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Have you ever had the great privilege and good fortune to work with and for a leader who inspires you by their words and most importantly, by their actions? If you did, you are among the fortunate few because far too many people in leadership roles are ill-equipped to lead with effectiveness. As a result, many people are simply going to work to make a living as opposed to making a difference. 

In 1937, Napoleon Hill wrote his book, Think and Grow Rich after studying the traits and habits of 500 self-made millionaires of his time. In the book, Hill introduces the world to the 11 major attributes of leadership but what is quite amazing, and to be quite honest, I am still in awe with this book; is how relevant these attributes are in 2019.  

If you have not read the book, I implore you to read it, especially if you are responsible for leading people. Here are the 11 attributes of effective leadership as outlines by Napoleon Hill. 

Willingness to Assume Full Responsibility.

The successful leader must be willing to assume responsibility for the mistakes and the shortcomings of their followers. If they try to shift the responsibility, that person will not remain the leader. If one of their followers makes a mistake, and shows themselves as incompetent, the leader must consider that it is them who failed.

Definiteness of Decision.

The person who wavers in their decisions shows that they are not sure of themselves and as a result, they cannot lead others successfully. Great leaders have the habit of making decisions quickly and changing them very slowly.

Definiteness of Plans.

The successful leader must plan their work, and work their plan. A leader who moves by guesswork, without practical, definite plans, is comparable to a ship without a rudder. Sooner or later they will land on the rocks.

Unwavering Courage

Based upon knowledge of self, and of one’s occupation. No follower wishes to be led by a leader who lacks self-confidence and courage.

A Keen Sense of Justice.

Without a sense of fairness and justice, no leader can command and retain the respect of their followers.


The successful leader must understand and apply the principle of cooperative effort and be able to induce their followers to do the same. Leadership calls for POWER, and power calls for COOPERATION.

Self Control.

The person who cannot control themselves can never control others. Self-control sets a mighty example for one’s followers.

The Habit of Doing More Than Paid For.

One of the penalties of leadership is the necessity of willingness upon the part of the leader to do more than they requires of their followers.

A Pleasing Personality.

No slovenly, careless, or unpleasant person can become a successful leader. Leadership calls for respect.

Sympathy and Understanding.

The successful leader must be in sympathy with their followers. Moreover, they must understand them and their problems.

Mastery of Detail.

Successful leadership calls for mastery of details of the leader’s position.

According to Matt Ladin, 75 years ago Hill wrote: 

“The relation of employer and employee, or of leader and follower, in the future, will be one of mutual cooperation, based upon an equitable division of the profits of business. In the future, the relationship between employer and employee will be more like a partnership then it has been in the past.”

Someone who can follow a leader most efficiently is usually the person who develops into leadership most rapidly. An intelligent follower has many advantages, among them the OPPORTUNITY TO ACQUIRE KNOWLEDGE FROM HIS/HER LEADER.

Wishful thinking, perhaps? According to Matt, collectively, it would appear that we still have a lot of work to do.


About Gifford Thomas

I am the founder of Leadership First and the author of The Inspirational Leader, Inspire Your Team To Believe In The Impossible. At Leadership First, we are committed to publishing the very best inspirational leadership quotes and articles to inspire our 125,000+ community of leaders to believe in the impossible, while creating an environment free from toxic, fearful and intimidating leadership. We believe everyone can and should enjoy their work, but it must start with the leadership leading by example. Follow our community of leaders HERE, and let's change the leadership status quo to help inspire and motivate our leaders to make a difference and create an organization their people will love. 

You can download a copy of my book The Inspirational Leader and Inspire Your Team To Believe In The Impossible by clicking on the word inspirational below:

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