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What Makes a Leader?

What Makes a Leader?

What Makes a Leader?

To start, lets define leadership.  We look at leadership as the ability to command with clarity, purpose, direction and conviction.  In the corporate world there seems to be this synonymous correlation between leadership and management.  I am here to tell you that the difference between these two titles all throughout history couldn’t be more opposed.

To manage means to maintain.  To keep your arms around something or to contain it, if you will.  Management of people and things is typically done in a holding pattern.  I interpret management as not letting something go backwards or get out of control.  Now compare that with the stark contrast from the opening statement about leadership… to command with clarity, purpose, direction and conviction.  Pretty big difference huh?

So that begs the question…  Which are you?  A leader or a manager?  Are YOU leading the direction that your life is headed or are you simply managing (trying to contain it and not let it get out of control) when it comes to your life.  Your life is not specific to just your business and neither is leadership.  It is inclusive to your entire personal “Ecosystem”.  You balance, your lifestyle, your personal development and your success.  Are you a leader in your own life?

I have known many a great managers in my life but very few great leaders.  Amongst those great leaders I have had the pleasure of working for and working with I have extracted some commonality in the way that they lead.  These are the tipping point elements that I have found common amongst the greatest leaders I know personally and even the great leaders we have studied in history.  Here is my list of the top 10 characteristics of a great leader.


TOP 10 Traits of a “Badass” Leader

1.  A leader is selfless in their agenda.  They are clear in what needs to be done but they get things done with people not through them.

2.  A great leader is constantly surrounding themselves with people who are better than they are, and/or who have strengths beyond their own.

3.  A great leader is humble.  They seek humility often and expect the same form their people.

4.  A great leader is inclusive & collaborative.  They expect their people to be leaders too!

5.  A great leader is self-aware and constantly working on themselves.  They are always growing and expect nothing less from the company they keep.

6.  A great leader always shares the credit or gives it to where it truly belongs.  They are a shameless promoter of their people.

7.  A great leader puts people above all else.  They lead armies that will follow them to hell and back without flinching.

8.  A great leader promotes people above themselves.  The win for a leader comes from watching their people grow.

9.  A great leader lives by their example.  You will always know where you stand and you will never have to ask.

10.  A great leader will always stand up for what they believe in but always be open to other perspectives.  They are adaptable.


Here is the leadership delta the the best in the business use to affect change in themselves.

  • Self-Diagnose
  • Self-Start
  • Self-Correct


Some of these ideas may seem counterintuitive but to a true leader they are second nature.  How do you stack up?

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