Qualities of an Effective Leader

Leadership in an interesting topic.  Is it inborn or is it a skill that can be developed?  I happen to think like all things there is a little gray area.  The worlds most dynamic leaders have  the “it” quality that makes them dynamic leaders.  There is no denying that there is simply something inherent in their DNA, but where does that leave the rest of us?  Leadership is a quality found attractive by everyone.  People want to be lead in business and in life.  There are leadership opportunities everywhere and it is your job to seize them.

What then are the qualities of an effective leader?  About a year ago I had this discussion with my mentor in relation to our business and business in general.  Here are the 10 qualities that made our hit list.

1.  Visionary – Knows where they want to go and how to get there.  Leads the team with confidence.
2.  Ability to Motivate – Clearly articulates the vision, and leads by actions that say, “follow me.”
3.  Conviction – Makes decisions regardless of popularity.  Put’s company’s and employee’s success above their own.
4.  Consistency – Creates structure and follows through in a consistent manner.
5.  Creative – Anticipates future customer needs.  Stays ahead of industry competitors.  Viewed as an innovator.  Finds opportunities in a rapidly changing business environment.
6.  Risk-Taker – Has a competitive spirit.  Is entrepreneurial and is not afraid to take risks to advance the business.
7.  Delegates – Delegates authority to those who have earned their trust.  Takes a hands-off approach and holds team members accountable for achieving results.
8.  Intellect – Knowledge of the business world, including sales, marketing  finance, operations and technology.  Is informed on economics, politics and global affairs.
9.  Well Balanced – Good balance of mental, emotional and physical attributes.  Gives back to employees, the industry and community.
10.  Character – Has integrity in how they conduct business.  Puts success of the company above personal success.  Understands the team will only “follow the leader” if they have trust in the leader.

These are obviously very focused on business, but I think they translate well into all aspects of life with some minor modifications.  If you look through the ten items on the list there are skills that can be learned and refined with time, experience and some education.  Not everything here is inborn, which is what makes this list so motivating.  Commitment, execution and drive can make these things happen.  My guess is it all comes down to passion.  If you have a passion for your business, your community, your team, then a person is more likely to strive to possess these leadership qualities.  What qualities do you look for in an effective leader?