Posted on Sep 10, 2016
COL Mikel J. Burroughs
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RP Members and Connection (ALL active service members, veterans, retiress, civilian supporters & recruiters, and military family members) I'd like to hear from you what you want to see in today's leaders and leadership?

What makes a good leader?

Here are some of their most important characteristics:

Self-Awareness. You have an intimate knowledge of your inner emotional state. You know your strengths and your weaknesses. You know when you’re working in flow and you know when you’re over worked. You know yourself, including your capabilities and your limitations, which allows you to push yourself to your maximum potential.

Self-Direction. You’re able to direct yourself effectively and powerfully. You know how to get things done, how to organize tasks and how to avoid procrastination. You know how to generate energy for projects, to calm yourself when angered. You can make decisions quickly when necessary, but can also slow to consider all the options on the table.

Vision. You’re working towards a goal that’s greater than yourself. It could be something small, like the success of the team, or a larger vision like world peace. Working towards a vision is far more inspiring than working towards personal gain.

Ability to Motivate. Leaders don’t lead by telling people what they have to do. Instead, leaders cause people to want to help them. A key part of this is cultivating your own desire to help others. When others sense that you want to help them, they in turn want to help you.

Social Awareness. Understanding social networks and key influencers in that social network is another key part of leadership. Who in the organization has the most clout, both officially and unofficially? Who moves the hearts of the group?

Emotional Intelligence and Leadership

Most of these traits tie directly into emotional intelligence (EQ). Leaders with high EQ are intrinsically more self-aware. They understand their mental processes and know how to direct themselves. They’re more in touch with what they’re deeply passionate about. They naturally care more for others and receive more compassion in return. They’re more socially in tune.

Leadership is more often than not about “soft skills” rather than hard skills. Yes, a leader who understands what drives the bottom line is valuable. Yet it’s the leader who can get others to perform at their best who ultimately creates winning organizations.
Edited >1 y ago
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Responses: 25
CPT Jack Durish
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All these are important, but one thing stands out for me above all else. The simple knowledge that you delegate authority not responsibility and not the other way around. This knowledge appears to be lacking in our top leadership in recent times.
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SFC Retired
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I always looked for integrity. I believe all other leadership traits can be learned but either they had integrity or they didn't. I also believed if they didn't have integrity they couldn't have the other traits. They could only pretend they did.
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SFC James J. Palmer IV aka "JP4"
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Edited 5 y ago
Superb question COL Mikel J. Burroughs. I can already tell through your Sponsor-A-Vet life program that you truly value taking care of people. So, on to my answer from 1-3.

1. Care about and actual give a hoot about your people.

2. Care about and actual give a hoot about your people.

Lastly Number 3.

Care about and actual give a hoot about your people.

You would be surprised at the places who actually don't care about their own people. If the health of an organization is very low, the mission may not succeed or the product will be very poor.

I am really big on taking care of people and welfare of a command climate. Leaders want to be treated like normal people, do a cool mission, and go home in the evenings to take care of their families. My job as a leader is to empower them to do just that.

JP
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