12 Qualities That Make You a Leader

12 Qualities That Make You a Leader

Sheila is a popular speaker and best selling author on leadership. She has participated in presentations along with former General Colin L. Powell, Michael Jordan and Hillary Clinton among others.

  • Here are some of the characteristics that help make people successful leaders:

A Mission That Matters:

A mission doesn’t have to be huge but it’s important to have one to start with. It can eventually grow into a bigger mission. There are great tips on how to clarify missions such as pinpointing what’s important and deciding what needs to be done.

Big thinker:

Big thinker

High Ethics:

Ethics involve how we act on our morals. Words stating beliefs mean nothing without ethics or action. To set a good example as a leader, strong ethics are necessary. As an example if a parent stresses to a child how important honesty is but then proceeds to lie to someone, the two are not aligned.

Be Sensitive:

To be sensitive in this context means being open to others and becoming willing to understand what people care about. It doesn’t mean to be timid but to be clear on feelings with a positive mental attitude.

Risk Taker:

Sheila Murray Bethel, PhD points out how many people avoid risks simply because of the fear of ridicule or condemnation. When anyone stands up for their beliefs, someone will disagree with them no matter what.

Being able to withstand criticism is part of risk taking. People may also stop taking risks because they fear failure. Mistakes are part of the learning process and a good leader can admit mistakes and begin again.

Uses Power Wisely:

If a leader can’t share power with other people, he risks alienating them. When others are empowered, they can help strengthen mutual goals. In emergencies it’s appropriate to use more power, but it’s not necessary to be a constant crusading power tripper.

To spot people who abuse power look for those who act rude, superior, vain, greedy, and arrogant or refuse to apologize.

Communicates Effectively:

This is one of the most important leadership qualities because if you can’t communicate what you want, others won’t know how to proceed.

Other Leadership Qualities:

Other desirable qualities for leaders are to be courageous, courteous and committed. Equally important is the ability to make decisions that affect many and to become a team builder. To build a team effectively means knowing how to motivate, when to delegate and recognizing when someone needs more training.

  • To delve deeper into how to develop and apply these leadership qualities, read Making a Difference: 12Qualities That Make You a Leader, by Sheila Murray Bethel, Berkley Books, 1990, ISBN: 0-425-12309-X. To learn more about Bethel, the leadership and change expert see the

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