While it may seem an easy question, leadership requires a few key attributes that change the obvious answer. My experiences and observations have taught me that there are three essential traits a leader must exhibit to be effective.
The first relates to energy and drive. A leader must be PASSIONATE. This characteristic is important not only for the individual, but also in how they influence others. Leaders who lack passion for their role are less likely to reach their full potential. This passion also contributes to effectiveness. Without showing passion, it is very difficult to yield influence.
Secondly, a leader must be PRINCIPLED. Clarity and consistency in actions and behaviours are crucial to gaining the confidence of others. This instils a sense of dependability and assuredness. It provides guidance for leaders in decision making, while building reputation and personal brand.
The last attribute is functional – a great leader must be PERSONABLE. In modern society dictatorial, demanding and commanding roles are unpalatable and usually ineffective. Collaborative, team oriented, and persuasive influencers draw the best out of others, while gaining respect. They exhibit empathy and engage sincerely. They build relationships either directly, or indirectly through their words and actions. They connect with people.
These are the three P’s in leadership – PASSIONATE, PRINCIPLED, and PERSONABLE. Does this mean everyone with these characteristics is a start-up leader? I’d suggest not. I know many people with these attributes that neither are, should be, or would want to be a leader. However, if you are in a leadership role or you aspire to be one, then it’s important to recognise some key traits that you not only must have within yourself, but portray at all times to ensure you remain as effective as possible. Display these three P’s and you’ll give yourself every chance of being a successful leader.