Looking at Leadership Traits

Never has it been more important to discuss leadership traits.

According to Tanya Prive in Forbes magazine, there are 10 top leadership traits:  honesty, ability to delegate, communication, sense of humor, confidence, commitment, positive attitude, creativity, intuition and the ability to inspire.

We should also consider the traits of love and fear.

LLooking at Leadership Traitseadership and Fear

Jim McNerney, CEO of the Boeing Company, is quoted in the Dec. 23, 2014 Washington Post as saying he wouldn’t retire as long as “the heart will still be beating, the employees will still be cowering.”

He is displaying the leadership quality of fear. This assumes employees inherently dislike their work. This keeps organizations stuck in interpretations of what actions are possible.

Learning to manage fear as a leadership quality can open a world of potential.

Leadership and Love

The ten top traits for leaders include integrity.  Integrity includes the state of being whole, undivided, which brings us to love.

Biologist Humberto Maturana defines love as “a relational dynamic that has to do with looking at the other person as legitimate being in co-existence with you without prejudice, without demand, without expectancy.”

How can we practice this as a leadership trait?

Leadership and the Employee

If you are an IT analyst in a meeting with the department vice-president, the tendency is to look at that person with the demand that they will make the decision and the expectation that it will be the correct one.

The vice-president looks to you demanding you have good data and expecting a correct recommendation.

Staying in these prescribed roles limits the power of something new to emerge in a dialogue, something that could springboard the organization into new possibilities.

Leadership traits are about being a healthy, fully functioning human being.  We have always implicitly expected our leaders to appropriately exhibit the qualities of love and fear. Today we must explicitly add these to the traits of an excellent leader.