What Are The Most Desirable Traits For Leaders?


Did you know that there are twenty leadership qualities common to most organizations?  Neither did I, that’s probably why I found this article very interesting.  As we think of coaches we admire or players we’ve coached that have inspired us…it’s sometimes hard to put their leadership traits into words.  This list is designed to give us words for what we know intuitively about great leaders.

20 leadership traits common to virtually all groups

____ Ambitious:  Having a strong desire and determination to succeed.
____ Broad-minded: Open-minded to and tolerant of differing opinions and suggestions.
____ Caring: Compassionate and concerned with maintaining quality relationships.
____ Competent: Having the required knowledge or skill to perform a task successfully.
____ Cooperative: A team player who is interested in working toward the team’s common goal.
____ Courageous: Bold, daring, fearless, gutsy, brave.
____ Dependable: Reliable and trustworthy, someone the team can count on.
____ Determined: Not afraid to make a tough decision and willing to stand by it.
____ Fair-minded: Someone who is impartial and just.
____ Forward-looking: Someone who is up on the latest trends, ahead of the game, a visionary.
____ Honest: A trustworthy and sincere person.
____ Imaginative: A curious and creative person.
____ Independent:  A self-reliant person who doesn’t depend on others to make decisions.
____ Inspiring: This person can uplift the group with their positive energy.
____ Intelligent: A reflective and thoughtful person who uses sound judgment.
____ Loyal: Someone who is unswerving in their allegiance to the team and the program.
____ Mature: A wise person with a depth of experience.
____ Self-controlled: Self-disciplined and restrained, able to control one’s actions and emotions.
____ Straightforward: Honest and direct, you’ll know where you’re standing with this person.
____ Supportive: A natural comforter, this person willingly provides encouragement.

Different ways to use this list:

  • Self-assessment of leadership skills,
  • Pre & post leadership training for team leaders/captains,
  • Ask team to put qualities in order of importance regarding captains,
  • Ask team to put qualities in order of importance regarding coaching staff,
  • Ask each team member to pick their favorite from the list and explain their reasoning to the group,
  • Pick seven words that describe yourself,
  • Pick seven words that describe your ideal leader.

Challenge yourself

  • Pick the five qualities you believe are your personal best from the list.
  • Pick the five qualities you would like your team leaders to master.

I’ll step out on a limb for this one.  My five:  I am ambitious, competent, determined, honest, and self-controlled.  (This is tougher than it looks!  All of these traits are great, so it’s hard to choose.  As I go through the list, I feel as if I’m making judgments on the validity of the other traits, which certainly isn’t true.)  My top five for team leaders:  ambitious, broad-minded, cooperative, courageous, and inspiring.  Give it a try and see what you think.

This could be a great tool for coaches to use with their staffs…to see how they complement one another as well as with your team captains/leaders.  It seems that finding all of these traits in one person would be difficult to impossible…but it could definitely happen with a group of people.