Character traits of leaders
Character traits of leaders

These character traits of good leaders comes from a book I am using for a middle school girls leadership group. The book is, "What Do You Stand For?" by Barbara A. Lewis. It is a book for teens, but it was clear to me that these character traits are still applicable to adults, so here they are.

12 Character Traits of Good Leaders: From "What Do You Stand For" by Barbara A. Lewis

*These are written simplistically for teens, but simple is generally the best way for clear communication*
  1. They serve others - Among the greatest leaders are those who serve the people. They care about others and work to help them. Or they care about animals, environment, or other important issues.
  2. They develop leadership in others - They trust and believe in the people that follow them. They share. They delegate. They give credit to others for their ideas and contributions, rather than hogging all the glory for themselves.
  3. They listen to others and communicate well - They accept advice and criticism without exploding or wilting.
  4. They are good planners and decision makers - They work with their followers to set and achieve goals.
  5. They inspire others - to walk further than they think they can, to be better than they ever imagined they could be.
  6. They learn and grow - they are constantly learning better ways to do their jobs.
  7. They have positive attitudes - They are usually or often cheerful, enthusiastic, hopeful, alert, energetic, and resilient.
  8. They have integrity - They are true to what they say. They set a good example of honesty and trust-worthiness.
  9. They take responsibility - for their own actions and decisions. As leaders, they also take responsibility for the actions and decisions made by their followers.
  10. They take risks - This doesn't mean that they balance one foot at the edge of a cliff. It means that they're willing to try new ideas and to experiment.
  11. They take good care of themselves - They balance work with play. They jog, play racquetball, golf or walk. They eat healthy foods so that their bodies have the right fuel. They take time to think and to relax.
  12. They are good followers - They look for people who are good examples. They realize that they don't know everything, and they still have a lot to learn. They seek out mentors.

Relationship of the characters in "The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe" and "Prince Caspian" to the 12 Character Traits of Good Leaders:

  • The Pevensie children were kings and queens in Narnia, but their duty in these roles was to serve the people/animals/trees/etc. of Narnia.
  • The Pevensie children were helped by Aslan to develop their leadership skills. He helped them through guidance and their experiences to grow as individuals and as leaders.
  • Peter, Susan and Edmund had difficulty at times in listening well to others. They also had trouble in communicating their feelings. Through the mentorship/guidance of Aslan, and even the example of their younger sibling, Lucy, they all grew into leaders that did listen and were able to communicate their thoughts and feelings.
  • This is again, an example of where Peter and Edmund grew to be leaders that looked at all aspects of a plan before committing to it. This was not always so. Peter and Edmund made bad mistakes that resulted in difficulty for others, and in some circumstances fatal mistakes. They learned from these mistakes though and became better planners and decision-makers.
  • The Pevensies were the "Kings and Queens of Old" and as such it was almost their job to inspire others. If they wanted the Narnians to follow them and to do what needed to be done to free Narnia, they had to inspire their followers by their character and their acts.
  • Learning and growing is what all of the Pevensie children do as they go through their adventures. They learn through their mistakes and through listening to and accepting Aslan's guidance. A good leader is also a good follower.
  • Throughout their experiences, despite downfalls, the Pevensie children remain hopeful even when they are not feeling very positive or enthusiastic. Once they decide on a course of action though, the enthusiasm, energy and resiliency kick in.
  • All of the Pevensie children have integrity, this is why Aslan has such faith in them and calls them to Narnia. The Narnians see this integrity in them and it is one of the reasons they trust in them and follow them.
  • Responsibility for Narnia weighs heavily on all of the Pevensie children. It is especially heavy on Peter as he feels it is on his shoulders to lead them all to victory over Miraz. This is actually where Peter ends up failing in one of his plans because he thinks that this responsibility means deciding everything on your own and he does not listen to the ideas or advice of others. He learns a hard lesson from this, but becomes a better king for it.
  • In their quest to save Narnia, they take calculated risks to attain their very challenging goals. In some circumstances before they have gained experience and the wisdom that often comes hard won, Peter and Edmund take cause hardship and death to others. They learn from this risks that were not well thought out and were taken for the wrong reasons. It is a painful way to learn, but they gain wisdom from it.
  • In Narnia, they get a lot of physical exercise just from the lifestyle of that place and time.
  • The Pevensie children follow Aslan. They see him as their leader and mentor and realize they have much still to learn.

  • Prince Caspian has not had much of a mentor in his Uncle Miraz who is a dictator and lives only to serve himself. When Prince Caspian has to flee for his life at the warning of his Professor, he meets up with the Narnians and begins to realize what it means to serve others.
  • As Prince Caspian begins to plan how to retake Telmarine Castle, he learns to help others develop their leadership in order to have people following him whom he can safely delegate important responsibilities to.
  • Prince Caspian is learning the value of listening to others, to opening himself up to learning about others different from him. He also is able to communicate back to them his new found knowledge that they must all find a way to live peacefully together.
  • Prince Caspian is a good planner, but is not always able to hold his temper well enough to communicate these plans (discord between him and Peter). His temper and emotions over the deceit of his Uncle Miraz sometimes affects his ability to make the best decisions. He slowly learns to not let this control him.
  • Once the Narnians realize he speaks truthfully about wanting them to live peacefully together, they are behind him in overtaking the Telmarine Castle. His truthfulness and desire to bring peace has inspired them.
  • Prince Caspian grows throughout his experiences until Aslan tells him he is a king because of his humility in thinking he is not ready to be one.
  • Prince Caspian is hopeful, energetic, enthusiastic and resilient throughout his experiences. He never gives up hope of regaining his fathers castle or of avenging his death.
  • The only time Prince Caspian's integrity falters is when the dwarf and Jardis entrance him and he is tempted to use dark magic to reach his goals. Peter steps in and stops him and Caspian realizes that was not the path he wanted to take.
  • Prince Caspian takes responsibility for his actions, for him it is a matter of personal honor.
  • Prince Caspian will take whatever risks are necessary to regain Telmarine Castle and to avenge his fathers death.
  • Again, the lifestyle they are leading lends itself to physical activity which keeps them in good shape.
  • While at first Prince Caspian and Peter bump heads, they eventually, through sharing difficult experiences, come to respect each other. Prince Caspian then follows Peter, and Peter in turn regains his faith in Aslan and sends Lucy to find Aslan. Ultimately, they all follow Aslan and bow to his greater wisdom.

Eight Major Leadership Theories