Leadership and the PERSON Model

Whole Person

Yes, as we all know, a leader in any organization or industry, is not a spiritual entity from above or a superhero that can transcend the speed of light.

Rather a leader is a PERSON, a human being who has emotions, can make mistakes and has to take the initiative to make things happen, whether the result is positive or negative.

What is PERSON?

In terms of leadership, PERSON may stand for six characteristics which a leader must possess in order to be effective and successful.  They are:

P (passion)
E (empowerment)
R (responsibility)
S (strength)
O (objectivity)
N (noteworthiness)

You can dub this a leadership model, along with the thousands of others which currently exist and people practice. Or you may just consider utilizing this acronym to ponder on what you believe are qualities of an exemplar leader.


A leader must be passionate about not only the work and achieving the end results of his/her core business.

But a leader must also be passionate about the organization’s mission statement.  Passion for both is paramount to not only his/her personal success, but the success of the overarching organization as well.  A good leader should act in such a manner that employees want to embrace positivity, dedication, and that same degree of passion for success.


No matter how difficult it may be, an exemplar leader empowers employees.

This leader empowers some to take over projects or tasks which he/she may have owned.

While it is never easy to relinquish control, a good leader will pass the torch to the most qualified employees and entrust them with greater responsibility.

A time of empowerment is especially critical when an organization undergoes any major changes, whether it is new ownership, new executive leadership, reorganization, etc.  The greatest test for any leader is when major organizational changes occur.  It is the ultimate litmus test of a leader’s strength.


In today’s business world and economy, leaders in any industry take risks on a regular basis.

The scope of risk varies by industry.  Obviously, a risk in trading on the stock market and one in a nonprofit organization are somewhat different in nature.  Sometimes things pan out and a risk taken has a positive impact on an organization.  However, sometimes a risk taken may have negative consequences.

Whether a negative end result is caused by external or internal factors, it is a leader’s job to take responsibility for the end result.  Playing the blame game and blaming others for failure is unprofessional conduct for a leader.  If a leader does not want to take responsibility for a project/initiative going wrong, then that person should not be a leader.

When something fails, an exemplar leader will accept responsibility and take the appropriate measures to determine the root cause and lessons learned, not blame others as an easy way out.


An ideal leader does not have to possess physical strength, like Hercules.

Rather, a leader should be strong mentally and emotionally.

A strong leader must possess the fortitude to stand up for what he/she believes in, not matter what popular/public opinion may think/say.

A strong leader must be able to hang in there when the going gets tough, whether it is due to a demanding client, ethical situation, downward spiral of a project, negative economic conditions, etc.

A person in a leadership position has to wear many hats and has to please many people, i.e. Board of Directors, employees, clients, etc. and pleasing everyone is sometimes impossible.  A strong leader has to sometimes make decisions which will not please everyone all of the time.


An ideal leader must remain objective.

Objectivity not only applies to a leader’s behavior toward fellow employees and underlings.  It also refers to objectivity in decision making.  Whether the decision to be made is a major or minor one, a good leader must examine the facts or data and make a decision based on that information which he/she believes is most beneficial to stakeholders, customers and the organization.


A noteworthy leader produces positive results both inside and outside the organization.

This person is extremely accomplished and is highly respected by his/her colleagues, both internal and external.  He/she has a strong work ethic, great communication skills and lights up a room when entering.  A noteworthy leader is unforgettable and is a person who belongs on any organization’s wall of fame.

Taking the PERSON model, what six characteristics do you think a leader should possess? Do you know anyone who fits the PERSON model? What do you feel your greatest strength is as a leader? I would love to hear your thoughts!


Never miss an issue of Linked 2 Leadership, subscribe today here.
Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

Marie Maher
Marie Maher is Director of Operations Analysis at The College Board
She manages projects and new operational initiatives for testing programs
Email | LinkedIn | Twitter | Facebook | Web | Skype: Marm69

Image Source: wholeperson.com


3 responses to “Leadership and the PERSON Model

  1. I think the “Person Model” is a fantastic and really smart way of looking at what it takes to be an effective leader. Thank you! I think I would make the “P” stand for Positive Reinforcement! I have found, as a very new business owner, that positive reinforcement in the work place boosts morale and keeps my employees happy as well myself! This post really reminded me of a book I just read by author Bill Sims Jr., “Green Beans and Ice Cream” (http://greenbeanleadership.com/). The author clearly explains the best and the worst ways to motivate people, how to use positive reinforcement correctly *in all facets of life*

    The book shows there are three different kinds of positive reinforcement. There is tangible reinforcement in the form of money. There is social reinforcement in the form of verbal praise. There is also self positive reinforcement; this is motivation to do a good job for the pure love of the job. Green Beans & Ice Cream is the kind of book that motivates me to strive for excellence in my career 🙂 I hope you give it a read 🙂


Please 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