The 5 key traits of leadership attitude


What is leadership attitude? How does it differ from the leadership role?

These are two very good questions I’m often asked. The way I see it, leadership is not a role or a title. It is how you think, feel and see yourself and how you act as a leader. That’s where attitude comes in. What you believe about yourself and the nature of leadership influences the way you lead.

What does this mean? Well, you can wait until you have the title of leader conferred upon you, or you can simply lead when the need is there. The problem with waiting for the title is that it doesn’t change who you are. It doesn’t give you a new set of specialised leadership skills. Usually, it doesn’t even mean you have leadership skills at all! How often are people promoted to a leadership position based purely on their technical skills? Leadership isn’t a role, it’s an attitude.

There are a number of key traits in leadership attitude and today I want to show you 5 of the most important.

Stepping up

A leadership attitude means stepping up when you see the need to lead. You might not be the highest ranking team member, nor might you be the longest serving; but you have something your team needs. You know how to lead them from where they are now to where they need to be. You don’t need a title.


Your leadership attitude is based on self-belief, and that comes from knowing yourself, and your strengths and weaknesses. This is what helps you decide when to lead and when to follow. In knowing what you’re truly good at, you can stand in your power and lead with confidence. You know you’re doing the right thing and your confidence inspires people to believe in you and follow. Remember, confidence is HOT!

Don’t accept the status quo

Just because things have always been done that way, it doesn’t follow that it’s still the right way today. You have a responsibility to step up and shake things up when you believe the time is right. How do you know when the time is right? You notice that productivity is dropping, work has stalled, or the morale of the team has dropped. You notice that no one knows what to do or is prepared to start change. The status quo is doing you no favours at all.

Give yourself permission to suggest and introduce your new ideas and processes. That’s what real leaders do. And if you’re worried about failure, put your faith in Brene Brown when she says “…there is no innovation and creativity without failure.”

Be Inclusive

The leadership attitude is inclusive because it’s based on the knowledge that each one of us has leadership skills which will be needed at some time, and the more diverse the team, the more skills you will be able to tap into. It’s all about embracing our differences and valuing them, and not about meeting diversity targets. It’s about engaging everyone into the team and encouraging them to speak up and use their talents with confidence. What you’re also doing here is modelling your vision of leadership and teaching others that they can be leaders, too.

Be the change

People with leadership attitude don’t wait for change to come along. They make it happen. They ARE the change. They show up and step up. They rock the world and make it exciting. They show that change is possible and it won’t break you. So, what is leadership attitude? In my latest book Leadership Attitude, I sum it up like this.

“It’s the way you see yourself, the way you see the leadership role and the way you interact with people around you. It’s in what you want and how you plan to get it. It’s in how you take your people along the journey with you, and achieve success together.”

Do you have leadership attitude? Then it’s time you stood up and made things happen.

About Sonia McDonald

Sonia McDonald, Director of LeadershipHQ, is a thought leader, consultant, full time single mum and dynamic speaker and writer. Internationally recognised as an expert in leadership and strategy, organisational development and neuroscience, Sonia is an engaging writer who inspires as she educates. Sonia’s key focus is on the strategies behind successful business and leadership. Her articles and blogs are both fun and informative. Taking a neuroscience approach, Sonia shows how the power of the human brain can become the driver for business and team success, pushing your business to achieve and surpass organisational objectives. She has also just launched her amazing EmpowHER program which is taking Australia by storm and building leadership capability and confidence for women across the nation.

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