Industrialist Andrew Carnegie was the wealthiest man on the planet in the early 20th century and was a student of what it takes to achieve greatness. In 1908, he met with the journalist Napoleon Hill who collected and edited notes from initial conversations with Carnegie. In 1948, Hill published “Think Your Way to Wealth” which was based on Carnegie’s beliefs that successful leaders exemplify a set of specific traits.
Here is a summary of the 31 traits Carnegie identified with great leaders.
1. They have a definite purpose and a definite plan for attaining it. Great leaders are always working toward an overarching goal.
2. They have a motive that continuously drives them. “Nothing great is ever achieved without a definitive motive.”
3. They surround themselves with talented people who share their vision.
4. They are able to be self-reliant.
5. They have intense self-discipline.
6. They are persistent.
7. They are creative. “Able leaders must be eternally seeking new and better ways of doing things. They must be on the lookout for new ideas and new opportunities to attain the object of their labors.”
8. They are decisive. It’s dangerous to be impulsive, but it is better to make an imperfect decision than none at all.
9. They collect all possible facts before making judgments.
10. They are enthusiastic.
11. They are fair.
12. They have an open mind. “The man with a closed mind does not inspire the confidence of his associates. Without confidence great leadership is an impossibility.”
13. They go beyond what is required of them.
14. They are tactful.
15. They listen more than they speak.
16. They pay attention to detail.
17. They are determined.
18. They can take criticism. “Bigness overlooks the smallness of criticism and carries on.”
19. They know when to restrain themselves.
20. They are loyal.
21. They know when to speak frankly.
22. They understand others’ motivations.
23. They are exceptionally likable.
24. They are focused. “Concentrated effort gives one power that can be attained in no other way.”
25. They learn from mistakes.
26. They assume responsibility for the mistakes of their subordinates.
27. They recognize the achievements of others.
28. They treat others the way they would like to be treated.
29. They are optimistic.
30. They assume responsibility for the actions of their entire team.
31. They are able to act without being guided by emotion.
To read more on this list, click to the full article in the Financial Post Business.
Also, here is another post regarding Andrew Carnegie’s wisdom in the By George Journal: “Carnegie’s 10 Rules of Success“