7 Key Traits of a Leader

The hand of the diligent shall bear rule: but the slothful shall be under tribute.—Proverbs 12:24

I have read many books on the subject of leadership. Each book brings a perspective on leadership from someone who has expertly led others and organizations. Each book has one or more valuable take-aways that have helped me in understanding and executing my role as a leader. The book of Proverbs describes many traits of good leadership. One of these traits is diligence: the ability of alert focus.

1. A Leader Is One Who Is Industrious

“The hand of the diligent shall bear rule.” He works hard and is given to details. He is well-organized and constantly checks the progress of what he does. He is committed to completing a task and getting the task done as promised or scheduled. He is a model example of someone who can be trusted to get things done. He knows each day what the important things are that he should be doing. Warren Bennis said, “Managers do things right: leaders do the right things.”

2. A Leader Is One Who Has Integrity

Part of being diligent is being honest and truthful, and taking ownership in what you do, including your mistakes. A leader corrects his mistakes quickly. He apologizes if he is wrong. He fixes the problems that he or his subordinates created. He works at building and maintaining his credibility. He is above reproach in every area of life. He is honest with God, his wife, his children, his colleagues, and those who report to him. He is someone who is trusted all the time.

3. A Leader Is One Who Has Insight

Part of being diligent is having wisdom, foresight, and insight. “A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself…” (Proverbs 22:3). Insight is looking ahead in your planning. Insight is reassessing what you are doing. Insight is asking questions about your performance from those you serve and those whom serve with you. A good leader seeks to reverse his weaknesses and to be at his best in his strengths. A leader with insight associates with other leaders who have insight. He has a vision for where he is going and is constantly updating that vision to be sure he is on target.

4. A Leader Is One Who Has Initiative

Being disciplined also means having initiative. Good leaders are not people who sit around waiting to do things: they are the first to volunteer. They are self-driven: leaders set out to do things. They don’t have to be told what to do: they do it! Be a leader who executes well. Be the one who gets things done!

5. A Leader Is One Who Initiates

A key factor in being a diligent leader is being in the front and leading the way. A good leader starts things and takes others with him. He is always in the lead. He is on the leading edge. He leads by being the first out of the starting block. He inspires others through initiation. He is progressive in the sense that he seeks be in the lead in everything he does.

6. A Leader Is One Who Inspires

“The hand of the diligent shall bear rule.” He brings out the best in other people. He knows the way, shows the way, and goes the way. He is someone that people want to follow and imitate. He has passion about what he does and what needs to be done. He walks into a room, and others are ready to respond to his bidding.

A leader who is going to succeed must be diligent. He must be focused, have faith, and be someone that followers will submit to.

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