When you look closely at the career path of the most successful leaders, there are four traits I’ve observed that set clearly the them apart from most other people. All leaders need to start with a strong character foundation of integrity and authenticity but this is not all that is required to be successful. Today I’d like to share these four leadership traits with you in a simple and memorable way so you will find it easy to observe them in leaders you respect and also, and more importantly, bring out these traits in yourself.

The traits can be easily remembered using the acronym L.E.A.D. – Learning, Enthusiasm, Attitude and Daring. All of these traits come back to personal development, it’s not what you will learn inside the workplace but what needs to be developed on your own time if you desire to be a leader in what you do. Let’s look at each of these in a little more detail.


for a Lifetime – To become an expert in your chosen field requires a substantial investment in learning, training and personal development. Leaders recognise they have a responsibility to keep learning and sharing knowledge with the people around them. Great leaders use personal development to increase their ‘self-awareness’ and ‘emotional intelligence’ to understand how they impact upon the people around them. One of my personal heroes is Allan Stewart who at age 97 completed his fourth degree, a masters in clinical science. Too old? Never.


– Purpose and passion when combined are an unstoppable force of nature. When you bring a level of excitement and enjoyment to your work your chances of success increase correspondingly and you attract other people to you. Successful leaders are following their dreams, doing what they love and it’s visible for all to see.

Jim Carrey covered this point of doing what you love nicely when he recently shared in a commencement speech to Maharishi University of Management Class of 2014 how his late father inspired him to follow his dreams, You can fail at what you don’t want. So you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.”


– Having an attitude of humility, service, gratitude, personal responsibility and positive action is critical. Why? Because these are the key traits required to build a loyal and motivated team and get things done. When you get cocky, you can also get complacent and others will look for an opportunity to bring you down. A leader that focuses on building a team and growing new leaders understands what leadership really is.


– Leaders take risks, period. All leaders have put themselves on the line at some stage, faced their fears and taken a significant risk of failing in the process. Always keep in mind that falling down is never failing, it’s learning how to succeed. Failing is when you fall down and give up, deciding not to pick yourself up and put yourself out there to learn and grow in the process.

For more information on our leadership development programs or how to develop as a leader, please contact us.


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