The Qualities of a Good Leader

Great Leaders Balance their Lives

I’ve worked with aspiring leaders for some three decades. Over that time they have revealing to me the true qualities of a good leader. They’ve taught me many things, but I’ve found that these are two of the most important qualities of a good leader:

  • Great leaders constantly strive to strike a balance between work and the other realms of their lives.
  • Great leaders share a passion: They want to make a difference in the world.

Here’s something else I’ve learned along the way: Those two things go hand in hand. The most successful leaders are the ones who work the hardest at balancing all aspects of their lives. And when they do, they find that they really do make a difference.

The best leaders look at the cold, hard facts, make a plan and march forward. People want and need to know that leaders are, in fact, leading, not panicking or cowering in fear.

Nudged by the global financial crisis, we can look with fresh eyes at what really matters in our own world. Now more than ever, it seems clear that if we pay closer attention to our families, our communities and our personal well-being
as well as our jobs, we’ll not only be better leaders but better people.

20 Qualities of a Balanced Leader

  1. You balance your needs with those of others in your organization.
  2. You balance your needs with those of others in your family.
  3. You manage your energy.
  4. You manage your time.
  5. You adhere to your values.
  6. You keep an optimistic outlook while remaining realistic.
  7. You cultivate consistency while adapting to change.
  8. You practice self-reflection.
  9. You maintain your emotional equanimity.
  10. You recognize and manage your blind spots.
  11. You leverage your strengths while managing your weaknesses.
  12. You try to see yourself as others see you.
  13. You alternate periods of hard work with periods of sustained rest.
  14. You play as hard as you work.
  15. You take chances and make mistakes.
  16. You acknowledge your mistakes.
  17. You learn from your mistakes.
  18. You maintain a good sense of humor.
  19. You cultivate friends and relatives to keep you on the right path.
  20. You never do any of this alone.

In unbalanced times, it’s more important than ever to practice these principles. One of the key qualities of a good leader is the ability to lead in all kinds of circumstances. In the toughest of times, leaders need to stand on a rock-solid set of core values.

Remember—life almost always is unbalanced, out of kilter, listing or leaning in one direction or another. No matter what, you’ll need skills and strength to help you stay balanced.

Robert Pasick's book Balanced Leadership in Unbalanced TimesMore Info on Becoming a Great Leader

This article came directly from my book, Balanced Leadership in Unbalanced Times. The book is a toolbox of leadership strategies for men and women who want to improve their performance at work and in the community. This book teaches aspiring leaders how to strike a balance between their career, family, and other circles of life. Balanced Leadership in Unbalanced Times explains that leaders who balance these spheres of life are some the most effective leaders there are.

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