A leader is a person who inspires and influences the hoi polloi, driving them in unison towards one common goal. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.” A leader shoulders the onus of bringing out the best in others, thereby leading the society or an organization towards a better and brighter future. However, the task is not easy and not everybody can be an effective leader. A leader must possess some traits or characteristics that can drive and motivate people towards a common goal. Most of the traits are acquired through systematic learning. Making of a good leader needs time, complete devotion and practice. One cannot expect to turn into a great leader overnight. Different leaders have adopted different approaches towards leadership. As every human being is unique, so is every leader, who in his own league is quintessentially different from others. Yet there are some common virtues that almost every leader exhibits. These virtues may not be enough, but they are indeed essential. Some of the necessary virtues of a leader have been enlisted below, which if adopted will eventually lead you to be a good leader.
Qualities Of A Good Leader
A good communication skill is one of the most fundamental and essential traits of a good leader. A good leader is able to put across his ideas and thoughts clearly and concisely to the people concerned. A good leader does not equivocate matters, rather expresses his thoughts, ideas or demand lucidly to every individual. A leader known that a good communication thrives on speaking and listening. He/she listens to others ideas and suggestions as well. A good leader is capable of inspiring and motivating people through his words.
“The question is not what you look at, but what you see” (Henry David Thoreau). A good leader is always a visionary. A leader holds a clear vision of where he/she wants to lead their organization or team. They not only see “what is”, but also “what can be”. A great leader always strives to improve and attain bigger and better goals.
Confident And Courageous
Confidence is the key to the success of any leader. Even a great vision without confidence is effete. Hence, it is not just enough for a great leader to be a visionary. He/she should be confident enough to take bold decisions to achieve whatever he/she seeks, without the fear of being rebuked. A great leader is not afraid of failures and is forever game to undertake calculative risks. Confidence is contagious. A great confident leader can stir confidence in his entire team, thus leading to better efficiency and better outcome.
Good leaders can easily relate to other people. They can build strong rapport with others, which leads to their popularity. If a leader is approachable and others can relate to him/her, then all conflicts and issues can be easily resolved. A good leader is unprejudiced and astute and passes judgment, which is just and acceptable to all so that no farther conflicts arise. A good leader is always welcoming and empathetic towards his subordinates.
Competent And Flexible
A leader is always competent and faces challenges head-on. A great leader does not procrastinate problems, rather eliminates them the moment they occur. He/she is competent enough to face any threat and overcome it. A good leader evolves and molds himself according to the need of the hour. He/she is not too stubborn or stuck to one idea or policy. He/she constantly evaluates his actions, policies and strategies and looks to improve and adapt. A good leader is creative and looks to devise innovative ideas for the betterment of his organization. He/she thinks out of the box and steers his organization in new directions.
A good leader is organized and disciplined and inspires others to be the same. Sloth and reluctance are not the characteristics of a good leader. A good leader always keeps his eyes on the deadline set for a particular task and encourages others to run as per the schedule.
A great leader is always committed to his organization. He/she displays a great degree of sincerity and devotion towards his job. Rather his ‘commitment’ makes a great leader.
A leader is always open to new ideas. He/she always listens and acknowledges others’ ideas. It helps to build an amicable relation between a leader and his followers.
Assertiveness is one of the finest traits that all great leaders possess. It is not the same as aggressiveness. By the virtue of assertiveness, a leader can express to his/her subordinates what is expected and prevent any misunderstanding. Assertiveness is also the art to coax the best out of a person.
A great leader always possesses a balance and a composed state of mind. He/she never runs into tantrums or exhibits violent outbursts. He/she never loses the calmness of the mind even in the most desperate of situations and has a perfect control over his/her emotions. It makes a leader easily approachable to his subordinates.
Even though every great leader has his/her unique and distinctive style, it has been observed that all the great leaders possess these common traits. These are some of the most basic and essential virtues that one must possess to become a great leader. These attributes may seem common yet they are rare in individuals. Very few have all of these qualities and thus the above-mentioned qualities set one apart from the rest. If you dream of becoming a great leader, start cultivating these traits from now onwards. The process will be slow, but you have to maintain focus and dedication towards achieving what you desire. Remember, leadership is mostly acquired and not always inbred.