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Your Business Coach: What do you look for in a leader?

Bill Fournet: Regardless of political affiliation, technical acumen, and a list of accomplishments, there are three fundamental qualities people seek in leaders.
BY BILL FOURNET Published: November 4, 2012

Yet, how we delegate and the success that comes with it often defines our reputation. It relies on the quality and capability of those we empower to work for us. History is replete with successes and failures: ranging from the success of Roosevelt to delegate to the military in the Second World War to the failure of Lyndon Johnson to delegate to his military commanders in Vietnam.

Authenticity. Determining if a leader is genuine is one of the most difficult tasks — and the farther you are from the leader (as in the presidential election), the harder it becomes. What is the leader really like? Does he truly mean or believe what he says? Yet this attribute goes to the heart of what we look for in leadership — if he is not authentic in his values, beliefs, and words, then can we really trust him? Is he able to step outside of the political party lines and be true to himself? Recent surveys of the workforce repeatedly cite workers seeking leaders who “walk their talk” yet they find that most do not.

Authenticity is basic to trusting someone.

And trust is basic to leadership.

People often follow because they trust the leader — the direction they are headed, their ability to protect the team, the statements they make. When trust is broken, teams often implode, abandoning the leaders as quickly as possible. As a leader, ask yourself if you are living your values and principles. Are you talking about them with your team? How genuine do your team members think you are? Do they trust you? If your answers concern you, then think about how you can build trust with the team — and it usually starts first with you, your words, and your actions.

Your Business Coach is a regular column produced by The Persimmon Group, an Oklahoma-based consulting firm that offers practical, results-oriented advice for business professionals of all disciplines and business owners across industries. Today's column is by TPG Founder and CEO Bill Fournet. Email him at