But according to Deborah Harmon, CEO of Artemis Real Estate Partners, the most important characteristics of leaders go deeper than a natural intelligence or penchant for ideas. Harmon told Adam Bryant of the New York Times that the three foundational characteristics of a good leader are "confidence, grit, and a real desire to make a difference."
This belief comes from Harmon's childhood, where she witnessed true grit in her mother. Harmon watched her mother not only raise three kids, but work as a theater producer, moving up from independent work to Off Broadway to Broadway itself. "I watched how hard it was, and she really taught me that there is no such thing as work-life balance," Harmon told the New York Times. But her mother made it work, pushing herself until she accomplished her goals.
Additionally, her father, an investment banker, often brought Harmon to work with him, which taught her an important lesson about confidence and success. "You don't have to have the highest I.Q. in the room, but if you're willing to work harder than everyone else, there's no limit to what you can accomplish," she says.
For Harmon, being a good leader doesn't come down to the abilities you're born with, but rather how hard you choose to work. "It's not about getting the most glamorous or the most prestigious jobs," she said. "What matters most is where you can learn and grow and have the most responsibility."