Undeniable Traits of an Extraordinary Leader

What are the traits of an extraordinary leader?

We’ve all met good leaders and bad ones, but few have had the privilege of working alongside someone who truly exhibits exceptional leadership. The key is not just to embody the 
qualities of an extraordinary leader but to do so consistently, day in and day out. It’s a lofty goal, but you can do it with mindfulness and effort.

A photo of 4 chairs. Three are exactly the same and one is bright green suggesting uniqueness.

What Are the Characteristics of an Exceptional Leader

The book Extraordinary Golf: The Art of the Possible by Fred Shoemaker defines “extraordinary” in the following way: “Extraordinary comes from who you are, and if it is to be consistent, then who you are must be consistent… The question of who you are goes beyond your outside identity. It’s a question about what doesn’t change.” 

Leadership and golf have a lot in common, as it turns out. The difference between a good leader and an extraordinary one is consistency. While an extraordinary leader has certain traits to strive for, the real key is not just emulating them but demonstrating them repeatedly daily. 

The question, then, is what traits of an extraordinary leader should we consistently embody? Here are a few: 

  • Confidence. Not to be confused with an over-inflated ego, well-placed confidence comes from trusting yourself and standing by your decisions. It is usually the result of a proven track record in your industry. 
  • Humility. While this may seem like a contradiction, true confidence and humility go hand in hand. It would be best if you were humble enough to admit when you’re wrong and confident enough to know that being wrong does not impact your worth. It would help if you also gave credit for your successes where it is due. 
  • Compassion. An extraordinary leader understands the humanity of the business’s employees and customers alike. This leader makes people of all levels feel seen and heard. 
  • Communication. Clarity is so often the Achilles’ heel of an organization, and as such, is one of the essential traits of an extraordinary leader. However, it takes a truly skilled person to overcome everyday communication challenges in a business. 
  • Imagination. Extraordinary leaders are dreamers. They have high standards because they envision more for their employees. They see opportunities where others see obstacles. 

I want to end with another quote from Shoemaker: “Extraordinary people live their lives backward. Instead, they stand in the future and determine how they would like their life to be. This vision of their future gives them a way to be in the present, and their actions spring naturally from this sense of who they are.”

To be extraordinary, then, is rooted in your vision of the future. What kind of future would you like it to be?

Exceptional leadership is something that develops over time through consistent practice. You can learn a lot from an experienced business coach. To build your traits of an extraordinary leader, sign up for my email list to get my weekly business articles delivered right to your inbox. 

Coach Dave


Dave Schoenbeck
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