Jun 10, 2016
Robert Sherman, Chief Executive Officer


What does a leader look like?  What distinguishes leaders?  Are you a leader?  If not, what prevents you?

Leaders aren’t just those at the top of flow charts. They’re the people who make things happen from anywhere in an organization — top, middle, or bottom. Their ideas and actions elevate and inspire us.  Here are 41 characteristics of leaders:

1. Leaders lead from the front
2. Leaders lead from the side
3. Leaders lead from behind
4. Leaders lead from the middle
5. Leaders are learners
6. Leaders are listeners
7. Leaders are communicators
8. Leaders are story tellers
9. Leaders are compassionate
10. Leaders are political
11. Leaders are vision setters
12. Leaders are planners
13. Leaders are risk takers
14. Leaders are organizers
15. Leaders are relationship builders
16. Leaders are disruptors
17. Leaders are directors
18. Leaders are followers
19. Leaders are peace makers
20. Leaders are introverts
21. Leaders are extroverts
22. Leaders are collaborators
23. Leaders are inspirers
24. Leaders are doers
25. Leaders are power brokers
26. Leaders are liberators
27. Leaders are empathizers
28. Leaders are creators
29. Leaders are responsibility takers
30. Leaders are responsibility distributers
31. Leaders are leapers
32. Leaders are thinkers
33. Leaders are dreamers
34. Leaders are humble
35. Leaders are brash
36. Leaders are self-reliant
37. Leaders are networkers
38. Leaders are experts
39. Leaders are talent finders
40. Leaders are talent makers
41. Leaders are...(You fill it in) 

Yet, leaders are much more than these 41 characteristics — those just describe them.  Leaders are distinguished by their willingness for change, sense of urgency, tenacity, integrity, authenticity, and driving purpose.  Leaders intuit how much better it can be and they act on that intuition. .

So what keeps you from leading?  It’s true you may be criticized. Some people may oppose your vision and actions. You may fail.  That’s to be expected as all people who lead take risk. You also may find that you like it. It suits you. You want to do more. And there’s always room for more.

One in a series from our inaugural Blog B'Omer.

Robert Sherman is CEO of The Jewish Education Project.

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