higher purpose they are doing the organization and the people or organizations it serves a disservice.

Consider Your Responsibility

You have a responsibility to people but you are not responsible for them. This simple concept applies to all relationships – customers, employees, friends, and family. Essentially it means that you are responsible to offer or give – kindness, understanding, compassion, love, friendship, support, direction, guidance, etc. However, successful leadership does not require you to be responsible for what people do, how they react, or their decisions or behavior.

In a leadership role, again regardless of your position or title, you are responsible for bringing your opinions, suggestions, guidance, etc. to the other person or people. But, it is their responsibility to either use or accepts these or not. You are not responsible for the actions, behaviors, or attitudes of others or the consequences thereof.

Consider how You Cooperate

A cooperative mindset does not mean that you should forfeit your values, beliefs, or philosophy, keeping in mind that yours are not better or worse than someone else’s (they are just different) just to create an environment of cooperation. It does, however, imply that you are willing and open to change or the acceptance of new or different ideas or approaches. Conflict generally occurs when people are stuck in their views or opinions with the irrational belief that they are right and others are wrong.

Consider how You Connect

Humanity is about relationships. I have previously written about the pitfalls of overusing technology to connect with people, I won’t belabor that point again. But keep in mind that a human connection that is not established on common ground may fail. Any relationship that is not based on shared goals, desires, and needs is bound to fail. Understand that without shared values, desires, and goals, you eventually fail to meet people’s expectations. In a relationship, this can lead to conflict, disappointment, and often failure.

When employees in an organization fail to maintain positive connections with the people they work closely with or even people they are only involved with, periodically results will tend to suffer.

Consider the Vision

Life is about vision – for oneself, a relationship, a higher purpose, or an organization. If people fail to see beyond their present challenges, circumstances, successes, or even failures they will tend to remain stuck in mindsets that will limit what can be manifested and developed in the future. The role of every employee is to bring the vision to their roles and responsibilities from the Janitor to the CEO. And successful leadership entails that you carry the vision and see it through.

Consider your Compassion

No one is immune to troubles, adversity, challenges, or failure. Sooner or later we must all face the realities of life with all its successes. We have to face life’s achievements and yes its disappointments and frustrations. Whether you are the President or the Mail Clerk. You have or will have to deal with different circumstances that you don’t like or even wish would not enter your life.

What everyone needs during times of adversity or challenge is a caring attitude from others. Whether it is people they work with side by side every day or only interact with from time to time. I’m not suggesting that we should all air our dirty linen. It does, however, help to lend a hearing ear.  You don’t have to share your personal situations with anyone, but a listening ear goes a long way. Especially when someone is in pain or struggling.

Consider your Integrity

Words are words and actions are actions. The question in every relationship is always “Can I trust your words?” One of the major issues when it comes to integrity, regardless of the relationship is trust and truth. If either or both are missing in any relationship sooner or later someone is going to be set up.

If employees for whatever reason are unable or unwilling to always come from a position of truth and/or trust (not necessarily their opinion or interpretation of an event or circumstance) sooner or later an employee, customer or member will be misled, disappointed, or at a minimum frustrated. It is the responsibility of every employee to always come from a position of truth no matter how it might be perceived or heard by people either higher or lower on the food chain.

Consider how You Communicate

Communication is the common denominator that connects all humans. This is regardless of their connections, length or the purpose or parameters of their relationship. Communication is not about sharing information, but in sharing understanding.

When we believe that effective communication is when we have given all of the facts or details that another person needs, we are kidding ourselves when it comes to the purpose of real communication. Communication is a complicated issue. When it comes to human behavior, there are so many factors that contribute to the integrity of shared messages or information. Remember, communication is a two-way process. If only one person in an exchange ‘gets it’ then communication has not taken place.

Building your organization through Successful Leadership

Yes, there are many other successful leadership traits to consider. If you practice these in a timely, effective and consistent, you will be amazed at the results you can achieve. A lot more goes into creating a good relationship between you and your roles and your relationships with others.

If your organization is dealing with current or future potential leadership challenges, give me a call. We can discuss your challenges. Together we can tailor a presentation that will help you address these challenges in a proactive and effective way.


  • Tim Connor

    Global speaker and trainer (23 countries and 4000 presentations) on a variety of sales, leadership, motivation, management and business and personal relationships and best selling author of over 80 books. Tim has over 200 books, CD’s, Manuals and Performance Instruments available for purchase on his website and other retail stores.