Over the course of my corporate career, as well as my career as a leadership keynote speaker.  I have had the opportunity to observe, work for and learn from some great business leaders.

From my experiences with the “best leaders” I have known, I have compiled what I believe is a list of some of the most important leadership characteristics that make for an effective leader.


Leaders know they are judged not by what they say but by what they do – simply stated, leaders value actions over words. They know that they must lead by example. They know (I hope they do) that people – their team, peers, bosses and even competitors and adversaries are always watching them.
Leaders define reality and responsibilities – one cannot move to a better place until they know or define the place they are in – in the most specific way possible. Why? Because important decisions needed to move forward will be based upon the current reality.
Leaders set performance expectations and hold people accountable to get the job done – Leaders know that their primary role is to make things happen. The most basic responsibility of every leader is to set expectations. Expectations, when met, make things happen! Yet, many do not make full use of this very valuable tool.
Leaders find ways to challenge their team to help them grow and “stretch” their capabilities – a leader knows that if he gets better, his organization will automatically follow and get better. He or she also knows that if an individual team member gets better, the entire team will benefit..
Leaders reward the right actions – the right actions are those that move the organization closer to the vision that the leader has created. Some will be significant but most of these actions will be performed daily as part of the usual routine.
Leaders never accept “below average” and act quickly when poor performance has been identified –Regardless of how good a leader is or how well intentioned they are, the decision to follow him and meet the expectations he has set is a personal one made by each employee. However, just like it is easy to find and reward the right actions, a poor performing employee will be painfully obvious.
Leaders know how important it is to listen to what their team members have to say – effective leaders know that one of the best ways to engage their team members is to listen to them – about their job concerns; job challenges and their suggestions about how things can be improved.



So, what should you do now? Simple…conduct your own self examination to evaluate how well you are leading your team. Remember what I said earlier, when the leader gets better, so does the team and ultimately the business follows.


Conducting this type of business self analysis can be challenging. Sometimes it’s hard to be objective when you are looking at yourself and your job performance. Not sure where to start? Call me. Let me help you create the plan that gets you the best results in the most reasonable timeframe. Like I said before, “leaders know that their primary role is to get things done” – starting with themselves!

Chris Ruisi is an experienced executive/business coach as well as accomplished leadership/business motivational speaker.  Through this work, he has created a community of entrepreneurs, executives, and business leaders who understand the importance of Being Fearless; Stepping Up, and Playing Big. To learn more about Chris visit www.TheCoachszone.com or email Chris at Chris@TheCoachsZone.com.
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