month’s column on competence (what a leader knows) was important. But
character (who a leader is) is equally important. Not only do groups do
better when their leaders demonstrate positive character; in our era of
transparency and disclosure, society judges a group or an organization by
the character of its leaders.
Based on answers received from individuals in corporate, business
and governmental groups, here, in order, are traits individuals desire
most in their leaders.
By far and away, honesty is the most admired and desired leadership trait.
People want leaders who display sincerity, integrity, candor and
unswerving ethics. Followers see no place for situational ethics where
right and wrong are determined by the situation or context. They want
leaders who’s “word is their bond”—leaders they can trust.
The proverb says, “Without vision, the people perish.” Followers want
leaders who are forward-looking—those with a vision or a mental portrait
that guides the group toward a goal. But the vision must be one that
prospers the group or organization, not one designed to elevate the
motivating, stimulating leaders get the most out of others. Legendary
football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant, war-time leader, Winston Churchill,
civil rights leader, Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Biblical
judge, Deborah, inspired followers to reach deep inside themselves to
accomplish more than most of their followers thought possible. Today,
people want leaders who can inspire them to greatness.
Followers want leaders who treat them fairly. They want leaders who are
sensitive to the individual needs and well-being of followers. When
followers sense cronyism, favoritism or unfair treatment of some
individuals, they lose faith in their leaders.
Courageous leaders put courage into others; they encourage them rather
than taking courage out or discouraging them. Courageous leaders set an
example for others as they persevere and encourage others to stay the
month, we will consider leadership confidence.