My consulting role exposes me to some great corporate leaders. When you run across an accomplished and talented corporate leader, their uniqueness from the mass of contemporaries is like red lights flashing. They are different, but have common characteristics to one another. Characteristics of individuals who fit in my ‘real and effective leader’ category include the following:

  • They have a sense of purpose or vision, and have the ability to articulate it in simple concepts. They can visualize the destination. They are consistently dedicated and focused to accomplish the vision, and can avoid the distraction of divided attention. They are often more into creation than maintenance or incremental improvements. They are open to innovation and new ideas as long as they support the accomplishment of the end vision.
  • They are energetically driven to accomplish something and show progress. They are impatient. Often their greatest fear is not having enough time. They have the ability to translate their frustration of slow action in others into productive inspiration without being demoralizing. They inject energy into organizations.
  • They have a value-based and intuitive decision-making style that uses analytics only as a supplement. They realize that getting ever more analytical when it comes to decision-making has diminishing returns against the benefit of getting on with it. They are not afraid of making mistakes because they are confident that they can correct their mistakes later. Their value-based foundation gives them protection against unpredictable decisions that causes disorientation and freezes subordinates in similar situations.
  • They have the amazing tenacity to overcome obstacles. They don’t quit. They see problems as expected potholes on the journey to successful results. They are not afraid of setbacks as long as a learning curve is embedded in their team to avoid repetition of the problem.
  • They are always curious, learning and exploring new ideas from any resource within or outside their business sector. These new ideas often are not used to reinvent the vision, but rather to more cleverly accomplish it. Every new changing condition or competitor’s fad doesn’t distract them.
  • They have the courage to confront sticky issues in a timely manner rather than postpone, delegate or avoid tough decisions. They have enough self-confidence to tell people what they don’t want to hear to their face. They are direct and diplomatically open. They know when to criticize and when to praise.
  • They realize that no matter the progress made during their tenure, the vision will not be accomplished in one lifetime. Therefore, they fulfill a sense of responsibility for sustainability by grooming and training the next generation. They start this grooming progress early so there is time to rotate and test future leadership for the variety of experiences required to build character.


© 2016 Robert Uhler and THE UHLER GROUP.  All rights reserved.