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Leadership Qualities

Part of the Leadership For Dummies Cheat Sheet

All great leaders have certain characteristics in common. Being a great leader has nothing to do with how you look or how you speak; leadership involves preparation and accepting responsibility, even when you don't want to. These skills are necessary to be a leader and motivate people to follow:

Embracing Responsibility

Embracing responsibility is an attitude:

  • Drop the word “no” from your vocabulary.

  • Learn to volunteer.

  • Take an interest in people around you and learn to like people.

  • Promise little — deliver a lot.

Eliciting Cooperation

Your goal is to have your followers trust you:

  • Find out what people want — and why they want it.

  • Figure out ways of trading what you have — the power of a leader — for what you need — the cooperation of your group.

  • Smile at people and look them in the eye. It’s the start of trust, and trust is the beginning of cooperation.

  • Share information with your team and keep them informed.


Leading starts with developing a vision:

  • Visions are more than ideas. They are doable dreams.

  • Visions link the present to the future.

  • Use visions to inspire your followers to achieve more than they thought possible.

  • Make your visions positive. Everyone wants to make the world a better place.


Planning is necessary if your team is to attain its goals. Keep these things in mind:

  • Plan for every contingency — and remember that you can’t plan for every contingency.

  • Leave a lot of wiggle room in your plans. When things go wrong, you can adjust.

  • Make certain you have adequate resources. If you get into the lifeboat without food and water, be sure there’s someone on board who has the skill to get both.

  • Plan for change. Be happy when it arrives.


Strive to take in as much information as you can:

  • Pay attention to the nuances of what people say and how they say it.

  • Pay attention to the needs of your group.

  • Focus and concentrate — listen to only one person at a time.

  • Learn to develop your own inner voice — and then learn to listen to it.

  • Pay attention to the world around you. Seeing is a form of listening, and visual impressions are often the most powerful.

  • Learn to hear the voices of the downtrodden. Their needs can become your cause.

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Leadership For Dummies Cheat Sheet


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