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The Leadership Equation: Characteristics of a Good Leader

There is no shortage of content written on leadership. A quick google search or visit to Amazon reveals many opinions on traits, qualities, and definitions of leadership. Why contribute yet another series of articles on such a popular topic? Good leaders are in short supply. I believe the popularity of the topic is a result of the continual leadership failures revealed each week in the news.

    \[ l_i = \left ( i_1 + t + f + h + \frac{s_1}{s_2} + c_1 + j\right )\left ( w_1 + u + l + \frac{s_3}{a} + e \right )\left ( w_2 + \frac{m_1}{m_2} + c_2  \right ) \]

where l_i = leadership/influence

Everyone can lead, though some should not. Being a good leader is hard and requires the right set of talent, skill, and character. Do you have what it takes to lead others?

Leader ≠ Manager

Often people will use leader and manager interchangeably. Some individuals are both a leader and manager. However there is a clear difference between the two.

A manager is a steward or administrator of an organization’s resources and/or people. A manager is given authority to make things happen. Managers exercise authority over others. People are required to follow managers.

A leader is an influencer of others. A leader does not force others to make things happen. A leader inspires. People choose to follow leaders.

You don’t have to manage others to be a leader in your organization. Leaders can exist in all roles within the organization regardless of position. Personally, I am cast in both a leader and manager role at my company, though I prefer to motivate others as a leader.

How Does a Leader Influence Others?

Good leaders maximize their influence of others. This influence is simply the product of trust, competence, and vision, although this influence is hard to achieve. Over the next 9 posts, I will unpack trust, competence, and vision, and discuss 15 characteristics of a good leader.

Take a look at the equation above. Can anyone make a guess at the variables? (Hint: each variable/numerator is the first letter of one of the characteristics.)

In Leadership (Equation, Influence, Leadership)
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