by Paul Casey

Non-Negotiable Leadership Traits

“The team is only as strong as its leader.” Sometimes being a leader is an undoable job. Yet having the opportunity to influence people to achieve great goals for the organization and all of those it impacts, is worth it! As you are looking for people to mentor into leadership positions, to keep your bench strong, keep your radar up for these traits:

  • Honesty/integrity/trustworthiness/authenticity/ethical: Being the same on the outside as on the inside. Being honest with one’s self. Transparent with the team. Only saying what one believes. Does what says he/she will do. Does things right. Lives true to values without compromising.
  • Learner: open-minded to new ideas. Teachable/coachable by mentors/coaches, by the team itself, and by industry leaders. Hungry to know best practices and to grow one’s leadership skills.
  • Personable/likable: ability to get along respectfully with others. Ability to interact positively with others. Collaborative in problem-solving and vision-crafting. Connects at a personal level. Makes people feel comfortable. Asks for input before decision-making.
  • Can-do Attitude: optimistic. Cheerleader. “There is always a way.”
  • Inspirational: energy-creator. enthusiastic toward the mission/vision; rallies the troops
  • Credible: exudes confidence of having experience/skills to lead; the “it’ factor of followability
  • Listener: has the pulse of the organizational climate; seeks to understand with empathy and compassion
  • Clarity of vision: knows the big picture/where the organization is going and fully committed to it; casts the vision to the team in a way followers can imagine fulfilling it
  • Communicator: knows his/her team so that messages can be customized to the receiver; gives frequent feedback
  • Recognizes/affirms: gives the team credit, knowing their success is his/her success; catches people living out team values; says thank-you; incentivizes the priorities accomplished
  • People-developer: finds/creates opportunities for each teammate to continue growing; shares leadership; gives stretch assignments

As you read through this list, it might have served as a self-evaluation for your leadership: maybe some 8’s can become 10’s with a little more intentionality? If the person you are moving up needs an external coach to also assist in that journey, please contact me at



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