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Article -> Traits to Inspire and Lead Change

Date Added: November 2018

Great leadership traits seem to be a hot topic lately. While myriad books have been written, this column addresses individuals seeking these traits, interviewing for these positions, or who we want to report to.

Character is a vital trait, involving integrity, faith, and honesty. Influence is also important. It is the proven ability to effectively communicate to others achieving buy-in, win-win decisions, and in the event of disagreement; a resolute conviction for others to follow.

While related to character, traits of humility and vulnerability are separate because they demonstrate humanity and connection to others. Accountability is a trait connected with influence. A leader able to hold others accountable, more so individuals with informal reporting relationships, will help achieve the next two traits.

Growth and change. These may be separate; although I am putting them together. As an organization grows, it changes and adapts. The ability to influence and hold others accountable, stemming from character, humility and vulnerability is how success is achieved for organizational growth and change.

While there are other traits, these are high on the current list. Putting all of these together is not easy and there are always those who are not pleased. A common struggle and balance for leaders is adapting to those who are unhappy, while staying the course with vision and strategy, and being true to who you are as a leader.

There is a story about an individual who exhibited these all traits and many more. People came from everywhere to see and listen to this leader. They asked questions and the leader responded with questions and stories in return, always direct and truthful.

The style of the leader did not sit well with everyone, including other leaders. Some disagreed or simply did not want to change. These people also influenced others causing more issues for the leader, and resistance to improve and change. Many stopped listening and following the leader.

The leader continued with the message. The leader understood all change requires having a close group of committed individuals at all levels of an organization from other leaders to those sweeping the floor. A group of heart and soul inspired leaders who also influence, have character, demonstrate humility and vulnerability, hold others accountable regardless of level or role, and assist the growth and change needed.

The leader recognized change could not be done alone, and a small community of others were needed, even though many disagreed and spoke harshly about the leader. It takes courage by individuals to proceed through a storm of cynics and pessimists.

The leader continued to communicate, tell stories, encourage others, lead. The goal of the leader was to provide guidance and wisdom to the community of heart and soul inspired leaders, so they would continue to spread the vision, inspire change, and positively impact others.

In this story and others, despite trials and tribulations, the outcome is successful; although it comes at much personal sacrifice. A friend reminded me that at the end, when Jesus was on the cross, the only followers there were his mother, Mary Magdalene and John.

None of us are Jesus; however, are we prepared to sacrifice everything for whatever it is we so strongly believe in, and to lead and inspire others to the best of our abilities? A saying goes, in their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps. Be the individual you are capable of being and trust His plan for you to lead or follow accordingly.

David Yeghiaian is committed to inspiring others through faith and leadership. Reach him at
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