I was in a Fedex/Kinko store the other day. While waiting my turn, I was perusing the publications on offer, I noticed that several covered leadership for managers.

All these publications offered lists of the attributes of great leaders. Apparently, there are either 5, 7, 12, or 22 attributes which leaders must posses to be effective.

I believe that the single most important function of leaders is to inspire their teams. Here are some attributes which effective leaders must possess in order to create, lead and sustain an effective team.

Confidence: Great leaders tend to be highly confident in their vision and abilities. Their confidence inspires others to buy into that vision and work towards stated goals.

Focus: Leaders need to be laser-focused on their vision and goals. A leader who is focused and can communicate that vison effectively will inspire their team to stay on task and produce results.

Honesty: The Golden Rule has not been repealed. Good leaders know that honesty and ethical behavior is a core value in their culture. It’s the best way to make real and lasting connections with employees, customers, and other stakeholders.

Positivity: This attribute is more than speaking loudly and energetically; it is a consistent outlook which inspires those around them. Setbacks are inevitable. True leaders know that positivity can turn a setback into a success.

Decisiveness: This is key in today’s fast paced world. Leaders must understand issues, make decisions quickly and move on.

Some leaders, like Richard Branson are born with a charisma which encompasses the attributes we’ve discussed. Others must learn and adopt some of the above traits in which they are lacking. Organizations which are led by individuals who possess these attributes, whether innate or learned will have an advantage over their competition.