- Leandro Herrero - https://leandroherrero.com -

Why people ‘with leadership traits’ don’t become leaders. Waiting for the other half of the article.

Jack Welch, ex CEO of GE and Suzy Welch, Journalist, author and Jack’s wife have written in Linkedin [1], in one of their multiple well promoted articles, about the five essential traits of leadership. Here it goes:

From our experience, the first essential trait of leadership is positive energy — the capacity to go-go-go with healthy vigor and an upbeat attitude through good times and bad.

 The second is the ability to energize others, releasing their positive energy, to take any hill.

 The third trait is edge — the ability to make tough calls, to say yes or no, not maybe.

 The fourth trait is the talent to execute — very simply, get things done.

 Fifth and finally, leaders have passion. They care deeply. They sweat; they believe.

So here you are: positive energy, ability to energize others, edge, talent to execute and passion. The five traits of leadership. Positive energy and ability to energize others are ‘hard wired’ or ‘personality’. Passion is also inborn. The other two are more teachable and trainable.


218759 views, 12682 likes and 707 comments in the original LinkedIn Post [2]’. ‘Great post’, totally agree’ and ‘Please also add…’ are quite general comments.

Difficult to disagree. Imagine that we were to say that leaders have low energy, do not energise people, have no edge, don’t know how to execute and have no passion. No article.

The trouble with these assertions that only people with the Welch surname and associated to GE can get away with, is that they are meaningless. Nobody can’t disagree with. They could only become more solid (from their present state of gas, not even liquid) if you can tell what  makes people within these traits become leader, (and how, would be also helpful) and, more important, why probably many, many others with the same traits will never become a leader.

Yes, my hypothesis is that for each person with positive energy, ability to energize others, edge, talent to execute and passion, who is or has become a leader, there are many times more people with the same traits that don’t become a leader. Why? Come on Mr Welch, give us Part 2.

Now let’s throw in another five: clear communication of a destiny, ability to bring others alone, stand on a model of ‘servant, that is serving others, humility, and ability to learn and change gears fast when needed. Another five?

By the way, there is no definition of frame of ‘leadership’ in that article, so I imagine the Welches have many cases and situations in mind, but my guess is that they are talking business organizations.

For the record, on the package of positive energy, ability to energize others, edge, talent to execute and passion, the following people I know fit the bill: the hairdresser at the end of the street (I don’t know whether she leads people but she has lots and lots of customers; does that count? ), a local priest I know, one of my kids’ teacher (but he is a real pain though, and creates more antibodies than recognition), Mary in the Post Room of my client’s HQ, oh, yes, Mary, and the manager of my local supermarket. I am going to tell them that Mr Welch and Mrs Welch may want a call with them for their forthcoming book. It must be one. Case studies, that is.