Traits of Great Leaders


Throughout my career, I have consistently experienced certain attributes in great business leaders.  The most admired and successful CEOs of our time have built their ability to lead upon this common set of traits.  Consider anyone you think is a great leader and you will find that they will exhibit three or more of the following:



Effective leaders know their job well and are familiar with the tasks their subordinates perform. A subordinate who sees that his leader does not know the hands-on details of the job will likely not respect that leader. Leaders cannot provide useful guidance to their followers if they are not familiar with their tasks.

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Servant Leadership

Brady3_300Servant leadership is a philosophy and practice of leadership, coined and defined by Robert Greenleaf and supported by many leadership and management writers.  Servant-leaders achieve results for their organizations by giving priority in their attention to the needs of their colleagues and those they serve. Servant-leaders are often seen as humble stewards of their organization's resources (human, financial and physical).


Five seconds of encouragement... five minutes of education... or five years of effort for someone else's benefit.  Servant leaders shine and find their greatest sense of fulfillment in enabling others to succeed.

-Brady Stephenson


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Transformational Leadership

Transformational leadership is a style of leadership in which the leader identifies the needed change, creates a vision to guide the change through inspiration, and executes the change with the commitment of the members of the group. It produces valuable and positive changes focused on developing followers into leaders.

James MacGregor Burns first introduced the concept of transformational leadership in his descriptive research on political leaders.  According to Burns, transforming leadership is a process in which "leaders and followers help each other to advance to a higher level of morale and motivation". Burns related to the difficulty in differentiation between management and leadership and claimed that the differences are in characteristics and behaviors.

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