Today, as we have since 1983, Americans celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with a national holiday. Students and employees around the country are encouraged to offer service to their community on this, the third Monday of January.
Sharing a birthday with the civil rights icon (January 15th) piqued my curiosity about Dr. King at a very young age, and I have great respect for the man who was assassinated 2 years before I was born.
Without a doubt, Dr. King was an effective leader. Let’s take a look at some of the personality characteristics of effective leaders, like Dr. King.
Personality Characteristics of Effective Leaders
Whether you think that effective leaders are born or made – or a bit of both – there are still some characteristics that distinguish leaders from others. Have you wondered if you or someone you know is a natural leader? Are you interested in learning some characteristics of good leadership? Here are some personality characteristics that tend to go with effective leaders.
Are you the kind of person who likes to get things done? Do people come to you and ask you to do something for them and know you’ll do it? Not everyone is task-oriented, but those who are may end up being effective leaders. Being task-oriented means being a “doer,” the kind of person who focuses on getting something done and not stopping until the task is finished.
Task-oriented people generally follow through. This is important in a leader, because leaders have definite goals to reach and people to lead, and people will stop following you if you don’t get things finished.
Also, task-oriented leaders do not need “babysitting” to get something done. They can take initiative on their own – the task itself is motivation.
Leaders tend to be pretty honest about their weaknesses and strengths, but not to the point of letting either one take over. For instance, a leader can balance between recognizing his weakness and not letting that stop him/her, and a leader can see his/her strengths without getting conceited. Those in leadership positions may find that they garner more respect when they are honest and “transparent” about their flaws than if they pretend to be perfect.
A leader tends to be a people person – someone who derives lots of energy from being around people. Such extroverted personalities make great leaders, but introverts are not barred from leadership, either. You can have a love for people and be introverted; you just respond differently to interacting with others.
In other words, you can be a “people person” even if you find yourself tired of leading at the end of a day. Extroverts and introverts can both be motivated by a love for people and their wellbeing.
Have you ever been around someone who just seems happy with life in general? If a person shares an idea or thought and seems really happy about it, do you feel like joining him or her? Leaders tend to exhibit this kind of infectious joy that draws other people to them. Positive-thinking leaders have a zest for life that compels other people to join them.
The general consensus is, characteristics of a good leader can be in-born or learned, or a bit of both. If you don’t have all of these traits naturally, you can learn many of them. No two leaders are the same.
What personality characteristic do you feel make for a good leader? Do share in the comments.