8 Traits of Effective Leaders and Leadership Self-discovery | Category: Articles
Handsome Young Businessman Portrait - Isolated

1.  High energy level and stress tolerance.

These traits help the leader to cope with the hectic pace, long hours and constant unrelenting demands of others. Effective problem solving requires the ability to be calm and focused rather than one of panicking, denial or fault-finding.


2. Self-confidence

This is not vanity. It is simply the belief that you have the ability to do a task well. Leaders with self-confidence are more likely to attempt difficult tasks and set challenging expectations for themselves. They are more persistent to solve problems. Their optimism affects others and is likely to increase commitmentby others to the task.


3. Strong internal “locus of control” orientation

People with a strong internal “locus of control” believe their lives are more determined by their own actions. People with a strong external “locus of control” believe events are determined by chance or fate and they can do littleto change their lives.


Rotter Personality Scale


3. Strong internal “locus of control” orientation (continued)

Leaders with a strong internal “locus of control” are more future-oriented, plan proactively, are more flexible, adaptive, and innovative in response to problems than someone who dismisses them as bad luck or uncontrollable. When setbacks occur, they are morelikely to learn from them.


3. Strong internal “locus of control” orientation (continued)




locus of control scale developed by Julian Rotter


Example of testing. What is your answer?

    a.  Leaders are born, not made

    b.  Leaders are made, not born


4. Emotional maturity

Leaders with emotional maturity are less self-centered, and aware of their own strengths and weaknesses. They are oriented toward self-improvement rather than denial, blame or ”success fantasies”. They have stable emotions, not “mood swings” and maintain more cooperativerelationships with others.


5. Personal integrity

A leader’s behavior must be consistent with espoused values. It determines whether people will perceive him/her as trustworthy and credible. Without trust it is difficult to gain commitment and cooperation from others. Integrity includeshonesty, keeping a confidence and accepting responsibility.


6. Socialized Power Motivation

There are two types of power motivation.

Those with a personalized power orientation gain power to aggrandize themselves and satisfy their strong need for esteem and status. They tend to exercise power impulsively and have little inhibition and self-control. They seek to dominateothers by keeping them weak and dependent.


6. Socialized Power Motivation (Continued)

Leaders with a socialized power motivation desire power for the benefit of others. They are less egoistical and defensive. They are less materialistic. Their strong need for power is to build up the organization or others to be successful. They tend to use more of a participative“coaching style” of behavior and take advice from others.


7. Moderately high achievement orientation.

These are leaders who have a need for achievement, desire to excel, drive to succeed and willingness to accept responsibility. They have a strong concern for completing objectives and act decisively to solve problems. These are the “goal setters” and “organizers”. They are more prone to deadlinesand “action plans”.


8. Balanced need for affiliation


This is the need to be liked and accepted by others. Either extremehas negatives.


Those with a high need for affiliation put friendships over tasks. They avoid conflicts rather than confront genuine differences. They show favoritism to friends and allow specialexceptions to rules. This often leaves other followers feeling weak, irresponsible and confused about what they should be doing.


8. Balanced need for affiliation (Continued)

Those with a low need for affiliation tend to be  “loners” who doesn’t socialize well. They are usually unwilling to work at developing close interpersonalrelationships with others. May be perceived as lacking confidence or warmth.


The key is a balanced need for affiliation!


Leadership self-discovery

The following guidelines are recommended for a leader to do an honest self-analysis and gain personal insight to monitor your own behavior. These guidelines are the result of trait behavior research.


Leadership self-discovery


•           Discover your strengths and weaknesses.

•           Be receptive to feedback from others about both your positive and negative behavior as they perceive it.

•           Don’t fear assessment tests or evaluations. They are designed to help.

•           What key skills and traits do you have?





Leadership self-discovery


•           Develop relevant skills that you lack.

•           Effective leaders value continuous learning and self-development.

•           Make a real effort to develop needed skills.

•           Take classes or workshops to grow.

•           Seek challenging assignments to broaden your skills.





Leadership self-discovery


•           Remember that a strength can becomea weakness!


•            A strength in one situation can later become a weakness when the situation changes.


•            Example – being autocratic in a crisis


•            People tend to emphasize a strength that brings early or repeatedsuccess.


•            Confidence can become arrogance, innovation can become recklessness, decisiveness can become rashness, “global vision” can become lackof focus.






Leadership self-discovery


•           Compensate for weaknesses

•           Look for associates who have the strengths you lack. Ask for help!

•           Delegate or establish a team to help you in areas of your weakness.

•           Don’t give up on these areas…develop them to your fullest extent.





Leadership self-discovery


•           Balance your extremes and excesses.

•           Learn to temper one trait against another…

 - self-confidence vs. timidly unresponsive to others

 - high need for power vs. empowerment

 - task oriented (head) vs. people (heart)

 - risk taking vs. prudent caution

 - efficiency vs. flexibility