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12 definitive traits of a leader: Part 5-Strength

Updated: Aug 13, 2022

By Jeff Custer | Monday, May 23, 2022

The demands faced by leaders can be formidable. Day in and day out, organizations expect results. Whether that’s shareholder financial returns, delivering an excellent customer experience, ensuring employees are engaged and productive, or the myriad other demands leaders face—organizations rely on leaders to produce often in the face of seemingly impossible odds.

The reality of delivering these results can be daunting. Leaders need to have the physical and mental strength to push through all of these hurdles.

Effective leaders need physical strength to bring high energy to their endeavors. An unhealthy, physically weak leader will struggle to bring the required energy to the task. Diet, exercise, and proper rest are important components of a leader’s strength. Physically weak people will struggle to stand up to the rigors of the job. I recall a leader I used to work with who would fall asleep at his own staff meetings. He certainly failed to bring physical strength to the task at hand.

They also need to have a resilient mental strength, which must be developed and maintained.

Resilient leaders work to become more self-aware. They step back from themselves and observe their own behavior. They analyze how they act and react in various situations allowing them to adjust to be better. They bounce back from mistakes and failures, learning and adapting to improve the next time. They have an attitude of getting up and dusting themselves off after being knocked down. They maintain a healthy perspective of things going on around them. They understand what they control, what they influence and what they cannot control. They don’t waste energy and time on things they can’t influence or control. They also keep a calm head when responding to things that happen. Strong leaders have the ability to remain cool and collected in the midst of chaos.

Weak leaders on the other hand reacted to the challenges they face much like a ball in a pinball machine. Bounced from bumper to bumper always reacting to what’s happening around or to them. Eventually they find themselves slipping between the flippers and ending the game. They either get burned out or removed from their leadership role. And those who do manage to keep their ball in the air are at high risk of exhibiting toxic behaviors as a way to cope for their weaknesses.

Leadership is demanding. In addition to setting and driving strategy, leaders guide their team as they actually execute said strategy. Along the way they inspire the team and help each individual team member become better. Effective leaders initiate change and support the team in embracing it. And finally, they do all of this while meeting the expectations of their various stakeholders.

To be effective and successful, leadership demands strength.

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Jeff Custer is a long-time leader at both private and Fortune 500 companies where he has developed and led both high performance individuals and teams. He is passionate about developing leaders and building high impact teams. Jeff resides in the United States.

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