The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader: Becoming the Person Others Will Want to Follow

I did not personally pen the following 21 qualities, John C. Maxwell did, but I certainly concur.

you up for the challenge??

“If you can become the leader you
ought to be on the inside, you will be able to become the person you want on the outside. People will want to follow you. And when that happens, you’ll be able to tackle anything in this world.”

1. Character: Be a Piece of the Rock
“Leadership is the capacity and will to rally men and women to a common purpose and the character which inspires confidence.”
~ Bernard Montgomery, British Field Marshal

What must everyone know about character?
  • Actions are the Real Indicator of Character
  • Talent is a Gift, but Character is a Choice
  • Character Brings Lasting Success with People
  • Strong Character is the Foundation on which to Build Success

2. Charisma : The First Impression Can Seal the Deal
“How can you have charisma? Be more concerned about making others feel good about themselves than you are making them feel good about you.”
~Dan Reiland, Vice President of Leadership Development, INJOY

“When it comes to charisma, the bottom line is other-mindedness. Leaders who think about others and their concerns before thinking of themselves exhibit charisma.” ~John C. Maxwell

3. Commitment: It separates Doers from Dreamers
  • To the boxer, it’s getting off the mat one more time than you’ve been knocked down.
  • To the marathoner, it’s running another ten miles when your strength is gone.
  • To the solider, it’s going over the hill, not knowing what’s waiting on the other side.
  • To the leader, it’s all that and more because everyone you lead it depending on you.

Improve your Commitment
  • Look at how you spend your time, are you really committed or do you just say you are?
  • Know what’s worth dying for.
  • Practice the Edison method. Make your plans public, then you might be more committed to follow through.

4. Communication: Without It You Travel Alone
  • Simplify your Message- It’s not what you say, but also how you say it.
  • Really Care about your Audience
  • Show the Truth- Believe what you say, Live what you say
  • Seek a Response- the goal of all communication is action

“Developing excellent communication skills is absolutely essential to effective leadership. The leader must be able to share knowledge and ideas to transmit a sense of urgency and enthusiasm to others. If a leader can’t get a message across clearly to motivate others to act on it, then having a message doesn’t even matter.” ~Gilbert Amelio

5. Competence: If you build it, they will come
“Competence goes beyond words. It’s the leader’s ability to say it, plan it, and do it in such a way that others know that you know how- and know that they want to follow you.” ~ John. C. Maxwell

Keys to Cultivate High Competence
  • Show up Every Day & Come Ready to Work
  • Keep Learning, Growing, and Improving
  • Follow Through with Excellence
  • Accomplish More than Expected
  • Inspire and Motivate Others

6. Courage: One Person with Courage is a Majority
“Courage is fear that has said its prayers.” ~Karl Barth, Swiss Theologian

Courage is doing what you’re afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you’re scared.” ~Eddie Rickenbacker

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you cannot do.” ~Eleanor Roosevelt

7. Discernment: Put an End to Unsolved Mysteries

“Smart leaders believe only half of what they hear. Discerning leaders know
which half to believe.” ~ John. C. Maxwell

Effective leaders need discernment, although even good leaders don’t display it all the time.

Examples of Famous last words:
  • “I think there is a world market for about five computers.” Thomas J. Watson, chairman of IBM.(1943)
  • “I don’t need bodyguards.” Jimmy Hoffa, one month before disappearance (1975)

8. Focus: The Sharper It Is; The Sharper You Are

The Keys are
Priorities and Concentration

  • A leader who knows what his priorities are but lacks concentration knows what to do but never gets it done.
  • If he has concentration but no priorities, he has excellence without progress.
  • But when he harnesses both, he has potential to achieve great things.

How should you focus your time and energy?
  • Focus 70 Percent on Strengths
  • Develop them to their fullest potential
  • Focus 25 Percent on New Things
  • Growth = Change
  • Focus 5 Percent on Areas of Weakness
  • Minimize weaknesses as much as possible, delegate

9. Generosity: Your Candle Loses Nothing When It Lights Another
“No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave.” ~ Calvin Coolidge, American President

“All that is not given is lost.” ~ Rabinranath Tagore, Indian Poet

Cultivate the Quality of Generosity in Your Life
  • Be Grateful For What You Have
  • Put People First
  • Don’t Allow the Desire for Possessions to Control You
  • Regard Money as a Resource
  • Develop the Habit of Giving

10. Initiative: You Won’t Leave Home Without It
“Success seems to be connected with action. Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don’t quit.” ~Conrad Hilton, Hotel Executive

Qualities Leaders Posses To Make Things Happen
  • They Know What They Want
  • They Push Themselves to Act
  • They Take More Risks
  • They Make More Mistakes

11. Listening: To Connect With Their Hearts, Use Your Ears
You have to be silent to listen. Both words are formed from the same letters.
  • S-i-l-e-n-t
  • L-i-s-t-e-n

“The ear of the leader must ring with the voices of the people.” ~ Woodrow Wilson, American President

“A good leader encourages followers to tell him what he needs to know, not what he wants to hear.” ~John C. Maxwell

12. Passion: Take This Life and Love It
“Concentrate on what you do well, and do it better than anybody else.” ~ John Schnatter, founder of Papa John’s Pizza

What makes it possible for people who might seem ordinary to achieve great things?
  • Fact: More than 50% of all CEOs of Fortune 500 companies had C or C- averages in college
  • Fact: Nearly 75% of all U.S. Presidents were in the bottom half of their school classes
  • Fact: More than 50% of all millionaires entrepreneurs never finished college
  • They All Had Passion, It Makes A Difference!

13. Positive Attitude: If You Believe You Can, You Can
  • Your Attitude Is a Choice
  • Your Attitude Determines Your Actions
  • Your People Are a Mirror of Your Attitude
  • Maintaining a Good Attitude Is Easier Than Regaining One

Words of Wisdom ~Thomas Edison
  • “Genius is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration.”
  • “If we did all the things we were capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.”
  • “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”

14. Problem Solving: You Can’t Let Your Problems Be A Problem
“You can measure a leader by the problems he tackles. He always looks for ones his own size.”
~John C. Maxwell

Leaders With Good Problems Solving Abilities Demonstrate Five Qualities
  • They Anticipate Problems
  • They Accept the Truth
  • They See the Big Picture
  • They Handle One Thing At a Time
  • They Don’t Give Up On a Major Goal When They’re Down

15. Relationships: If You Get Along, They’ll Get Along
“The most important single ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people.” ~Theodore Roosevelt, American President

All people have some things in common
  • They like to feel special, so sincerely compliment them.
  • They want a better tomorrow, so show them hope.
  • They desire direction, so navigate for them.
  • They are selfish, so speak to their needs first.
  • They get low emotionally, so encourage them.
  • They want success, so help them win.

16. Responsibility: If You Won’t Carry the Ball, You Can’t Lead the Team
“ Success on any major scale requires you to accept responsibility. . .

In the final analysis, the one quality that all successful people have is the ability to take on responsibility.” ~Michael Korda, Editor-in-chief of Simon & Schuster

Are You On Target When It Comes To Responsibility?
“When an archer misses the mark he turns and looks for fault within himself. Failure to hit the bull’s-eye is never the fault of the target. To improve your aim, improve yourself.” ~ Gilbert Arland

17. Security: Competence Never Compensates For Insecurity
“No man will make a great leader who wants to do it all himself or get all the credit for doing it.”
~ Andrew Carnegie, Industrialist

Margaret Thatcher, world leader
  • “You don’t follow the crowd, you make up your own mind.” ~Words of encouragement from her father
  • She stood for conviction in leadership.
  • The “Iron Lady” was elected three consecutive terms as prime minister.
  • The ONLY British leader of modern era to achieve that great honor.

18. Self-Discipline: The First Person You Lead Is You
“A man without a decision of character can never be said to belong to himself…He belongs to whatever can make captive of him.” ~John Foster, author

“Don’t quit, because once you in that mode of quitting, then you feel like it’s okay.” ~Jerry Rice, Best Ever Wide Receiver

19. Servanthood: To Get Ahead, Put Others First
“I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know: The ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.” ~ Albert Schweitzer, Philosopher & Humanitarian

“The true leader serves. Serves people. Serves their best interests, and in so doing will not always be popular, may not always impress. But because true leaders are motivated by loving concern rather than a desire for personal glory, they are willing to pay the price.” ~Eugene B. Habecker, Author

20. Teachability: To Keep Leading, Keep Learning
“It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.” ~John Wooden, Hall of Fame Basketball Coach

Why Should You Keep Growing?
  • Your growth determines who you are.
  • Who you are determines who you attract.
  • Who you attract determines the success of your organization.
  • If you want your organization to grow, you have to remain teachable.

21. Vision: You Can Seize Only What You Can See
“A great leader’s courage to fulfill his vision comes from passion, not position.” ~ John C. Maxwell

Vision is everything for a leader.
  • It leads the leader.
  • It paints the target.
  • It sparks and fuels the fire within, and draws him forward.
  • It is also the fire lighter for others who follow that leader.

Remember... “If you can dream it, you can do it.” ~Walt Disney

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