The following comes from "Leadership Gold" by John Maxwell and speaks to many characteristics that are important in leadership, but points out that many standing alone does not a good leader make. And, according to Maxwell, the most successful of leaders all share one trait -- PASSION! Here is what Maxwell has to say:
Passion is an incredible asset for any person, but especially for leaders. It keeps us going when others quit. It becomes contagious and influences others to follow us. It pushed us through the toughest of times and gives us energy we did not know we possessed. It fuels us in ways that the following assets can’t:
1. Talent…is never enough to enable us to reach our potential. There are many people in the world with great natural talent who never achieve personal or professional success. I feel so strongly about this that I wrote an entire book about it called Talent Is Never Enough. To be a successful leader—to be a successful person—you need more than just talent.
2. Opportunity…will never get us to the top by itself. Opportunities may open the door, but the success journey is often long and difficult. Without the passion that sustains when times get tough, people don’t make the most of their opportunities and they never reach their potential. As my friend Howard Hendricks says, “Don’t put live eggs under dead chickens.” That’s what opportunities are to people without passion.
3. Knowledge…can be a great asset, but it won’t make us “all we can be.” Being smart doesn’t make someone a leader. Neither does possessing credentials or college degrees. Some of America’s worst presidents are reputed to have been the smartest. Some of the greatest, such as Abraham Lincoln, had very little formal education. Formal education doesn’t make you a leader. I possess three college degrees including a doctorate, but I believe they have contributed very little to my success as a leader.
4. A great team…can fall short. It’s true that leaders cannot be successful without a good team. But having a good team does not guarantee success. A team with no heart and fuzzy leadership won’t succeed. Besides, if a team starts out strong but has a weak, passionless leader, the team will eventually become weak and passionless. As the Law of Magnetism says in The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, “We attract who we are, not who we want.”
5. What does a leader need to succeed? Passion. Passion is a real difference maker. It separates the extraordinary from the ordinary. When I think back on my career, I recognize that passion has enabled me to do the following:
• Believe things I would not have believed
• Feel things I would not have felt
• Attempt things I would not have attempted
• Accomplish things I would not have accomplished
• Meet people I would not have net
• Motivate people I would not have motivated
• Lead people I would not have led
6. Passion has made an incredible difference in my life. As former GE CEO Jack Welch says, “The world will belong to passionate, driven leaders…people who not only have enormous amounts of energy, but who can energize those whom they lead.” In all my years of observing people, I have yet to meet an individual who reached his potential but didn’t possess passion.