10 Essential Traits of an Everyday Leader

By Aimee Cohen, Owner, Success Coaching for Women and
CWCC Member

Aimee Cohen Logo 2013

When we think of leaders, we often think of the big names…Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Margaret Thatcher, and others. They certainly have a long list of accomplishments, have positively impacted lives around the world, and have solidified their place in the history books…but what about the rest of us?

Can we still be effective leaders without the global recognition and impact? Absolutely!

I would argue that a true leader doesn’t need a title, a political platform, or an international reach. True leadership is about character and possessing innate qualities that other people naturally want to follow and emulate.

I have coached hundreds of women, at every professional level and in every industry, and I’m so tired of hearing them question and downplay their own leadership abilities just because they “don’t sit in the corner office or occupy a seat in the c-suite.”

Given that most hiring managers and supervisors put strong leadership skills at the top of their wish list, it’s time to rethink the way we think about leadership. It’s time to celebrate, not question, our ability to lead regardless of size, scope, seniority, or span.

Ask yourself these questions to help determine if you have the 10 Essential Traits of an Everyday Leader…

  1. Do you have a clear vision that inspires others?
  2. Do you shine a bright spotlight on others’ success?
  3. Are you brave enough to voice a minority or not-so-popular opinion?
  4. Are you willing to be wrong and own your mistakes?
  5. Do you do what needs to be done without being asked?
  6. Do you surround yourself with confident people rather than “yes-men (or women!)”?
  7. Do you operate in the best interest of the group even if it’s not in your best interest?
  8. Are you willing to bear the extra burden and take a risk?
  9. Do you listen more than you speak?
  10. Are you real and authentic?

We all have opportunities in our everyday lives to step up and take the lead. Whether you volunteer your time on a professional board or at your child’s school, organize a community outreach project at work, coach a youth team, or spearhead a new idea in your industry, you can easily stand out and showcase your leadership skills.

No one starts out as a world leader and not all of us are made to be world leaders. However, that doesn’t diminish the enormous impact we can make as everyday leaders. If you’re a natural leader in your life, then embrace the role and see what a wonderful difference you can make in the lives of those around you.

Aimee Cohen
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