Not everyone wishes to become a leader, however I think we are all fascinated by the qualities that make a really successful leader stand out from the crowd.  The following are quotes via

It's hard to lead a cavalry charge if you think you look funny on a horse -- Adlai Stevenson

Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocities.  The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence -- Albert Enstein

I always believe that ultimately, if people are paying attention, then we get good government and good leadership.  And when we get lazy, as a democracy and civically start taking shortcuts, then it results in bad government and politics -- Barack Obama

You do not lead by hitting people over the head - that's assault, not leadership -- Dweight D. Eisenhower

Leadership can be thought of as a capacity to define oneself to others in a way that clarifies and expands a vision of the future -- Edwin H. Friedman

I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing in the shoulder of giants -- Isaac Newton

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader -- John Quincy Adams

The following is an extract from Top 7 Character Traits of Extraordinary Leaders by Chris Widener (via )

"When people make a decision (either consciously or unconsciously) to follow your leadership, they do it primarily because of two things :
- your character; or
- your skills         ..........  

1.  Integrity

Integrity is that you do what you say you will.  You are trustworthy.  People can rely on you.  You keep your promises.

2.  Optimistic

People want to follow those who can see the future and let them know that there is a better place and that they can get there!

3.  Embrace Change

Leaders are the ones who will see the need for change and willingly embrace it.

4.  Risk Taker

Whenever we try something new, we are taking a risk.  Most people are risk averse.  Not the leader!   He calculates the risk and what is to be gained from taking the risk.

5.  Tenacious

The tendency of the follower is to quit when the going gets tough.  Not the leader.  He knows what good lies beyond this brick wall and he will go and get it.

6.  Catalytic

A leader is ultimately one who gets people going.  Able to move others out of their comfort zone.  They raise the passion, enthusiasm and the actioon of those who would follow.

7.  Dedicated / committed

Leaders see the importance of a task and the goal.    "

(Chris Widener is a popular speaker and author as well as President of Made for Success)