10 Trait Leadership Characteristics

According to the Trait leadership model, not everyone can make a good leader, and only certain individuals possess the leadership qualities or traits which make their personalities suitable for a leading role.

Successful leaders indeed differ from other people, and possess some common personality traits that make them capable of being effective in a leadership role. These core traits can predict leadership effectiveness, and organizations looking for a leader would do well to check for these characteristics in potential candidates.

Trait researchers have developed a list of attributes that they believe are related to leadership and make the leader successful in any situation. The traits include the following:

1. Eagerness to accept responsibility
A capable leader is always eager to accept responsibility, they do not run away from it. They’re not afraid of being held accountable, and go out of their way to fulfill the responsibilities that have been entrusted to them.

2. Physical strength and stamina
Leaders typically have to work under tremendous stress. They may also have to travel to different places across different time zones, or attend high-pressure meetings and conferences. A person who does not have enough physical strength and vitality will not be able to deal with the stressful lifestyle of a leader.

3. Confidence
Unless you believe in yourself, no one else will. Confident and self-assured leaders are able to clearly convey what they know, and are also not afraid to admit that they don’t know something. Good leaders typically have no need for approval, and are free of guilt.

4. Persuasion skills
One of the most important tasks of any leader is to persuade and influence others. A good leader has the ability to inspire confidence, encourage, motivate, or diplomatically persuade people to come around to their point of view.

5. Tough-minded
For an individual to be a good leader, they have to strike a balance between caring for their team and being logical enough to make practical decisions. People who have a leadership personality usually do not develop deep sentimental attachments, and have the toughness to take criticism.

6. Emotional stability
Leading a group or organization is a stressful affair. Good leaders must have the emotional stability to tolerate a great deal of frustration. They should be well adjusted and possess the psychological maturity to gracefully handle all situations that are thrown at them.

7. Dominance
One of the key leadership traits is dominance and assertiveness. Leaders are often times quite decisive and enjoy a certain amount of power or control over others. They are assertive in how they think and deal with others.

8. Charisma
Followers usually perceive successful leaders as larger than life. This is often true of leaders who have a strong, charismatic personality. Leaders with charisma have the ability to inspire strong emotions in their followers by showing them a vision that captivates them. This is how leaders are able to motivate and push their followers to achieve tough targets and goals.

9. Empathy
This is one of the main qualities that a modern leader should possess. Empathy is the ability to put yourself in another person’s shoes. In the absence of empathy, it is impossible to build trust. Without trust, a leader will not be able to get the most out of employees.

10. Intuitiveness
Logic and reasoning ability can only get you so far. In the rapidly changing world of today, it is impossible to always know everything so you can make fact-based rational decisions. Leaders also have to use their intuition or trust their gut while making decisions.

Y Scouts is a leadership search practice that connects purpose-driven organizations with purpose-driven leaders. We believe that the best employer and employee connections start by connecting through a shared purpose.

What’s Your Why? Click here if you’re an employer looking to find an authentic leader. Click here if you want to make a difference in a new leadership role.

The services Y Scouts performs are so inherently humane in nature, and that’s how they approached it from the beginning. Rather than viewing the roles we asked them to help us fill as holes in our organization chart, they realized we were really looking to add leaders with very specific talents and a passion to join our specific culture and ecosystem. Their approach to finding candidates that share our core virtues first is very similar to our proven and trusted process for finding committed faculty in our academies. Our leader they placed has already been delivering impact in ways we hadn’t expected. He’s been the absolute example of how adding the right person can be worth a multiple on the investment.

Ward HusethWard Huseth, Chief Financial Officer at Great Hearts Academies