What It Takes To Be An Exceptional Leader

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My whole professional career has been devoted to trying to understand what it takes for a person to be an exceptional leader. And I have worked with some of the brightest and the best of such leaders in every industry around the world.

What does leadership success look like?

What does it take for people to want to follow a leader?

The other day I interviewed two senior leaders about two future executives in their organizations. Here is what they told me.

“She is the most impressive leader I have met in my whole career”

 “This person is going to become another..(name of a very effective company president)”

What was it that they saw in these two leaders? In each instance it was a pairing of two complimentary abilities. These individuals,

  1. Have the intellectual ability to address the most complex business strategies and emerge with simple but elegant solutions.
  2. Get stellar results but never sacrifice their highest principles
  3. Display a self-confidence paired with humility that inspires people to follow.
  4. Drive change through relationships based on trust.
  5. Leverage incredible business knowledge and collaboratively solve problems.
  6. Reflect high levels of optimism even in the face of extreme adversity.

What do you think makes for a great leader?

What leadership attributes would you include?


About cedricj

I am a licensed psychologist and management consultant and have always been intrigued by how leaders can inspire people in their organizations. The bottom line is that people are not always motivated by material rewards, the use of the carrot or the stick, fear and intimidation,and command and control, Five human needs inspire and drive us. Kristine S MacKain, Ph.D and myself describe these inspirational forces in our book "What Inspirational Leaders Do" (Kindle 2008)
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