No one is born a great leader. Many have been born with the attributes of a good leader but it doesn’t mean they’ll naturally develop it and be great leaders. Challenges and difficulties forge and develop a person to be a leader.
Great leaders in history like Martin Luther King Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, and Gabriela Silang are recognised for their unwavering passion to achieve their goal for the greater good of many.
Luther advocated his life to promote nonviolence and equality to all colours of his nation — black and white. Gandhi has the same advocacy as Luther, human rights and nonviolent resistance. The great Gabriela Silang joined many revolutionaries and fought for the country’s freedom.
Although these leaders differ in terms of personalities and backgrounds, they share one thing in common — an unyielding determination to achieve their clear purpose.
Defining Qualities, Skills, and Attributes of a Good Leader
To lead people well, leaders must have a clear understanding of the bigger picture. This will help them create strategic plans to achieve that vision.
Having perceived the future, leaders can help their followers or team understand the things that need to be done to achieve their common goal. In a company, this brings importance to the roles of the employees in helping the business turn its vision into reality.
Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality. – Warren G Bennis
Commitment to achieving things is a quality all leaders have. It means getting their hands as dirty as the rest of the group. For example, helping finish all the grunt work as the deadline is near or committing a few more hours in the office for a few days a week to finish all testings.
Leaders showing others how dedicated they are to achieve the common goal sets a great example to their team members or followers. They establish the tone of work and involvement their members should have.
Another way leaders show their commitment towards work is through improving business processes and worker’s efficiency. Good leaders take time to nourish and build the skills of their team and further develop business processes.
Drive and Passion
Leaders have passion and drive that helps them move forward. This is a personal quality that motivates and inspires them from within.
A Leader with no drive and passion tend to be ineffective when it comes to inspiring their teams. Passionate and driven leaders have this inexplicable contagious aura that motivates other people around them.
A great leader’s courage to fulfill his vision comes from passion, not position. – John C. Maxwell
Open-mindedness and Adaptability
An open mind helps leaders adapt their plans and strategies to better fit the continuously changing market and technology. Without flexibility and an open mind, businesses and people fail to grow and get left behind.
Open-mindedness and adaptability encourage growth and progress within oneself, the people surrounding them, and the businesses or campaigns they’re leading. It leads to explorations of far better opportunities that benefit many.
Great leaders are humble people. They lack the “I’m better than you” and “know it all” attitude. They don’t have an ego. They accept feedback and criticism to improve their weaknesses and shortcomings to turn them into undeniable strengths.
Leaders with a humble attribute are self-assured and unthreatened by the talents around them. Instead of feeling belittled, they use these teachable moments to learn about the things they still aren’t aware or an expert.
Pride is concerned with who is right; humility is concerned with what is right. – Ezra Taft Benson
One of the most defining attributes of a good leader is having courage. Being courageous means knowing when to risk things in life to achieve greater achievements. Leaders can risk their level of comfort and venture into the unknown to learn new things; they can risk for the results to be a mistake to learn, and even risk rejection to gain the things they desire.
Life is uncertain. Leaders with courageous hearts take a leap of faith to achieve their goals. Without courage, people would be living in the shadow of regrets.
I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph of it. The brave is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear. – Nelson Mandela
Integrity and Honesty
Integrity is the quality good leaders have to protect their core values. It is the practice of honesty and transparency in all aspects of their lives.
Leaders with integrity do the right thing despite the disadvantages it may bring them or their projects. People follow leaders with integrity because they can trust everything they say.
To influence, encourage, and motivate people, leaders must have great communication skills. Good leaders must be able to effectively communicate their thoughts, visions, plans, and actions to achieve their goals.
Team leaders with superb communication skills can provide great feedback that helps their members improve their skills. They are also able to establish great working relationships and set clear expectations from their team. Being able to communicate everything clearly will help everyone understand the vision and plan to achieve a common goal.
The art of communication is the language of leadership. – James C. Humes
Dictators and micromanagers fail to empathise with their people. One attribute of a good leader is being able to empathise with his people.
Leaders with a great sense of empathy can relate to their community better than others. They can put themselves in another’s shoes, relate, then think of strategic solutions to help their people. This creates a sense of understanding between the leader and his people – enabling him to figure out the roots of an individual’s poor performance or troubles.
Having empathy enables leaders to build a closer connection with their team or community. Thus strengthening the trust and relationship of the leader with his group.
Leadership is about empathy. It is about having the ability to relate to and connect with people to inspire and empower their lives. – Oprah Winfrey
Great leaders are accountable for their actions and the actions of their team members. They blame no one when adversities arise and praise everyone for a job well done.
However, leaders need to create a sense of responsibility to their members. They must hold their members accountable for their work but don’t blame them if they make mistakes or if a mishap occurs. Great leaders influence the outcome yet always take responsibility for the results, good or bad.
Accountability breeds response-ability. – Steven Covey