Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The 11 Major Attributes of Leadership

I’ve been reading another book. It’s called “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill. It was published in 1937, when Andrew Carnegie appointed Napoleon to study the characteristics of great achievers in America and to write a book that would summarize such characteristics.

I’d heard a lot about this book, so I decided to give it a try. I’m not finished yet, but I want to transcribe a passage of it here, since I believe it relates to the way I view design leadership.

So here goes:

The Major Attributes of Leadership

1. Unwavering courage.
Based upon knowledge of self, and of one’s occupation. No follower wishes to be dominated by a leader who lacks self-confidence and courage. No intelligent follower will be dominated by such a leader very long.

2. Self-control.
The man who cannot control himself, can never control others. Self-control sets a mighty example for one’s followers, which the more intelligent will emulate.

3. A keen sense of justice.
Without a sense of fairness and justice, no leader can command and retain the respect of his followers.

4. Definiteness of decision.
The man who wavers in his decisions, shows that he is not sure of himself. He cannot lead others successfully.

5. Definiteness of plans.
The successful leader must plan his work and work his plan. A leader who moves by guesswork, without practical, definite plans, is comparable to a ship without a rudder. Sooner or later he will land on the rocks.

6. The habit of doing more than paid for.
One of the penalties of leadership is the necessity of willingness, upon the part of the leader, to do more that he requires of his followers.

7. A pleasing personality.
No slovenly, careless person can become a successful leader. Leadership calls for respect. Followers will not respect a leader who does not grade high on all the factors of a pleasing personality.

8. Sympathy and understanding.
The successful leader must be in sympathy with his followers. Moreover, he must understand them and their problems.

9. Mastery of detail.
Successful leadership calls for mastery of details of the leader’s position.

10. Willingness to assume full responsibility.
The successful leader must be willing to assume responsibility for the mistakes and the shortcomings of his followers. If he tries to shift this responsibility, he will not remain the leader. If one of his followers makes a mistake, and shows himself incompetent, the leader must consider that it is he who failed.”

11. Cooperation.
The successful leader must understand and apply the principle of cooperative effort and be able to induce his followers to do the same. Leadership calls for power and power calls for cooperation."

All the best!

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