The # 1 characteristic of admired leaders since 1987 is Honest according to James Kouzes and Barry Posner in their book The Leadership Challenge.
The next three top characteristics of admired leaders over the last 25 years were Forward-Looking, Competent, and Inspiring. Those next 3 characteristics have moved around in the rankings but Honest has always remained at the top since they began collecting information in 1987. Honest defined as leaders living by the values they profess.
Being Honest trumps all other characteristics of admired leaders scoring around 18 percentage points higher than the next characteristic on the list
How does that knowledge affirm or challenge your previously held beliefs about which of your characteristics were endearing you to your staff? Share your thoughts with me on Twitter.