What Constitutes a Leader?

On Friday, I attended an excellent seminar on leadership offered by Jenny Whitener, Chief Executive of Bridge Consulting International and alumna of Cap Gemini Ernst & Young. Among the many fascinating learnings she shared was a simple and elegant list of what “followers most admire in their leaders.” According to Kouzes and Posner in their book The Leadership Challenge:

  • Honesty
  • A Sense of Looking Forward
  • Inspiration
  • Competence

Does this constellation seem surprising to you? Are any of them “optional” in an effective leader? What other attributes and qualities are essential in the best leaders you’ve known?

What are some key questions you might use to assess your own leadership in each of these four categories? Here are a few of my favorites:

  • What do you do to promote clear communication?
  • Describe how your vision is communicated and integrated in the work you do every day.
  • How do you communicate success?
  • How do you model and share your new learnings?

What are your thoughts?

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