There are a number of attributes that leaders need today to stay at the top of their game. So what should leaders focus on in the limited amount of time that they have for self-development?

I’ve narrowed down the list to the 5 attributes I believe leaders need in order to be the most effective leaders they can be:

  1. Self-awareness – you’re not as good as you think you are, you’re not as bad as you think you are, but you absolutely need to know WHO you are in order to lead. Great leaders actively seek continuous feedback so that they know how they are being perceived and can use that information to their benefit.
  2. Willingness to confront with flexibility – confrontation doesn’t have to mean a fight. It means communicating well when there are differing perspectives and being able to remain flexible to find the best solution. Confrontation is caring enough to have difficult discussions.
  3. Curiosity – being curious means you don’t charge in having all the answers. You show up to get it right, rather than having to BE right all the time. Curiosity and fear cannot co-exist. So whenever great leaders feel that fear creeping up, rather than getting angry or dictator-like, they get curious with themselves and their teams to improve outcomes and find creative solutions.
  4. An ability to inspire – that doesn’t mean you have to be the next MLK and lead awe-inspiring movements that change the course of history. It means understanding and being in touch with your team’s “why.” You might very well know why YOU show up to work each day and what YOU’RE striving to accomplish for the company, but what about every individual on the team? Knowing their “why” will enable you to inspire them every day.
  5. Happiness – yeah, it seems silly but happiness is KEY to being an effective leader. No one influences the tone of the culture more than its leader, and the effects of happiness (or fear) spread as contagiously as any virus. It turns out that investing in your own happiness is a game-changer.

What do you think are the most important attributes of effective leaders? I’d love to hear your thoughts!