John Adair is a highly influential author on leadership topics. He identifies key characteristics of leaders as:
1. Enthusiasm. Can you think of any leader who lacks enthusiasm?
2. Integrity. This is the quality that makes people trust you, and trust is essential in all human relationships.
3. Toughness. Leaders are often demanding people, uncomfortable to have around because their standards are high. They aim to be respected but not necessarily popular.
4. Fairness. They treat individuals differently but equally. They do not have favourites.
5. Warmth. Leadership involves your heart as well as your head. Cold fish do not make good leaders.
6. Humility. They are willing to listen and learn. Who wants to work for an arrogant manager?
7. Confidence. Self-confidence is essential – but not overconfidence.
To which list I would add
8. Decisiveness. Without a decision the whole team lacks direction. Leaders make decisions and have the courage to admit that sometimes they were wrong.
Adair says, the six most important words in leadership are, ‘I admit I made a mistake.’
Based on Effective Leadership by John Adair