| Contributor

Universal qualities of the trailblazers I admire most.

Dating back as far as written record can reach, we’ve been analyzing what it takes to effectively lead. Whether it be an expedition, a revolution, a movement, we continue to rack our brains on what the most effective leaders are composed of. Arbitrary qualities often come to mind, such as strength, vision, drive, discipline, boldness, enthusiasm, dominance, awareness, and the like.

While there’s nothing inherently wrong with these options to serve as a map for identifying the one to spearhead a project, I think we can dig a little deeper to the derivative of what produces these qualities in the first place.

I’ve been around some incredible leaders over the past decade of my working career, and I have yet to come across one that causes expanded results and doesn’t possess all three of these attributes.

I share them with you today in hopes you may leverage each to cause (or continue to cause) a breakthrough in your business, family, community, or whatever social circle is most important to you.


While there is a moral and ethical code attached to this trait, it is merely a bonus. The true value in being a leader of integrity, is being whole and undivided. There are no loose ends with these people. What they say, they do — creating a consistency as comforting a sensation among their followers as humanly possible. With respect to accountability, they are impeccable with their word.

When communicating, it is rooted in honesty and authenticity. There is no meandering, no manipulation, no beating around the bush. Straight and flat, those looking to the leader can breathe easy with the element of certainty that is not only present from the leader, but created. If communication is the bloodstream of great organizations and teams, integrity and honoring your word is the blood itself.


Leaders assume full responsibility for everything associated with their cause. They are the chokehold of the establishment, where the buck will eventually stop at their doorstep — whether they like it or not. Taking complete ownership for the livelihood of those that make up a group or organization takes something. A degree of mental fortitude reserved only for those that truly deal powerfully with each and every situation, leaving the past completely out of the equation.

Poise is simply balance. It is the critical faculty of equilibrium that recognizes both emotion and reason, anchoring both to cultivate moment-to-moment wisdom. Maintaining poise during a circumstantial or communication breakdown is essential to channeling the empathy and big-picture vision needed to chart the best course of action. Leaders with poise are not only cool under pressure, they have the ability to step out from underneath it completely and operate without restriction.


Perhaps the highest return available when exercised ,— and equally as detrimental when ignored — having a mind that is wide open to possibility pushes people to new heights. The paramount of a secure leader, the open-minded pioneer recognizes he will never know enough to be despondent about anything.

These inspiring people remain detached to their strategies, beliefs and philosophies to the point they are always willing to give up the great to achieve the greater. Conversely, those that follow the leader do not bring forth their input in fear of rejection, judgment or dismissal. They know and feel their leader is as much a work in progress as they are, simply due to his own unwavering volition. This communicates a centralized message of hope, which spreads throughout the coalition like wildfire.

While plenty of arguments could be made for the inclusion or replacement of one or more qualities, when these three are all present, they form the perfect storm of possibility expansion.

Poise levels the psychology. Open-mindedness lands the best available strategy. And integrity is the glue known as accountability — the word in the matter that transforms ideas into actions.

A leader with poise and integrity but a closed mind will be perceived as rigid and apathetic by his or her team members. One with integrity and an open mind, but without poise, will crumble mentally long before benefits of creativity and consistency are realized. And leaders with a word that carries no weight are immobilized quicker than anyone.

Embed each of these traits into your leadership psyche and make sure to get plenty of rest. You’ll need the energy to keep up with the accolades your team races to thereafter.

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