7 Leadership Characteristics That Solve 95% of Your Challenges

AdVance Leadership » 7 Leadership Characteristics That Solve 95% of Your Challenges

Welcome to this special series of Friday411! Over the next few weeks, we’re revisiting the most foundational concepts that enable you to unleash your leadership.

1 Insight

Leadership requires continual growth in 7 traits that solve 95% of your leadership challenges: Character, Competence, Capacity, Clarity, Community, Culture, and Consistency.

Good leaders hone the craft of leadership by continually developing their skills. But an abundance of books, blogs, and podcasts can leave you juggling more skill-development than any human can handle. Determining what is necessary to grow as a leader can feel overwhelming.

7 Characteristics that Solve 95% of Your Leadership Challenges

At AdVance Leadership, we’ve been developing and coaching leaders for over 20 years. We’ve found that 7 characteristics cover 95% of the challenges leaders face. By focusing on these 7 traits, you will build a framework for a lifetime of growth without becoming overwhelmed.

#1: Character

Character is the foundation of good leadership. Humility is the core of good character. Humble yourself by:

  • Treating others as more important than yourself — no matter what their position in the company is
  • Taking responsibility for your attitude and actions, and for your team’s results
  • Making the hard decisions
  • Engaging in the difficult conversations that inevitably come with leadership

#2: Competence

Newly promoted leaders make a common mistake. While adding their new leadership obligations, they continue doing the responsibilities they had before their promotion. This practice is a recipe for failure. As you mature in leadership, new skills become necessary. For example:

  • effective communication (written and spoken)
  • conducting meetings
  • change management
  • strategic thinking
  • planning

The key question is: What are the competencies that your team needs from you?

#3: Capacity

Capacity is all about your productivity. Productivity as a leader is different from those you manage. While they’re working in the business, you need resources to lead the business. Four resources are required to lead: time, energy, attention, and people.

  • Time – Drop unnecessary commitments and allow (un)busy time.
  • Attention – To achieve your highest priorities, you must pay attention to them. And, at times, your team requires your undivided attention. Distracted leaders create disengaged teams.
  • Energy – Leadership can be exhausting. Expanding your physical, mental, emotional, and relational energy creates a powerful resource.
  • People – You must have the right people to accomplish your goals. Learn to leverage their skills and abilities to maximize productivity.

#4: Clarity

According to one Gallup study, 78% of employees don’t think their leaders have a clear direction for the future. In other words, they lack clarity. You create clarity when each person knows:

  • Priorities – what your company is striving to accomplish
  • Plans – how you’re going to accomplish those priorities
  • Roles – how each person contributes to the plans
  • Purpose – why it’s important to accomplish the priorities

Narrow your team’s priorities to only a few. Then, keep the team relentlessly focused on those few priorities.

#5: Community

Every person on your team subconsciously asks a question about their coworkers: Do I trust the people I’m working with? Leaders cultivate trust with two groups:

First, they build trust with each individual on the team.

Second, they establish an environment of trust among all the team members.

Good leaders intentionally and proactively build trust throughout the team.

#6: Culture

Culture is the lived-out values of a company demonstrated through behaviors. If leaders do not intentionally shape the culture, they unintentionally cultivate a bad culture. Identify the core values that you want everyone to embrace in your company. Then, translate those values into behaviors that permeate the organization.

#7: Consistency

Inconsistent leaders create chaos and fear in their teams. Teams spend their energy guessing what the leader is going to do rather than focusing on what they’re trying to achieve together. Be consistent in:

  • the way you treat people
  • the vision and priorities
  • your emotions and energy
  • your expectations and standards

Leadership can be overwhelming. But once you discover these 7 characteristics of a leader that solve 95% of the challenges you face, you’ll pave a path forward for continual growth and development.

1 Action

Select 1 of these traits to develop in the next 90 days. Create a simple plan for developing that trait.


Want to help your company unleash its leaders?

  1. Get your team to subscribe to the Friday411 newsletter.
  2. Get your copy of Gettin' (un)Busy, named by Forbes as “one of the books everyone on your team should read.”
  3. Email Garland to train your company’s leaders. We will equip them with 7 traits that solve 95% of their leadership challenges.
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