John W. Gardner, former Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, who is now directing a leadership study project in Washington, D.C., has pinpointed five characteristics that set “leader” managers apart from run-of-the-mill managers:
1. They are long-term thinkers who see beyond the day’s crisis and the quarterly report.
2. Their interest in the company does not stop with the unit they are heading. They want to know how all of the company’s departments affect one another, and they are constantly reaching beyond their specific area of influence.
3. They put heavy emphasis on vision, values, and motivation.
4. They have strong people skills.
5. They don’t accept the status quo.
Finding Good Leaders
What kind of person is best able to involve others and himself in good decision making? J. Keith Louden lists seven qualities:
1. The ability to look ahead and see what’s coming—foresight.
2. Steadiness, with patience and persistence and courage.
3. A buoyant spirit that in spite of cares generates confidence.
4. Ingeniousness, the ability to solve problems soundly yet creatively.
5. The ability to help others.
6. Righteousness, the willingness to do the right thing and speak the truth.
7. Personal morality of a quality that commands the respect of others. — Charles W.L. Foreman, “Managing a Decision Into Being,” from the Management Course for Presidents, pp. 3-4.