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When we’re younger, we look up to our parents, teachers and older siblings as they always appear to be in charge. To us they might even seem unstoppable. As we get older we realize that we are infallible and that as adults we try to make the best decisions with what information we have available. What about those who transcend the average adult and become fearless leaders? We know them and they come from all walks of life – CEOs, elected officials, political activists, religious figures and many other superheroes living in our midst. However, what makes them stand out and what is it that we crave from them to help fulfill our lives and make us want to follow their lead?

  1. Integrity: Good leaders say what they mean and mean what they say. They don’t crack under pressure and there is clarity with the message being conveyed. People follow those who they can trust.
  2. Perspective: People’s views change when they overcome adversity and their existing viewpoints are challenged. These insights build character, sensitivity and understanding, which allows you to feel like your own viewpoints are understood.
  3. Courage: Think about Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mahatma Ghandi. They were incredibly courageous just by staying true to their convictions no matter the outcome (including jail and potential violence). While most good leaders may not face these obstacles, they do need to stay true to their convictions despite competing interests, naysayers and other challenges.
  4. Big Picture: Start with the end goal in mind. Good leaders have vision and can articulate this vision so others see it as well.
  5. Listening: Many people think good leaders are known for being wonderful orators and have great power through their strength and command. However, I think strong leadership requires humility and listening when others do not agree with that point of view. This helps build the following and engaging others whose viewpoints are starkly different from your own.

Who are the leaders in your life and what can you learn from them?

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