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4 virtues great leaders share

Most of us want to be respected by our peers and make a difference while making more money and gaining more responsibility. Overall, we want to make a difference with what we do at work (and in life).

Most of us want to be respected by our peers and make a difference while making more money and gaining more responsibility. Overall, we want to make a difference with what we do at work (and in life).

On the flip side, most of us don’t know how to achieve this and in reality, there’s no simple formula to great leadership. It takes time, attention, patience and most of all – knowledge.

If you don’t have a firm understanding of what makes someone more influential than others, you can’t begin to grasp what it takes to become one – so be prepared to alter beliefs and practices accordingly. Once aware of the traits that make someone more authoritative, you can formulate a plan to improve upon lacking areas and alter the behaviours preventing you from achieving management and executive status.

Here’s a list of traits that sales and marketing headhunters look for in leaders, along with some exercises to enhance your influence and responsibility at work.

Defining the traits of leadership

1. Strength

Steve Jobs KarryOnBegin to carry yourself with poise and confidence. People are drawn to confidence and shy away from nervousness, lack of authenticity and insecurity.

How you feel about yourself will dictate your ability to lead and command authority. Essentially, if you don’t feel you’re important and deserving, don’t expect your co-workers to.

If you have come across as anxious and unassertive with your colleagues in the past, don’t focus on these shortcomings.

Your co-workers, like anyone else will have a short memory and so should you. From now on, think of the prior experiences as a learning tool rather than a future forecaster.

With that being said, here are some exercises on how to increase self-confidence and perceived strength:

  • Challenge the negative beliefs you have about yourself. Instead of focusing all your energy on what you don’t like about you, give equal weight to all your positive qualities.
  • Focus on past successes rather than failures. Don’t mull over what you’ve done incorrectly. It’s more productive to think about all the things you’ve done right in the past. Reinforce these thoughts repeatedly.
  • Stop always needing to be right. Understand there is nothing shameful about past work mistakes.
  • Stop looking to others for acceptance and happiness. Learn that you don’t need anyone’s approval for your own self-confidence.
  • Let go of any anger that you are holding on to. Anger and resentment will prove a significant barrier to you becoming a leader at work.

2. Positive Energy

Richard KarryOnLeaders show positive energy and optimism, showering their people with a can-do attitude. This outlook draws colleagues to them and paves the way for influence, respect and admiration from others.

In terms of leadership, positive energy has a multitude of benefits and is nothing short of a crucial component.

When you’re positive, you think in terms of solutions, not problems, you inspire risk taking, tend to be more resilient and think more clearly.

Moreover, you are more assertive and your candour allows for quicker, more open communication amongst the other employees. This is the foundation of strong leadership.


3. Passion

Clarke KarryOnBeing passionate about your job means possessing a heartfelt, deep and authentic excitement about work. This excitement is infectious and naturally will draw others to your way of thinking.

People follow positivity, effectiveness, intelligence and resiliency. All of which are by-products of loving what you do.

Until you learn to love work, you can’t hope to display the necessary positive energy leadership requires.

Either proactively search for the perfect employment or train yourself to become more passionate in your current job. Regardless, make a firm decision to stay or leave and follow through with it.

Here are a few ways how to increase your passion for work:

  • Increase your performance. Leaders do everything possible to increase the effectiveness of their work. They put in the extra time and sincerely enjoy what they do partly because others admire their efforts.
  • Think about what is going right rather than obsessing about your problems. Understand that no job is going to be perfect and create a reality that is more upbeat and success focused.
  • Stop focusing on what people “owe” you and begin focusing on what you can do to standout.

 4. Selflessness

Obama KarryOn

Leaders are selfless. They are more interested in group achievements as opposed to chasing their own goals.

By consistently pouring out encouragement, caring and recognition, your co-workers will become more drawn to you. Regardless of whether or not you are management, take every opportunity to inject self-confidence into those who earned it.

In the end

Most significant things at work and in life require work, study and most important, practice. Leadership is no different. Understand that no one is born a leader. Rather, they decide to mould themselves into one.

In your eyes, what’s the most important trait in a successful leader?

This article has been adapted and originally appeared on