When anyone is asked to describe the traits of a leader, almost all will answer things like, driven, visionary, confident, self-starter, decisive, controlling, and other terms that relate directly to the essential functions of accomplishing something. Those include taking action, fixing problems, finding new solutions or new ways of doing something, selling ideas or products and assembling good teams. Focusing on the right goals and communicating what needs to be done, and delegating to the right people also are essential.
Invariably, if you ask a leader who fits these essentials what they did to become a leader, or how they know to do these things, they almost always just think it just happened upon them and that anyone and everyone could do the same things, IF THEY WANTED TO.
From early childhood, they are always astounded to meet people who don’t share any of those traits, desires or ambitions. Throughout their entire lives, they tell their employees, their children and siblings, “if you did thus and so you would be so much more successful.”
It sometimes takes an entire lifetime, if ever, for them to realize the majority of the population is not like them. This is not a case of better or worse, or good or bad, but that people really are different. They want, value, believe and need different things. When they can meet their own needs within the context of your company, they will thrive, contribute and obtain their own view of success. When they are in a position that those needs are frustrated, disconnected or in conflict, they will perform poorly, create obstacles and make goals more challenging than necessary.
In addition to the traits all leaders possess, they also need the gift of discernment regarding those they place in important, crucial roles around them. The gift of discernment comes from an understanding of the personal traits and motivations of those who drive the energy and the direction of the company’s most essential departments and functions. Each pivotal function requires similar leadership traits and a similar understanding of those who report to them.
Personality traits and motivations matter.