3 Essential Leadership Traits

Michael Cymbrowsky / Consultative Sales Enablement

There many ideas regarding leadership.

Some say leadership characteristics are innate while others contend traits can be learned over time.

Machiavelli believed it was better for a leader to be feared than loved if the leader could not be both.

Situational leadership theory says there is no single best style of leadership as leaders adapt to the task or the group they are trying to influence.

These are interesting thoughts that can be endlessly discussed.   But what are the essential traits, regardless if they are intrinsic or acquired, that distinguish genuine leaders?  What makes some individuals highly effective and enduring leaders while others ineffectual and short-lived in their roles?

By possessing the three personal traits listed below, an individual has a solid foundation to become a potentially strong leader.  One who can genuinely inspire, influence, and guide people.


True leaders have beliefs they translate into a precise vision which is communicated persuasively using logic and emotion.  Their beliefs are not superficial, baseless, or contrived.  They are meaningful, insightful, and sincere.  Most importantly, their beliefs are the motivational fuel enabling them to persist with passion and a laser focus.


To achieve a vision, leaders must have the courage to act.  Courageous leaders possess the strength of mind to confront uncertainty and the ability to persevere through all emotions and challenges.  Whether described as fortitude, tenacity, bravery or simply guts … leaders think and then do.


Truthfulness builds trust which in turn encourages people to follow a shared vision.  Trust is the critical link between staff and their leaders.  The stronger the connection, the greater the believability and respect a leader can garner from his/her troops.

Undoubtedly, leadership is an important skill in today’s fast-paced business world.   Great leaders inspire people to achieve the simple as well as the seemingly insurmountable goals.  Beliefs that can be translated into a vision, the courage to act, and honesty that instills trust are the essential traits that genuine leaders possess.   Identify and cultivate employees with these traits, and an organization will gain a significant competitive advantage.