Survey Says: 4 Traits We Look for in a Leader

Studies have shown that most people will take their car to a mechanic they know above all other reasons.

Trust matters.

The single most important topic we continuously try and tackle with our coaches, is understanding that for a general population crowd, your technical know-how is going to be less appealing than basic traits like whether or not your room likes and trusts you. Said another way, no one cares about how much you know about ankle dorsiflexion in a squat until they decide that they like you and will be receptive to what you have to say.

If you’re a dick in the name of tough, direct coaching then congrats, you’ve alienated your room and rendered your knowledge utterly worthless. All of your amazing technical knowledge and cues will be completely ignored unless you can first become a positive, trustworthy.

This is not simply my opinion, but it’s collective opinion rooted in workplace data.

In Kouzes and Posner’s international bestseller, The Leadership Challenge, they review a survey conducted of 100,000 workplace participants across multiple industries and positions, and in that survey four qualities of what participants wanted in their leaders rose to the top.

1. Honesty – Are your behaviors consistent with your words?

2 .Competency – Do you display proficiency in what you ask of others? Do you walk the walk?

3. Inspiring – Do you bring out the best in others, or are you negative? Do you routinely hunt for small wins or are you passive?

4. Forward Looking – Are you looking at most efficient road for the journey, or just the turn directly in front of you? Can you connect the dots to tomorrow of what you ask people to do today?

Grade yourself on these from 1 to 10 (or better yet, ask a client who who neither dislikes or loves you) and see how you net out. Where you can you improve? Where are you strong and where are you erratic? How do you continuously exhibit these four traits as a coach? Do you bring these to your craft daily in a pattern that builds and supports trust? Or are you inconsistent and creating a pattern that yields distrust?

Trust is the ultimate driver of connection and gateway to your technical knowledge.

-Dave Thomas


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