The Other Side Of The Leadership Coin

coin flip

If one was to take a survey of the traits deemed to be desirable in leaders,  some of the more popular ones would be:

  • Strength – a strong personality that comes through
  • Confidence – knowing they are the leader and their ultimate responsibility
  • Articulate – vocal, able to command presence in their speaking
  • Committed – gives everything to drive results and expects others to do the same
  • Passionate – shows their passion and justifies their behaviors as being passionate
  • Results Oriented – able to get bottom line deliverables no matter what
  • Influential – someone who has a powerful network and is noted for their qualities above

These qualities are not necessarily bad in themselves. But many people see this view of leadership and never consider the other side of the leadership coin that these traits have. Let’s consider the flip-side of these qualities and how they construct an effective leader:

  • Strength – a commitment to a solid value core that values others
  • Confidence – knowing they can engage and motivate the talent on their team to accomplish anything
  • Articulate – speaks effectively in an edifying and inspiring manner
  • Committed – gives everything without compromising values, ethics, and principles
  • Passionate – exudes enthusiasm and is upbeat even during challenging circumstances
  • Results Oriented – knows internal results, such as preserving the core and internal development, breed sustainable external results
  • Influential – someone who makes others better and challenges them to enhance their own leadership example

We often don’t consider the caliber of a leader if they don’t show outward strength and personalities in the first group of traits. And yet many of the best leaders who exhibit the traits in the second group turn out to have a larger legacy and impact due to their “softer” side of these qualities.

Leaders don’t need to be forceful, loud, aggressive, or brash to become effective. Many leaders who have the more grounded “softer” qualities tend to have longer lasting success. Consider these examples of people who had traits from the other side of the leadership coin:

  • Eleanor Roosevelt – an shy woman who became a gracious stateswoman, an effective speaker, and sensitive to underprivileged
  • Laura Bush – exuded a quiet confidence both during crises and in serving others
  • Warren Buffet – committed to quiet thinking and planned responses versus quick-trigger decisions of his contemporaries
  • Abraham Lincoln – relied on his confidence of serving others through solid values and being studious
  • Calvin Coolidge – a quiet man of few words who drew others to his leadership in a boisterous time
  • Heidi Brown – the first female army commander was confident in her abilities and quietly established trust through her committed training and passion for serving her country

If we don’t flip over the leadership coin, we run the danger of missing great leaders who can leave a mark on our world. By looking at the many facets of the various leadership traits, we can find those leaders and tap into those qualities that will transform the lives of those around them for years to come.

(image: bbc)

About Paul LaRue

My goal - To encourage you to lead & influence others with positive impact.

Posted on June.5.2016, in Leadership. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Great article Paul. The qualities bring about leadership behaviors that make the difference. I would add inspirational/engaging to remind leaders that they must draw employee’s thoughts into the mix and build their commitment from engagement.

    A special thanks for using leader examples that include women. We are still being excluded in so many articles on leadership with quotes for example primarily from well known men.

    Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™


    • Thanks Kate! There are so many facets of leadership that we tend to get in our boxes and see things one way. By looking at these traits in another light, it helps us to view the full picture, and variety, of leadership around us.

      That goes for women as well. Eleanor Roosevelt and I may not see eye-to-eye on our political views, but I admire her inner strength. She endured much criticism throughout her life and yet had a quiet loyalty and sense of service that her example needs to be pointed out. We can learn from all leaders, not just a certain type of leader.

      Appreciate you Kate! Thanks so much!


  1. Pingback: Serving Others No Matter How You Lead | The UPwards Leader

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: