In this episode of Actionable Marketing In Minutes we talk to Bobbi Parke about the notable character traits of great leaders.

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It’s easy to find articles, blogs and books written that pertain to characteristics of a good leader. Almost everyone has an opinion. In fact, millions of dollars have been made from the sales of hundreds of thousands of books on this topic.

In this podcast, we’re not following the pack by adding to the litany of characteristic titles, such as 9 Characteristics of an Epic Leader or 8 Top Characteristics of a Great Leader. I don’t want to focus on the capabilities and competencies of a great leader. Maybe that is a podcast for another day. Today, I want to focus more on what underlies these acquired skillsets. I want to consider the character that is the foundation of the makeup of a heroic leader.


Character is tantamount to integrity.

Though Vince Lombardi is credited with the adage, “Adversity doesn’t build character, it reveals it,” James Lane Allen actually penned it.

Martin Luther King, Jr. once said of character, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

Oftentimes, when adversity strikes, many leaders fold like a deck of cards. We’ve seen this play out time and time again with various business owners and managers, which is why we think this topic is important.

As we will discuss in a minute with our guest, character – which is a choice – transcends education, training and position. It is something each of us must build within ourselves. You simply can’t get it by reading a book.

Let’s talk about a man who is well-known as one of solid character. During his professional life, he succeeded in rising from a champion seller to master motivator. It is said that he ‘invested his life helping others get everything they want out of life.’ That could be one summation of what a good leader is.

I’m talking about Zig Ziglar. Perhaps you’ve heard of him. We believe Zig evolved into a great leader because of his high moral character.

Here are a few characteristics he considered as being integral to a person of good character: honesty, humor, friendliness, confidence, integrity, persistence, humility, goal-setter, decisive, hard-worker, learner, positive mental attitude, compassionate, disciplined, dedicated, faithful, dependable, knowledgeable, loving, enthusiastic, motivated, patient, loyal, organized, good listener, and empathetic.


Today, we are talking to Bobbi Parke, a contributing writer here at Local Directive. Bobbi has done a fair amount of research on today’s topic so I thought we’d pick her brain.


Bobbi, welcome. Thank you coming in today. It seems the words character and characteristic are often used interchangeably. But, they are different words. What’s the difference?


Hi, Lisa. Very good to be here.

Characteristics can be defined as distinguishing features or qualities that help to identify, tell apart, or describe recognizably – a distinguishing mark or trait. Character is the group of features, traits and characteristics that forms one’s individual nature.

Q: (follow up)

So, you’re saying a characteristic can be defined as a singular feature or trait; whereas, character is a group of characteristics that form a person.

A: (follow up)

That’s true, Lisa.


I’ve also heard you say you’ve found that good character is formed when a person has acquired and developed stable and distinctive qualities. Why is that?


It is said that certain qualities that distinguish one person from another are impressed by nature or habit. The results are what constitute real character.


So, now we know good character is a group of characteristics that is developed mostly through our daily habits. In other words, we become what we repeatedly do.

Can you tell us some habits that we might cultivate that would improve our character?


Yes, I can. Here is a quick list I picked up at; though, there are many others.

* Always Be True to Who You Are

* Be Courteous and Polite with Everybody

* Be a Truth Seeker

* Be Courageous

* Never Look Back

* Be Empathic

* Always Remain Calm – and Avoid Drama

* Steer Clear of Irrational Impulses


I just wrote a blog post about resilience and ‘grit’ and what is interesting is that many characteristics of a great leader are the same ones associated with grit. So it seems that great leaders may have ‘grit.’ Very cool.

OK, Thanks for stopping in, Bobbi. We appreciate your time.


Dee Hock, of VISA International, said, “Control is not leadership; management is not leadership; leadership is leadership is leadership. If you seek to lead, invest at least 50 percent of your time leading yourself – your own purpose, ethics, principles, motivation, conduct.”

We agree. In order to lead effectively, you must be a leader worth following. People respect those with good character and are more likely to follow them.

Think about what we’ve presented today and then seek to develop your own character. We are certain you will become more of who you want to be – a great leader of notable character.

We hope you’ve found this information helpful. Please connect with us on Twitter @DirectiveGroup or on LinkedIn and be sure to share it with in your networks using hashtag #actionablemarketing. Join us next time for more actionable marketing in minutes.