What does it take to be a leader? Each of us has a different idea of who is a good leader, for example, Richard Branson, Barack Obama, or Nelson Mandela? What makes them different?

In a research project carried out by Franklin Covey, 54,000 people were interviewed and asked to identify the essential qualities of a leader. Perhaps not surprisingly, ‘integrity’ was by far the most popular response. Getting people to trust you is a mixture of your character – who you are – and your competence – how you do.

Thirteen behaviours were identified as building up strength in your integrity as a leader. They can be summarised as:

First of all, talk straight.

Too many people use the following tactic with truth… ‘bend it, shake it, do anything with it”. To really get people’s trust, always tell the truth and let people know where they stand.

Demonstrate respect and show that you genuinely care

If you have made an appointment to see a staff member, don’t keep them waiting; return phone calls when you say you will.

Right wrongs and apologise for mistakes quickly.

Nobody expects you to be infallible, be humble and don’t try to cover things up.

Create transparency

Do not have hidden agendas, be genuine in your dealings with people.

Demonstrate loyalty.

Give credit to other peoples’ efforts, be loyal to those who are not present, and not run people down behind their backs.

Do what you say you will.

Do what you say you will as a leader

Don’t blame other people

Profess ignorance or go into denial to explain inaction.

Confront reality.

Don’t let things fester in the office; face problems head-on rather than hoping that problems will just go away.

Practice accountability

Hold yourself accountable as well as others for good or bad results.

Learn to communicate clearly

Check that requests and instructions have been understood. In this way, you can manage expectations.

Develop your listening skills.

Being able to listen is essential in good leadership. People quickly react negatively if they feel that they are not being heard and lose faith in their leader.

Do your utmost to keep all commitments

This provides a true reflection of who and what you are, so make sure you get organised!

Extend trust to others

Delegate and give others clear responsibilities and lead by example.

So here’s the challenge to you; as a leader, do you display these 13 key behaviours?

How do you measure up?