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If you are or can read Portuguese, you may want to see this small presentation before – and after – reading this post: http://prezi.com/ylbryamigvzb/caracteristicas-de-lideranca/)

What’s the most important characteristic of a Leader?

A report, (from my point of view)

By Luís Cochofel

(based upon answers at LinkedIn, in the period between 7 to 12, June-2009)

THANK YOU NOTE

First of all I have to thank all those who have taken a minute to think about this question AND have taken their other minute (at least) to post their thoughts, for SHARING their thoughts!

So, Dear,

Kirsten Judd, Jane Chin, Steve Koss, Brian Curry, Ian Berry, Liviu Caliman, Kathy Holland, Ameet Singh, Terry Paulson, Kathakali Chatterjee, Bob Pickles, Mirsad Kasum, Heidrun Reboli Marstein, Janice Riley, Karen Kaufman, Allen Carn, Cristina Parashiv, Remi Cote, Karen McMillan, Kwai Yu, Beverly Espanueva, Ilan Geva, Eric Melton, Joel Graham-Blake, Kevin Yates, Richard Norris (Dr.), Anthony Etherton, Ruth Manna, Mayte Barahona, Shantanu Deshpande, Dilip Naidu, Fran Lytle, Michelle Romanica, Zulfiqar Deo, Julia Fischer Baumgartner, Deepak Hota, John Bowen, Anshuman Khajekar, Paul hopwood, Fiona Bosticky, Tracy Sheldon, Edward Phillippi, Bryan Schueler, Michael Winwood, Roxana Popescu, Fred Nickols, Dilip Sequeira, Abdessamad Ennabih, Kimberly Herman, Eric Pennington, Leanne Hoagland-Smith, Virginia Hurley, Pamela J. Lindsay, Donna Deming, Jennifer Sertl, Elizabeth Sears, Carol G. McManus, Alexandre Sousa, Shehla Shoaib, Dennis Gannon, Jeff Peterson, Stephen Jones (Dr.), Chris Clementi, Elizabeth Blake, Heather Arabadjis, Todd Ross, Indu Arora, Scott Small:

THANK YOU!

THE QUESTIONS

I’ve posted two different questions for the same purpose:

  1. Who’s the Leader: Mr/Ms Question, Mr/Ms Answer or Mr/Ms Action?
  2. What’s the most important characteristic of a Leader? (Sharp with questions; Great Vision; Clear Communicator; Focused on Action; Voice of Command)

THE ANSWERS

1. Who’s the Leader: Mr/Ms Question, Mr/Ms Answer or Mr/Ms Action?

Mr/Ms Question – 8 votes          Mr/Ms Action – 6 votes

Mr/Ms Answer – 1 vote            All-in-One (a Leader needs all these…) – 3 votes

2. What’s the most important characteristic of a Leader? (Sharp with questions; Great Vision; Clear Communicator; Focused on Action; Voice of Command)

There are two sources of input into this question:

a)   The POLL and its results, that you may find here: http://polls.linkedin.com/p/41586/sepja ;

b)   The written answers, in the different forums in which I’ve posted the question.

What I’ve done, following the basic line of my ‘Generation of Motives for Action’ method, was to extract from the written answers the characteristics those answers were pointing at, and used them as candidates to win this contest (The most important…).

After that, I’ve divided those characteristics in two groups:

g.1 – Inner Values

g.2 – Skills

The results are:

Inner Values

Skills

Will to do

5

Communication

17

Authenticity

4

Connect to Others

10

Integrity

3

Active Listener

8

Be a Servant

2

Inspire/Motivate

7

Will to learn

1

Vision

7

Spirit

1

Manage People

6

Responsiveness

1

Trust&Credibility builder

5

Honesty

1

To Think

3

Genuineness

1

Help Others to grow

3

Feeling Good

1

Decision-maker

2

Respect for Others

1

Act Proactively

2

Praise Giver

1

Delegation

2

Love to Lead

1

Judgment

1

Build Consensus

1

Courage to act

1

Creates environment of inter-connection

1

Attentive to Others’ needs

1

READING THE RESULTS

There are two major factors that might turn anyone into a Leader:

Your own Inner Values, and the skills you develop so that you use them in your relations with others.

Looking at Inner Values, we find that the ‘Will to do’, the disposition to take action, is the most important in Leadership, but it needs to be supported by Authenticity and Integrity, as well as on an attitude of Being a Servant, be-of-use.

These characteristics are, in my opinion, THE ones that will enable anyone to be a LEADER.

But there’s a lot of work to do before you are one. (There are still great opportunities for Trainers and Coaches!)

You’ll need to develop a few skills before you are seen by others as a LEADER.

Those skills are, in order of importance:

–    Communication;

–    ability to interact with others;

–    be capable to LISTEN to others ACTIVELY, not only hear what they say, but being able to ask questions and, so, go deeper into understanding their points of view;

–    Develop a constant search for what’s beyond what your horizon is offering you as a view;

–    Understand human nature and develop a friendly environment for them to develop themselves also;

–    Build an image that others can trust and rely on.

As I guess you all see, this has been a discussion in which ALL of us were right!

NOW: My Opinion

When I’ve submitted the first question (who’s the leader?), I’ve told you that I was publishing my opinion somewhere else, so that you should know what I believe in and that it should not interfere with your thoughts (if you give your opinion in the first place, people will tend to agree or disagree upon it and their answers will be obscured by that).

It’s a poor presentation (I need a lot of training on that…) but, still, if you’ve come this far and still want to know it, you can reach it at http://www.viddler.com/explore/luiscochofel/videos/5/

I strongly believe that each one of us has a LEADER within – it’s our Conscience!

As you might have already guessed, I see Mr. Question being the Leader of me.

I see myself (as well as anyone else) as a team.

We are:

the boss – The Conscience

the Manager – Reason

the operational – Body

In order to make it so that my body has the most comfortable living, we need to offer him direction (the boss provides it with his continuous questions), prepare adequate Action Plans (provided by Reason), and we need feedback from the Body’s experience, so, we need to act.

Simple isn’t it?

In a different video I’m asking: ‘Are you listening to your Conscience?’.

I truly believe that that’s what will turn you into being a LEADER: you’ll become the LEADER of your life, in the first place, and, then, little by little, you’ll be a LEADER of groups with no supplementary efforts needed.

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5 thoughts on “What’s the most important characteristic of a LEADER?

  1. Hello, Luis.
    Thank you for your comments. Sorry to be so slow in responding, but it’s difficult to check in more than periodically. I have to go with Mr. Answer as my leader, qualified with the understanding that Mr. Answer appears in the form of Mr. Question. The Question is many times a real leader’s answer to build the collaborative spirit and to foster shared leadership and participatory decisions. I look forward to continued conversation.
    With good thoughts.
    Kim

  2. Pingback: 2010 in review « Luis Cochofel's Blog

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