Being a Leader


Characteristics of Effective Leaders

In recent years, different researchers and research agencies, teacher associations, national education organizations, and the U.S. Department of Education have published lists of the characteristics of effective professional development to guide school leaders in their improvement efforts. This study analyzed 13 of the better known of these lists to determine whether they were derived through similar procedures, based on similar frames of reference, and included the same elements or characteristics. Results show that individual characteristics vary widely in their frequency of inclusion in the lists and that no characteristic is consistently named in all lists. In addition, research evidence supporting most of the identfied characteristics is inconsistent and often contradictory. Implications for leaders interested in improving professional development activities are discussed, as well as ways to enhance efforts to identify the characteristics of effective professional development

Every business needs an effective leader. And yet, highly effective leadership is rare. Here's a checklist that comes from helping hundreds of CEOs, entrepreneurs and managers become more effective leaders.


If you're feeling brave, in the spirit of a new year, you might rate yourself on the following characteristics on a scale of 1 - 10, then ask some customers and staff to do the same - anonymously, of course, using something like SurveyMonkey. The results might surprise you.

1) Truly Humble

This is #1.  If you are selfish and obsessed with your own self-image, you will be your own worst enemy. Sure, there are exceptions. But for every Larry Ellison, there are hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of nice-guy/gal business leaders whose good character makes people want to associate with them.

I say "truly humble," because we are living in a time where fake humility is an epidemic - and people are becoming increasingly good at spotting it. And, "leads to serve," because a real leader lives to help others, using the talents and desires he was born with.

2) Non-Judgmentally Observant

During a working day, the effective leader observes his own behavior and that of others.

If you observe your own behavior non-judgmentally, but with the constant desire to improve, you will get much farther than if you berate yourself, or excuse or justify your shortcomings. Doing these things will ensure that your problems remain unsolved. And, if you are asking others to solve their problems, they must first see you solving your own.

If you take the same "calm observer" approach with others, you will be a dispassionate listener. It will be more difficult for them to guess what you're thinking, and they will be more likely to tell you more.

They will still be on their best behavior - after all, the boss is in the room - but they will relax just a little bit more than they would if you were becoming agitated as you listened to them.



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