Five traits create effective leadership

Col. Carlos R. Cruz-Gonzalez
435th Civil Engineer Group commander

***image1***We admire and respect leaders who make things happen. What many of us fail to recognize is how they do it.

I believe there are five traits common to those leaders who don’t confuse efforts with results.

1. First and foremost, leaders who make things happen live according to a strong set of core values.
Core values are enduring standards of behavior that help us respond to challenges and situations found in the course of daily activities.
They shape our character and become the foundation on which we build reputations.
Core values such as integrity, service before self, and excellence inspire us to go the extra mile, to do what it takes to get the job done, and to ensure the job gets done right. Core values bring clarity of purpose — a sure fire way of not confusing efforts with results!

2. To make things happen leaders must also have courage.
It is not just the courage to overcome physical obstacles, but the courage to try new ideas, to admit mistakes, and to try again until they achieve success.
It is the will to do what’s right and necessary, not what is popular or easiest at the time.
Courage drives action and relentless pursuit of a desired outcome — it pushes the leader to achieve results.

3. Leaders make things happen because they have confidence in their abilities.
Confidence is an unshakable belief in yourself; a belief that you can focus on a goal and attain it regardless of the odds.
Confidence allows you to take on a challenge, to seek help and advice, to learn from mistakes, and to ignore the few who are always ready to point out why you can’t get there from here.
A confident leader knows where to go and has no doubt he can get there — guaranteed results.

4. Core values, courage and confidence will move a leader to action but concentration on results will ensure success.
Concentration requires perseverance and focus. Perseverance denotes continued, patient effort toward a defined goal. Focus denotes the ability to move toward a goal despite many persistent distractions.
Perseverance and focus do not require talent, only determination and the willingness to stick to it.
Success comes to those who concentrate on results, not on how much effort they put into the task.

5. Finally, leaders who make things happen always display unwavering commitment to the organization, the people, and the outcome.
Committed leaders are passionate about what they do and often invest all their energy into the challenge at hand.
They are enthusiastic and optimistic so even when things are not going well, they can instill in others the belief that together they can make the situation better.
A truly committed leader understands that efforts don’t count for much if they don’t generate acceptable results.