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15 qualities of an exceptional executive team

Creative Hearts, Strategic Minds, Technical Muscle...


When you are part of a great team, going to work in the morning feels joyous and exciting. There is a special feeling when your teammates are working towards the same goal as you – you’re able to share in the camaraderie of the journey, as well as the achievements.

Through synergy, a good team is able to create an end result far outweighing what each individual could produce themselves. However, in order to create a good team, it’s essential that you pick the right members.

Some skillsets and personalities types naturally gel well with one another, whereas other combinations will create a truly catastrophic atmosphere in any workplace. Unfortunately, no amount of technical proficiency can make up for a failed team dynamic!

While you’ll want to screen for specific traits based on your industry and company culture, if you can find a team member who has a handful (or preferably all) of the following traits, never let them go!

1. Self-motivated:

Motivated leaders desire to achieve above and beyond expectations.

This comes from their passion, pride and desire to become better and the motivation to do things better than everyone else.

To succeed as a leader, you need to be motivated, and no one else can do that for you except your self.

Nothing will work unless you do. – Maya Angelou

2. Standards:

Leaders hold them selves and the people around them to a higher standard than most, both on a personal and professional level.

Leaders understand that in order to achieve higher standards, they need to have strong values, hold themselves accountable for their words/actions and never make excuses.

Remember you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with.

3. Confidence:

Unfortunately, confidence can be one of those things you either have or don’t have, but I believe that it can be practiced and learned.

Confidence has to do with your inner perception of your ability to fulfill a particular role and is built through your experiences and dealings during your life.

To build your confidence you need to be open to new experiences and be willing to fail or you’ll never grow and find the strength needed to push the limits of what you’re capable of.

You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. – Eleanor Roosevelt

4. Optimism & Positivity:

Where others might think a project or task is too difficult, leaders face those challenges with energy and positivity.

Positivity is contagious, so be sure to focus on your attitude and understand you set the tone for your business and the people around you.

5. Accountable:

Being accountable means that you accept responsibility for the outcomes expected of you, both good and bad.

You don’t blame others. And you don’t blame things that were out of your control.

Until you take responsibility, you are a victim. And being a victim is the exact opposite of being a leader.

Great leaders take initiative to influence the outcome and take responsibility for the results.

6. Courage:

Aristotle called courage the first virtue, because it makes all of the other virtues possible.

Leadership sometimes involves making unpopular decisions which requires a certain level of bravery.

If you want to be more courageous you need to try new things, have more trust and confidence in others, as well as be able to raise difficult issues that others would leave unresolved.

Keep your fears to yourself, but share your courage with others. – Robert Louis Stevenson

7. Engaged:

Great leaders are able to focus their attention on the problem at hand without being distracted.

Even when your extremely busy, you need to make sure that you’re participating in the process with team members and not giving orders from the sideline.

Personal Story: There’s a local Mexican restaurant that I love, not only because the food is awesome, but I love how it’s run. The owner brings food/drinks to customers, answers the phone and everything in between. He even makes sure to say hello to every person that comes into his door, even with over 100 packed tables. Now that’s an engaged leader!

8. Character:

Leaders are well defined and have unique personas that make them one-of-kind.

They are full of personality and are not afraid to stand lone and be different.

They understand that the things who make them different are the things that define their character.

9. Humor:

Many leaders are perfectionists, which tends to make them critical of themselves and the people around them.

But let’s face it, what can go wrong, usually will go wrong. That’s life!

You should have a healthy sense of humor about life and not take your self too seriously (which can be difficult when you want others to take you seriously).

However, leaders who take them selves too seriously risk alienating people.

Effective leaders have the ability to laugh at them selves and understand that they are only human and can make mistakes like everyone else.

10. Passion:

Passionate leaders often have a strong, uncontrollable desire that pushes them forward.

The amount of passion you have directly affects your attitude, energy and that of your followers as well.

Use your excitement and to ignite the passion pf your followers!

You have to be burning with an idea, or a problem, or a wrong that you want to right. If you’re not passionate enough from the start, you’ll never stick it out. – Steve Jobs

11. Integrity:

Having strong moral values is an important leadership trait because it will allow others to clearly identify with you.

Having sincerity and honesty in all your dealings assures your followers of your intentions.

12. Respectable:

Enticing a deep sense of admiration and loyalty in your followers in key to successful leadership.

Being respected makes it easier to put your plans in action and have others quickly buy into your vision.

Leaders garner respect by letting their actions speak louder than their words.

13. Likable:

In some cases, leaders are respected for their negative qualities.

That’s why it’s important that you not only seek to be respected, but that you are likable as well.

It’s very obvious, people want to work with and be around people they like and distance themselves from people they don’t.

Personal Story: The first job I ever had was taking foreign exchange students to California attractions like Disneyland and the beach. Awesome right?! Well my manager was a huge jerk, which made an otherwise perfect summer job completely miserable. Even though I was only 16, it wasn’t difficult for me to see why his turnover rate was so high. I bet you can guess why I quit too.

14. Ethical:

When dealing with tough (sometime moral) decisions, great leaders should do so in accordance with their own values and ensure their actions are positive, not damaging.

Also, when you govern the moral principles of the people you are leading, you can establish an unspoken ethics code that helps better guide their decisions and behavior.

15. Loyal:

When we are talking about loyalty and leadership it’s usually about the followers, but loyalty is not a one way street.

You need to give and show firm, constant support to your followers if you ever hope that they will give the same to you.

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