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Common Characteristics of Excellent Leadership

Updated on September 29, 2013

The Good Fortune to be Associated with Success

Two excellent managers, Marie O'Riordan and Gerard Duffy
Two excellent managers, Marie O'Riordan and Gerard Duffy

Extraordinary Abilities

Some feel that a standard description of an ideal business manager to fit every situation is impossible. A lot of what's needed depends on the type of business being run. Certainly the competencies required in one industry will differ from talents needed to understand people working in a completely different field.

But there are certain general characteristics that almost everyone likes to see in a manager, such as being a considerate and attentive listener to what others in the organization have to say.

Still, it is necessary to understand the business technically. So not everyone with the admirable traits of a good manager can excel in all types of businesses. He or she must stick to what they know best.

It helps to avoid complacency in any type of work because that can make the workweek very dull. Therefore, there should be always some future goal in mind.

But to be too bossy or too driven can drive workers crazy. A good manager has to be likable, calm inside, and somewhat humble because, in reality, a lot will depend on luck. It's not a good attribute to be so egotistical that the manager believes he or she can do anything on earth. Exuding a sense of superiority never worked well in business.

A good manager will be known and liked not only in the upper echelons of management but also down on the floor on ground level with the workers.

It was once said that success is the greatest motivator. Therefore, a good manager will succeed at achieving goals. But setting the goal at first should be done carefully. As in archery, it's best not to aim too low or too high.

Business scholars have analyzed various managers and made lists of traits that good ones seem to have in common. One way to describe such excellent managers is to say that they have the ability to transform a company from so-so to good, and later to excellent. They are transformational people.

What is the meaning of "transformational leadership"?

For the leader of a business, or any organization of people, to engage in what is called "transformational leadership" means that a certain course is followed, having special characteristics that distinguish this leadership from ordinary styles of business management.
"Transformational leadership," as the name suggests, is aimed at making a major change in the way an organization operates. As such, it can not be accomplished by one person alone, but rather requires a cohesive group of people, all dedicated to achieving the same ideal vision of what their organization should become in the future.

What particular traits exemplify this type of leadership?

Charismatic, idealized influence flows naturally from transformational leadership. Hardly anyone would deny that being charismatic is a personality trait that is a tremendous advantage for any leader. It gives a leader the power to influence people simply because it makes the leader so likable. It is an ideal way to influence others.

To be sure, such power can be abused, but within the framework of "transformational leadership," this talent is used to achieve something beneficial to the organization and the individuals who participate in it.

The transformational leader will set a good example, proceed with courage and confidence, and consistently emphasize the attractiveness of the vision that the company is striving to achieve.

Highly motivated workers are found in such an organization because transformational leadership typically results in a feeling of importance amongst members of the workforce who are committed to achieving the desired change in their organization. People are doing their best at work because they feel a part of creating something previously considered next to impossible--a whole new type of company. There is a stimulating atmosphere in the workplace.

Instead of just being a place where workers can earn money to subsist, the job now has become part of their personal lives by providing new optimism and recognition for their individual contributions toward achieving shared goals.

Respect for intellect and wisdom also pervades such an organization. A great characteristic of transformational leadership is to encourage independent thinking on the part of workers. This results in an environment where people are not ridiculed for being creative or intellectual, instead of just blindly following orthodox methods.

Within the ranks of people working for the common goal, there will be respect for the ideas of each individual. The leader's idea of how best to proceed will not dominate in all cases. Because of the demonstrated interest of the leader in maintaining an intellectually stimulating environment, workers will feel comfortable enough to express their opinions and challenge traditional ways.

Personal recognition is a constant event in a well led organization. In transformational leadership, individual attention is given by the leader to each person who is working toward the goal of achieving success for the business in its efforts to transform into a better organization. The worker's personal needs, aspirations, and talents are carefully considered.

There is great respect for each worker as a unique individual, capable of making a significant contribution toward the successful transformation of the company. The leader will not hesitate to congratulate the worker on a job well done, or an innovative idea.

Transformational leadership brings great benefits to both companies and individuals alike. It is rare, but exists in the business world.

Great Business Executives


Modern Success Stories

The man behind is Jeff Bezos who became a success by making Amazon into a best-loved website for online shoppers. Part of how he did it was to be sure to keep the shoppers' interests in mind, not just his own. By recommending products similar to those that the shopper needed, Mr. Bezos was able to give something to a customer that really was helpful. Not only that, but it improved sales for Amazon as well.

Anne Mulcahy at Xerox came into a company that was facing the possibility of final demise. From 2001 to 2007 she downsized the company but also saved it. She was a courageous leader who preserved a corporation that was a household word in America.

Brad Smith of Intuit software, which includes QuickBooks has created a culture in which 8,000 fortunate employees are given creative freedom and great opportunities for personal success. This is rare in a corporation so large.

Howard Shultz of Starbucks was one of the hardest working executives ever. He was born into a poor family but succeeded by being respectful and considerate of others. He places great value on the ventures of other business people and employees.

Google's Larry Page is a tough leader. He is a man of integrity, who heeds his own conscience rather than giving in to public opinion. His company is beyond comparison.

Tim Cook at Apple followed in the footsteps of Steve Jobs. However, he is trying to run the company differently, bravely seeking a new direction instead of following only Steve Jobs way of doing things.

Indra Nooyi at PepsiCo is an exceptional woman who is attempting to make the company's products healthier while also financially successful. She has musical talent and enjoys parties. The company has prospered under her popular leadership.

Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway remains a steady investor, not given to whims in search of quick profits. His stability and patience repeatedly pays off in the end.

Sir Richard Branson at Virgin Group owns more than 400 companies. His Virgin Airlines is renown the world over for its uniquely excellent quality.

Rupert Murdoch of News Corporation is an amazingly hard-working person at his age. He showed courage in facing charges of scandal. His ethic of tough work and bravery are examples to everyone who participates in the business world.

These are examples of "strong" leaders. There are other characteristics that go into making a great business leader. Many thanks to the following site for providing this list of business inspirations:


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