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10 Characteristics of a Leader
Selling Power Editors

To help you take on a more effective role in your present job or in a future position, work on developing the characteristics that embody leadership. Here are 10 essential qualities to get you started.

1) Be courageous.
This means an unshakable belief in your standards and values, and a willingness to take risks instead of waiting for safe situations, better times, and assured results.

2) Think big.
Great leaders are curious, eager to create new things, and able to bring out the best in others. They have an ability to see the big picture and work toward making that picture a reality.

3) Master change.
Leaders accept change, handle it well, and succeed, while others shake their heads in confusion. Leaders view change as the only constant in life and see it as an opportunity rather than a problem.

4) Be ethical.
Leaders have a keen sense of fairness and justice. They command the respect and loyalty of their followers by valuing the rights of others, by exhibiting their own loyalty and conscientiousness, and by upholding their ethical standards even in the worst of times.

5) Have a sense of humor.
Leaders use humor to turn mundane tasks into enjoyable experiences. They laugh at themselves, and lighten the load of everyone around them by providing an "emotional vacation" from difficult situations.

6) Be persistent and realistic.
Leaders persevere, maintaining commitment to their goals in the face of pressure and obstacles. They have patience and are willing to sacrifice today's satisfaction for tomorrow's gains.


7) Be positive and hopeful.
A positive mental attitude without a dreaming "pie in the sky" perspective helps leaders see the good in a bad situation and helps them to reinforce the self-worth and value of other people, emphasizing the positive rather than dwelling on the negative.

8) Accept power and use it wisely.
Leaders know that power and greatness are not goals to be sought after, but by-products of learning how to serve so they neither shrink from power nor seek it unnecessarily. They "pull rank" only in emergencies, and always take responsibility for themselves and their actions.

9) Make decisions.
Leaders realize that not deciding is a decision. They would rather make a wrong decision than waste time, energy, talent, money, and opportunities by avoiding commitments to a plan of action.

10) Be committed.
The zeal and dedication of leaders draw others to them as they demonstrate their confidence, high standards and self-discipline. Leaders are not quitters.

Once you have what it takes to lead, you will be on your way to a more successful career. You will also be helping your company achieve more success. Aren't these good enough reasons to start cultivating leadership characteristics today?

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