Home > Leadership Qualities > Leadership Qualities in “Trusted Advisers”

Leadership Qualities in “Trusted Advisers”

Robert Fulghum wrote a popular book All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. The book is full of common sense rules to apply to life in order to make life better.

Sometimes in my professional interactions, I think that all I ever needed to know I learned in boot camp. As a young Marine recruit, many things were drilled into me, including leadership training. Much of that training revolved around learning, developing and acting on 14 leadership traits and 11 leadership principles.  Nearly 30 years later, I can look back at successful relationships with clients, vendors and coworkers and know with absolute certainty that many of those traits and principles applied in each situation.

As business professionals, we often like to hold ourselves out as “trusted advisers.” Ian Brodie, in his Get Clients Blog, calls it the holy grail of professional services. Building on trust puts us into position to establish a long term working relationship. That can be accomplished by applying a few of the leadership traits, which are:

  • Enthusiasm, especially important during stressful and busy times, is being cheerful and optimistic, which puts the client at ease.
  • Bearing is conducting ourselves in a professional and competent manner.
  • Tact is dealing with people in a firm and courteous manner.
  • Unselfishness is making the other party okay.  This is being considerate of their needs at all times.
  • Integrity is being honest and ethical in all of your dealings.
  • Knowledge is being technically proficient in order to deliver quality service.
  • Dependability is getting the work done and delivered when promised.
  • Loyalty is a devotion shown to your others.  The payoff is usually the return of loyalty from others.

Develop and apply these traits in all business relationships and you will find success as a true trusted adviser.

  1. March 18, 2010 at 4:54 pm

    Really glad to see you doing this Marty. Marines make good business leaders. There is a reason the Marine Corps provides 17% of active ground forces, 12% of fixed wing aircraft, and 19% of its helecopters for only 6.5% of the Defense budget.

  2. April 5, 2010 at 7:03 am

    Hi Marty,
    You have done a fabulous job of identifying and defining some characteristics of a trusted adviser. There is much wisdom in this post. I am constantly reminding myself that there are certain traits I inherently possess, and others that I must give my concentrated attention. Your list highlights both my strengths and challenges as a consultant.
    Thank you for this insightful post.
    All the best,

    • April 5, 2010 at 8:16 am

      Hi Jen,

      Thanks for the comment. It’s easy to keep concentrating on our strengths and overlook areas in which we might improve. Having a list of these traits, part of 14 total as identified by the Marine Corps, makes it easier to do a mental check.

      The Corps also identified 11 leadership principles built on these traits. My New Year resolution was to get back to following these principles in my life. These conversations help me to stay on track.


  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: