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Are we Exceptional Leaders?

Leadership is not one-size-fits-all, as each leader will bring varying personalities to the role. It’s a difficult thing to pin down and understand. Exceptional leadership is dynamic; it melds various unique skills into an integrated whole.

This week I will outline essential traits of exceptional leaders, incorporating famous quotes, for the road ahead:

Courage:Courage is the first virtue that makes all other virtues possible.” – Aristotle. People need courage in their leaders, someone to make difficult decisions and who will stay the course in tough times, and this trait will reciprocate with the team.

Communication:The more elaborate our means of communication, the less we communicate.” – Joseph Priestley. I think that communication is the real work of leadership; you need to be a great communicator to be a leader because it inspires people and creates connections through an understanding of people.

Humility:Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.”- C.S. Lewis. Being humble is being an exceptional leader, as you don’t allow your position of authority to make you feel that you are better than anyone else.

Generosity:A good leader is a person who takes a little more than his share of the blame and a little less than his share of the credit.” – John Maxwell. Leaders care about each person as an individual, and their goal is to inspire each team member to achieve their personal best.

Self-Awareness:It is absurd that a man should rule others, who cannotrule himself.”- Latin Proverb. This is the foundation of emotional intelligence, and leaders with high self-awareness have a clear and accurate image of their leadership and their strengths and weaknesses.

Authenticity:Just be who you are and speak from your guts, and heart-it’s all a man has.” – Hubert Humphrey. Be honest and align your words and actions with whom you claim to will define this trait.

Approachability:Management is like holding a dove in your hand. Squeeze too hard, and you will kill it; not hard enough, and it flies away.” – Tommy Lasorda. We must welcome challenges, criticism, and viewpoints other than our own.

Accountability:The ancient Romans had a tradition: Whenever one of their engineers constructed an arch, as the capstone was hoisted into place, the engineer assumed accountability for his work in the most profound way possible. He stood under the arch.” – Michael Armstrong. Great leaders must have their people’s back and not shift blame, and doing so earns trust.

It is important to remember that leadership is not rocket science, and we can all improve it. We must focus on what we can control, seeking to continually improve how we do things and empower those around us to succeed so that we can become better exceptional leaders for the road ahead.


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