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The Four Big Leadership Traits—And Why They Matter

Jan 7, 2022 | Business

Leadership. I never understood how important it was. Until one day I realized our organization needed it.

That’s when I started my homework. I started with a simple question: “What makes a great leader?”

Of everything I discovered, Erica Ariel Fox has the best framework. She describes The Big Four leadership traits. Great leaders have one of these traits. The best leaders have multiple. Here are the traits:

1/ Dreamer

This is your Visionary leader who can’t help but live in the future. They value creativity and a bold long term perspective.  They spew innovation. Usually—though not exclusively—the CEO is a Dreamer.

2/ Thinker

This is your leader who can do the hard thinking around strategy to make dreams come true.

They invest in reason and analysis to test assumptions. A CFO creating budgets for the organization must be a strong Thinker.

3/ Lover

A Lover is engaged with the emotions and relationships within an organization. They provide the glue that keeps everyone connected.

Feelings matter to a Lover, and they operate from a place of humanity. A Chief Human Resources Officer or Chief People should likely be a Lover.

4/ Warrior

Warriors are determined to achieve results in an organization. They provide the conviction, energy, and drive towards these results. Without a Warrior in the organization, it’s all talk and no action. Typically a COO is a Warrior.

A healthy organization has a balance of all of these leadership traits. Missing even one is a material gap in an organization that hurts it from reaching its full potential.

While I’ve provided specific role examples for each, I’ve found that certain leaders can embody multiple of these traits. These are Super Leaders. A Super Leader can forever change the trajectory of an organization.

I recommend asking yourself the question: which one of these represents my leadership style? And how can I compliment it with others in the organization who might have different strengths and styles?

A final thought: A leader doesn’t mean a manager!

At Bolt, we consider ALL people at the company, no matter your roles or rank, leaders. Everyone is an owner and a leader.

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