Here are the common traits desired for leaders in organizations around the world, regardless of business size:

1) Ability to deliver the goods and meet goals - performance

2) Character

3) Adaptability to different situations

4) Flexibility

5) Persistence.

In the United States, respondents indicated that character, performance, flexibility, ethical standards and adaptability were the most important attributes for a leader. Nor surprising, given the Enron debacle and publicized problems with CEOs at Tyco, WorldCom and other corporations.

How do firms find leaders? Overall, 67 percent of respondents stated that future leaders were identified by management recommendation, 65 percent use a performance management process, and 49 percent said senior management selects potential candidates.

How are potential leaders developed? Fifty-seven percent of respondents stated that their organizations utilized external leadership development training programs provided by universities, executive education or professional organizations.

About half (51 percent) employ an internal leadership development training program in-house. Also, 48 percent of respondents said their organizations use temporary stretch assignments to help individuals develop new skills and competencies, while 47 percent said they use international assignments to gain diverse experiences.

Source: Society for Human Resource Management survey of 426 human resource professionals