What's the Most Important of All Leadership Traits - David DeWolf

What’s the Most Important of All Leadership Traits?

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Last week, I was talking to an executive. We were brainstorming and trying to figure out why it was that, of all the leaders we were talking about, none of them seemed to have any sort of formal training or coaching. None of them had gone through a leadership development program. Yet they seemed to be some of the best and strongest leaders that we knew.

What was it that made them different?

We finally stumbled across it. We were convinced it wasn’t the question of nature vs. nurture. There had to be something about these people that made them different.

Sure enough, we started with the fact that leaders are readers. It’s almost cliche. It’s embarrassing how often people say that. But do we really understand why it is? Here’s what we discovered as we talked more.

Leaders want to soak up information. Leadership comes from digesting information. Learning more. Soaking up information so that you can connect the dots and notice the trends. Put this information into action.

All of the leaders we were talking about weren’t just readers, they were connected to other individuals. They were naturally curious. They asked tons of questions. They were in the market. They were connecting with other leaders. They were exposing themselves to lots and lots and lots of feedback of information. Of new ideas. Ideas from different industries. Ideas from different leaders. Ideas from people throughout the entire world.

Yes, they were reading but that was actually only one channel of information. What they were doing above all else was seeking out information.

Leaders thrive off of more information. Leaders are tasked with changing the status quo and putting new things in motion. They do this by taking information and applying it to their situation.

Leaders are hungry for more. That was the common denominator. It was these naturally curious, naturally exploring individuals who couldn’t help but put what they were learning into motion.