5 Traits of True Leaders

5 Traits of True Leaders

What makes a good, effective leader? History proves that the best ones had certain special qualities, both in their personal and professional lives. Here are five for starters that you can emulate today:

1. They Aren't Afraid to Experiment

"Experiments are key to innovation because they rarely turn out as you expect and you learn so much," said Jeff Bozos in an interview with Fortune magazine. Amazon would not be the largest and most successful internet retail company in the world without him leading the way.

The legendary Elon Musk took experimenting to a whole new level when he bought a Mercedes in order to take it apart. Not just any Mercedes, but a brand new one, was dismantled piece by piece. His team's findings led to the accurate construction of a revolutionary car -- the Tesla.

2. They Persevere

Do you easily let fear of failure get in your way? Do you get discouraged and want to quit at the first sight of fear?

It was Abraham Lincoln who said, "Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other." Before becoming the 16th president of America, he had already lost eight elections. But that didn't dissuade him. He kept going till he reached the top.

3. They Respect Others

The remarkable Burmese leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, gave a speech to Oxford students. She noted, "The most important thing for me about Oxford was not what I learnt there in terms of set texts and set books we had to read, but in terms of a respect for the best in human civilization. It gave me a confidence in humankind."

When you learn to respect all human beings regardless of culture, race or financial status, you achieve better communication and understanding of your team.

4. They Get Up Early

Find a routine that works for you best. Many world leaders, such as Obama and Pope Francis, are known for their early morning routine. They progress even before the rest of the world has stirred.

Steve Jobs, who revolutionized music technology through the iPod and iTunes, had a routine, looking in the mirror every morning to ask himself if what he was about to do that day would make him truly happy.

5. They Inspire Creativity

A good leader is inspirational because they may have impossible dreams, but they strive to make them happen, and others who see it have the courage to follow theirs, too.

As John Quincy Adams, American statesman and President once said, "If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader."