A Publication of WTVP

Whether in the workplace, the classroom or the community, those of us in leadership positions have a special responsibility to perform at our best—and light the way for others. And while the ideal traits of great leaders may vary, it seems there are some key characteristics that many professionals agree upon—including this year’s class of 40 Leaders. Take a look at some common themes from the 2016 class when asked the question: What makes a great leader?

“Great leaders are aware of their strengths and weaknesses. They are aware when their organization needs a burst of energy, or to slow down and catch its breath; they recognize times to be serious and opportunities to cut the tension with humor. Great leaders are aware of other great leaders and aspiring leaders around them and work to support each other.”—Dan Adler

“[Great leaders have] great emotional intelligence and a willingness to let people lead with their strengths.”—Ike Malson

Listening to Others
“Great leaders surround themselves with individuals of high integrity, wisdom and knowledge, and are humble enough to listen to their counsel and make decisions accordingly.” —Jeremy R. Knepp

“You have to be willing to listen and put your own needs aside for the group to grow. A true leader cannot be selfish.” —Kevin A. Yates

“[Great leaders] bring out the best in others [and] inspire them to face challenges and push forward at all costs… I try to keep everyone positive and make each day as great as it can be.” —Dr. Jamie McCarthy Smith

“Respecting others and being empathetic to a person’s situation [makes a great leader]. You never know why someone is having a bad day, so better to take the time and find out if you can help… Little things like that give a person the tools to be a great leader.” —Carolyn Weaver

Setting an Example
“I think a great leader is someone who leads by example—someone whose actions and words build the team around them, and someone who is striving for continual self-improvement.” —Dr. Melissa Roehm Stigall

“To be a great leader, you have to be willing to do everything you ask of those you lead—and show them you are willing to do it.” —Stephen McKinney-Whitaker

Valuing the Team
“An authentic leader is a person who truly values and serves the people following her or him (and values people in general).” —Jim Hollenback

“A great leader is passionate, builds a strong team and listens and uses their team to make the best decisions for the organization.” —Chris Coplan