If you were to build a house, you would begin with a blueprint. This blueprint proves useful because it contains more than directions on how to build a house. It also describes finished house.
So, what does this have to do with leadership?
Last month I asked an audience of leaders to tell me characteristics of an ideal leader. Their answers were (in order collected):
A good listener, enthusiasm, passion, shows appreciation, a visionary, role model, trusting, integrity, organized, knowledgeable, credibility, persuasive, charisma, team building, clarity of purpose, problem solver, attitude of service, leads by example, patience, willing to act without complete knowledge, understands followers, consistent, empowers other people, and adapts to change.
I'll add that this is essentially same list that I receive from other audiences when I ask this question. From this comes some useful insights.
1) Notice what list contains. All of these characteristics relate to human side of leadership. That's interesting because I often hear people minimize this side of leadership with terms like "soft" or "touchy feely." Actually, applying these characteristics requires more strength than not.