Common Traits of Effective Leaders

Is leadership nature versus nurture? Author Louis V. Imundo posits in “The Effective Supervisor’s Handbook: Second Edition” that while people may not be born leaders, they may have inherited or developed qualities that cause others to be influenced by them. He writes that people who exhibit certain traits and characteristics are more likely to succeed as leaders over the long term. If you’ve ever performed alongside or hired veterans, they should sound familiar.

###Effective leaders:

• **Can envision the future and infect others with their vision.** They can see opportunities and recognize talent in people where others do not. They tend to have a good radar; knowing how to judge people, events, and situations. Karl Buchanan, GardaWorld’s Cash Services Director of Transformation, agrees. “Veterans have the ability to look around the corner, see a problem prior to it happening, and react to it,” he said.

• **Have strong drive and perseverance.** In the face of adversity, they persevere to reach their goal. Anyone who takes risks faces the possibility of failure, but when failures occur, leaders can analyze and learn from them – and renew their efforts. Not only do they compete against the standards of others, they also set personal goals and standards, and constantly seek new opportunities and challenges.

• **Display high levels of social and psychological maturity.** This can come from being exposed to and working alongside diverse groups of people. Leaders generally know how to conduct themselves when interacting with others. They can control their emotions without being unemotional, knowing when and to what degree to display them.

• **Have the self-confidence that allows them to take risks and accept responsibilities.** Decision making and responsibility go hand in hand, and effective leaders assume risk and accept responsibility. Therefore, self-confidence comes into play as an important factor in a leader’s willingness to make decisions. They must absorb information, assess courses of action, weigh the risks, make the decisions, and assume the responsibility. If you can picture a squad leader in a combat situation, you get the idea.

Buchanan went on to note, “Your attrition rate shrinks when you hire veterans. If you are seeking a more disciplined culture for your company, you must go to where the discipline cultures exist and make that your pipeline. For us, that was the U.S. Armed Forces.”