The Characteristics of Admired Leaders

We began our investigation into what people expected from their leaders more than three decades ago, in a study sponsored by the American Management Association. We asked the open-ended question, “What values (personal traits or characteristics) do you look for in your superiors?”3 (As you can see, we were stuck in the old hierarchical metaphors back then.)

More than 1,500 managers nationwide provided 225 values, characteristics, and traits that they believed to be crucial in the people leading them. A panel of researchers and managers subsequently analyzed the 225 factors and reduced them to 15 categories. Of those, the most frequent categories, in order of mention, were

1. Integrity (is truthful, is trustworthy, ...

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