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Chapter 8. Be a Leader, Be a Coach > What Makes a Leader? - Pg. 86

Be a Leader, Be a Coach 86 FYI Shakespeare said, "Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them." The same is true of leaders. There are born leaders, but many work hard to achieve it; still others, when put unexpectedly into a leadership position, take the ball and run with it. The Qualities of Leadership What traits do most leaders have? In his book Dynamic Leadership Training , Dr. Franklin C. Ashby, a long-time observer of business leaders, identified 10 characteristics that make great leaders: 1. Outstanding leaders have enthusiastic followers. Often people in positions of authority can compel subordinates to follow orders by dint of the power of their jobs. But such people are not true leaders. Yes, the orders will be followed, but that is all that will happen. True leaders develop confidence and trust in their associates. (Note that they think of team members as associates, not subordinates.) This engenders a desire not only to follow that leader, but to initiate, innovate, and implement ideas of their own that fit into the goals established. Many business leaders have built up enthusiastic and loyal followers who put in extra hours, sacrifice personal desires, and stretch their thinking powers to help achieve the goals set by a leader they respect and admire, and to whom they relate. When Steve Jobs was asked to return to Apple Computer after the company had suffered a series of major disasters, he agreed to do so with the understanding that he was not looking to take over the company but to just work to bring it back to profitability. He set an example by working day and night to turn the company around. With a leader like that, his associates at all levels pitched in and pushed the company forward to achieve its goal--the development and marketing of the highly suc- cessful iMac computer. Outstanding leaders take a constructively discontented view of the world. Good leaders aren't complacent. They're constantly on the alert for making innovations that will improve the way work is done, ensure continuing customer satisfaction, and increase the profitability of the organization. Their minds are open to new ideas, and they welcome suggestions. Even after changes and improvements are made, they still look for even better ways to accomplish their goals. Leaders like this are never fully satisfied. They review practices and procedures on a regular basis to fine-tune them. They do not fall in love with their own ideas, but are open to criticism and innovation. 2.