“Men make history and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better.”
–Harry Truman

Dear Leaders,

We’ve all read and heard about great leaders of the world. We may have even studied some in great detail.  Some of the famous include: Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Abraham Lincoln, Adolf Hitler, Winston Churchill, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr, John F. Kennedy, and Nelson Mandela.

What was their legacy? Why were they so popular, or in some cases notorious?

The great leaders listed above created dramatic change and altered the face of society; most are held in high regard and are known for how they inspired others.

Let’s bring it down a notch. Which leaders in current times would you consider popular, notorious, or inspirational? What about within your own organization?

Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner conducted research and identified these to be the top 5 leadership traits/qualities that successful leaders possess:


This is a great place to start with a self assessment.  Rate yourself between 1 and 5 for each element. Which trait did you rate highest? Which is your lowest?

Here are some other top rated leadership traits:

Great communication skills
Empathy and compassion
Commitment and confidence
Strategic thinking
Focus and attention to details

Rate these as well.  What measures can you take to increase your scores? As a leader what can you change for the better?