The Makings of a Leader

I remember being asked in undergrad: “What makes someone a great leader?”

At the time, we were in a routine peer session digging deep on another assessment. I always laugh now at how many personality tests we had to take from True Colors, Strengths Finder, and Meyers-Briggs (just to name a few) but this time it was to discuss the makings of a leader.

I took a moment to really think about it. At first, I thought it meant having certain talents, skills, or even personality traits like being charming or witty. Everyone yelled out different answers and the facilitator chimed in not to confuse the traits needed to complete a task with the traits needed to lead a team of people. The traits or qualities needed to bring out the best in others. This left fewer responses.

“Think about the people you admire and those you have worked for. What are the similarities? differences? What were the attributes that made you take a chance on them? The moments that left you disappointed in their leadership?”

Our collective answers were enough to close out the day but when a friend shared this quote years later, I felt like it held part of the answer:

“Under poor leaders, we feel like we work for the company. With good leaders we feel like we work for each other.” – Simon Sinek #leadership

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  1. That is well said. I also feel that one of the attributes of a good leader is being open to and listening to the ideas of your subordinates which requires a degree of humility