7 Traits of the Modern Leader

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leaderSo much about the world we live and work in has changed. I suppose every generation feels that to some extent, but now it’s my turn to acknowledge it. I’ve owned my business for over twenty years and the changes in how we market, interact, collaborate, congregate, follow and lead have changed unalterably.

And with it, a new breed of leader has emerged – in part because the world is desperate for it. Seth covered this new kind of leader well in Tribes. I have the pleasure of addressing the network of Duct Tape Marketing coaches for the opening session of our conference in Boulder this morning – and I plan to challenge this group to embrace the traits of today’s leader.

1) Trust themselves

An authentic trust in one’s self allows a leader to make decisions for the right reason and not out a hidden agenda or attempt to prop up self-worth. This trait also comes shining through when risk and uncertainly knock at the door,

2) Make meaning

The greatest leaders I encounter are doing what they are doing for love of a higher purpose. This doesn’t mean a spiritual or religious purpose, although it can, but they are trying to guide people on a journey worth taking. Chris Brogan is making the world a better place by blogging about engagement. His “make meaning” why he’s found a way to turn it into make money.

3) Embrace change

Well, I guess we’ve all seen what the Internet has done to companies and entire industries unwilling to embrace change – think newspapers? Today’s leader is downright giddy about the speed at which things are happening all around them and in every aspect of their life.

4) Keep learning

Today’s teacher understands the speed of change and further understands that in order to have any reason for people to follow, they must provide a sense of what’s next, what’s ahead – the only way to do that is inquire vigorously, every day.

5) Are the example

How is it possible to lead if you aren’t willing to walk the talk, if you aren’t an example to those who would follow. Or worse, to be driven by a higher purpose and not let it shine through your actions. Do as I say, not as I do just won’t cut it anymore. The most attractive form of leadership involves no words.

6) Act congruent

I suppose this one goes hand in hand with the last trait, but it shows up in the value proposition. Today’s leader knows what value they bring, what results they produce, and what all of that is worth. They have no issues charging what they are worth and looking a prospect or customer in the eye when they educate them. What are your feet doing when you speak.

7) Practice abundance

Today’s leader gets cooperation like never before – there is so much business out there waiting to be attracted in this Internet world that we now find ourselves without competition. Let’s all play together to make a better world!

I know most of you read this blog to get my take on marketing stuff, but every now and then I just have to address the whole entrepreneur in all of us.

Image credit: Garry Knight


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  1. Great post! I would add “give back” or “mentor” as another trait. Growing the next class of leaders is so important.

  2. Great post! I would add “give back” or “mentor” as another trait. Growing the next class of leaders is so important.

  3. I’m careful to walk the talk. I don’t advise my clients to use strategies I haven’t tried myself. If they are asking about a strategy I haven’t tried, I make it clear that I have not tried it, but I will share with them what I do know.

  4. I'm careful to walk the talk. I don't advise my clients to use strategies I haven't tried myself. If they are asking about a strategy I haven't tried, I make it clear that I have not tried it, but I will share with them what I do know.

  5. Great stuff! Informative, insightful and very timely for today’s leadership standards. This is one helpful resource for all aspiring leaders. Keep those posts coming!

  6. Great stuff! Informative, insightful and very timely for today's leadership standards. This is one helpful resource for all aspiring leaders. Keep those posts coming!

  7. Thank you so much, this is insightful, I loved the quotes. Got me thinking about who I think of as leaders, and what I do everyday to embrace these traits.

  8. Thanks for this.

    I work with leadership and find it dangerous to say leaders are XYZ as the list of great attributes changes contextually and is highly individual. Given that, nice list 🙂

    All the best from Brighton,
    Mark

  9. I’m so glad you have #7 Practice Abundance on your list! It is certainly so important that we all realize we don’t have to view each other as competitors – but rather to know and trust there is more than enough “business” out there for all of us.

    Thank you for adding that to your list of qualities.

    @mmangen

  10. Thank you so much, this is insightful, I loved the quotes. Got me thinking about who I think of as leaders, and what I do everyday to embrace these traits.

  11. Thanks for this.

    I work with leadership and find it dangerous to say leaders are XYZ as the list of great attributes changes contextually and is highly individual. Given that, nice list 🙂

    All the best from Brighton,
    Mark

  12. I'm so glad you have #7 Practice Abundance on your list! It is certainly so important that we all realize we don't have to view each other as competitors – but rather to know and trust there is more than enough “business” out there for all of us.

    Thank you for adding that to your list of qualities.

    @mmangen

  13. Yes to all of the above–I couldn’t agree more. You know what else I think makes a great leader? People who follow their instincts. When you make decisions soley on reasoning, you may find you’re missing out on something. In addition to those 7 reasons I think acting on the instinct deep down helps leaders acheive success.

  14. Yes to all of the above–I couldn't agree more. You know what else I think makes a great leader? People who follow their instincts. When you make decisions soley on reasoning, you may find you're missing out on something. In addition to those 7 reasons I think acting on the instinct deep down helps leaders acheive success.

  15. I believe confidence is another important trait because I believe that some of the best leaders out there, are the ones who never emerge because they lack self confidence to voice their thoughts and opinions to persuade others to see things their way.

    Anyone who hasn’t read Tribes by Seth Godin really needs to if they want to understand leadership in this new social media world. Plus I’m on the inside cover, so look for me.

  16. I believe confidence is another important trait because I believe that some of the best leaders out there, are the ones who never emerge because they lack self confidence to voice their thoughts and opinions to persuade others to see things their way.

    Anyone who hasn't read Tribes by Seth Godin really needs to if they want to understand leadership in this new social media world. Plus I'm on the inside cover, so look for me.

  17. Being the example is an important. Oftentimes, people will say what they want out of you, but rarely show you. Sometimes people get so high up that they forget what the air smells like down below. It’s difficult to stick your neck out when those making the orders wouldn’t be willing to do it themselves. Setting an example gains trust, it gains loyalty, and most importantly, it gains the following necessary to lift you onto a higher playing field. Great post.

  18. Being the example is an important. Oftentimes, people will say what they want out of you, but rarely show you. Sometimes people get so high up that they forget what the air smells like down below. It's difficult to stick your neck out when those making the orders wouldn't be willing to do it themselves. Setting an example gains trust, it gains loyalty, and most importantly, it gains the following necessary to lift you onto a higher playing field. Great post.

  19. The traits mentioned are exactly what people seek in a leader, a strong entity capable of leading the way, sincere, appreciate learning.

    Bayut.com

  20. Love the last point ‘Practice abundance.’
    Growing up in a command and control environment of leadership there was always the underlying feeling of control running through much of the conversation and behaviour. With the rise and rise of the internet and control disappearing really fast, practicing abundance is really flowing with the way things go these days. But I love it. Co operation triumphing over competition!!
    http://www.onesherpa.com

  21. Love the last point 'Practice abundance.'
    Growing up in a command and control environment of leadership there was always the underlying feeling of control running through much of the conversation and behaviour. With the rise and rise of the internet and control disappearing really fast, practicing abundance is really flowing with the way things go these days. But I love it. Co operation triumphing over competition!!
    http://www.onesherpa.com

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