A leader is a rather amorphous figure to describe, but is easy to recognize due to their commanding presence.

Each leader has different strengths and skill sets. Most leaders are charismatic and eloquent speakers, but those are just examples of the many skills required.

Expectations of a Leader.

As a leader, there are four basic qualities expected:

  1.  A purposeful or meaningful message of importance and a direction for the future,
  2.  Integrity and trustworthiness,
  3.  An optimistic viewpoint, and
  4.  Positive actions and results.

The methods and tactics a leader uses to deliver these expectations are what separates the great ones from the ones we forget.

That’s where character comes into play.

But What is Character?

In order to achieve these four expectations, a leader must choose the right people to help him implement his vision. How a leader acts and behaves in specific situations will inspire and motivate the people around him.

 Here are some important elements of a great leader’s character:

  • Leaders don’t make promises before they determine if their plans are feasible or achievable. Planning ahead of time makes it easier to recognize a go or no-go decision.
  • Leaders never look to blame others. They are accountable and readily take action to make changes in order to correct poor implementation.
  • Leaders admit when they make mistakes and don’t have their ego get in the way.
  • Leaders are decisive but encourage debate and try to reach a compromise or a consensus among their managers or constituency.
  • Leaders don’t take credit for achievements; they know their limitations and look to give credit to others.
  • Well led organizations are coordinated and provide a consistent message.
  • Leaders do not deride their organization in public or apologize for its behavior. This will demoralize their employees or constituents.
  • Leaders come to the defense of their supporters and don’t worry about offending the competition or opposition.
  • Leaders never come to conclusions, particularly in public, until they know all the facts.

Great leadership is a complex ability that is dependent on the times we live in and the culture that exists.

These are just some behavioral traits that exemplify great leaders but the list is by no means complete.

Great leaders in business or politics don’t come around very often, but we have many who toil every day to try and live up to our expectations.

We are so lucky that many live right here in Naples.

About the Author(s)

Dr. George  Ahearn

George Ahearn, is a former Chairman of SCORE Naples. Dr. Ahearn, a Naples resident, was Entrepreneur of the Year for Northeast Ohio in 2001. He was recognized by the Governor of Ohio and the Weatherhead School of Business of Case Western University for his achievements in entrepreneurship. He continues to counsel budding entrepreneurs and small business owners in Collier County for SCORE Naples,...

Former Chairman of SCORE Naples, SCORE Naples
What Makes a Great Leader?