9 December 2012

An Essay on Leadership Qualities

Every organization needs leaders at every level. A leader with have a vision must share it and act upon it. Jack Welch, former chairman and CEO of General Electric Co., said, "Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision and relentlessly drive it to completion."
A leader must be able to communicate his or her vision in terms that cause followers to buy into it. He or she must communicate clearly and passionately.
A good leader must have the discipline to work toward his or her vision single-mindedly, as well as to direct his or her actions and those of the team toward the goal. Action is the mark of a leader. A leader does not suffer "analysis paralysis" but is always doing something in pursuit of the vision, inspiring others to do the same.
·       Leadership has been described as “a process of social influence in which one person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task".
·       Leadership is "organizing a group of people to achieve a common goal". Somebody whom people follow: somebody who guides or directs others.
·       Leadership can be defined as one's ability to get others to willingly follow.
Characteristics or qualities of Successful Leadership:
According to DR. DAVID G. JAVITCH, Chad Brooks, Vineet Nayar, Barbara White, the following are the qualities of a successful leader.
1.     Mission: Leaders must know about their mission. They know why the organization exists. Mission must not be esoteric or abstract, but descriptive, clear and understandable. Every employee should be able to identify with the mission and strive to achieve it.
2.     Vision:  A vision needs to be concrete, understandable to fulfill it.
3.     Goal:  Like a vision, goals need to be operational; specific and measurable.
4.     Competency: Leader must be an expert in his field or an expert in leadership. It will be more difficult you to be respected, admired, or followed, unless you possess with specialized experience.
5.     A strong team: A leader should always be supported by a strong team. If he lacks certain abilities he should trust his colleagues to complement those deficiencies.
6.     Communication skills: The leader must possess effective communication skills.  He must regularly be in touch with key individuals, by email, v-mail, meetings, or other forms of correspondence. These are the few of the many effective approaches leaders can use to develop positive contacts with employees.
7.     Interpersonal skills: Successful leaders develop interpersonal skills. These skills help leaders seem approachable, likeable, and comfortable in their position. Those who lack these skills must take a course to build them. Interaction with employees with a positive attitude help to develop morale..
8.     Inspiration: Leader must always give direction, guidance, and motivation. The leader always ready to offer a suggestion or encouragement to his employees to perform their jobs in an optimal manner.
9.     Ambition: Leader needs to be constantly striving for improvement and success.
10.  Integrity :If Leader is a person of integrity he can be trusted. A leader must have the trust of followers and therefore must display integrity. Honest dealings, predictable reactions, well-controlled emotions, and an absence of tantrums and harsh outbursts are all signs of integrity..
11.  Dedication Leader completes his assignment with full dedication. He inspires dedication among his team to get opportunities to achieve something great.
12.  Magnanimity  It means giving credit where it is due. A magnanimous leader ensures that credit for successes is spread as widely as possible. A good leader takes personal responsibility for failures.. To spread the fame and take the blame is a hallmark of effective leadership.
13.  Leaders with humility: Leader recognizes that they are no better or worse than other members of the team. A humble leader is not self-effacing but rather tries to elevate everyone. Leaders with humility also understand that their status does not make them a god. Mahatma Gandhi is a role model for Indian leaders, and he pursued a "follower-centric" leadership role.
14.  Openness means being able to listen to new ideas, Good leaders are accept new ways of doing things that someone else thought of. Openness builds mutual respect and trust between leaders and followers, and it also keeps the team well supplied with new ideas that can further its vision.
15.  Creativity is the ability to think differently. Creativity gives leaders the ability to see things that others have not seen and thus lead followers in new directions.
16.  Fairness means dealing with others consistently and justly. A leader must check all the facts and hear everyone out before passing judgment. He or she must avoid leaping to conclusions based on incomplete evidence. When people feel they that are being treated fairly, they reward a leader with loyalty and dedication.
17.  Assertiveness is the ability to clearly state what one expects so that there will be no misunderstandings. A leader must be assertive to get the desired results. Along with assertiveness comes the responsibility to clearly understand what followers expect from their leader.
18.  A sense of humor: Sense of humor is vital to relieve tension and boredom, as well as to defuse hostility. Effective leaders know how to use humor to energize followers
19.  Intrinsic traits such as intelligence, good looks, height and so on are not necessary to become a leader. Anyone can cultivate the proper leadership traits.
20.  Exemplary Character: A good leader has an exemplary character. It is most important that a leader is trustworthy to lead others. A leader needs to be trusted and be known to live their life with honestly and integrity. 
21.  Enthusiastic: A good leader is enthusiastic about his role as leader. Leaders need to be able to be a source of inspiration, and be a motivator towards the required action or cause.
22.  Confidence: A good leader must be confident. In order to lead and set direction a leader needs to appear confident as a person and in the leadership role.
23.  Proper function: A leader also needs to function in an orderly and purposeful manner in situations of uncertainty
24.  Calm and Composed: Good leaders are tolerant of ambiguity and remain calm, composed and steadfast to the main purpose. 
25.  Analytical Thinking: A good leader as well as keeping the main goal in focus is able to think analytically..
26.  Achieving excellence: A good leader is committed to achieve excellence in all areas.
27.  Trust: Team members trust makes people feel empowered, gives them the courage to innovate, take risks, and to push themselves beyond their comfort zones to find success.
28.  Empathy: Showing empathy towards your colleagues brings good results. Emotional intelligence is widely recognized as a leadership quality.
29.  Mentorship: No matter how talented we may be, we crave the guiding hand, the mentor who will teach us the rules of the game. When people are perplexed about what the future holds for their organizations and themselves, mentorship is critical.
30.  Other traits considered important in being a successful leader are accountability, humility, imagination, passion and confidence.
Promoting or Developing Leadership Skills or Leadership Qualities in an Individual.
The leadership qualities that are required to make a good leader can vary in different companies, teams and situations. They are context-dependent.
Leadership Styles
A leader must have infinite flexibility. That means you are able to adapt your leadership style according to the situation and/or the state of the team
This need to change one's leadership style according to the circumstances is one of the fundamental principles
However, modern leadership theory has begun to realize that the perfect, flexible leader does not exist. Everyone has strengths and weakness, and there is a need to strike a balance using the individual's preferred styles and meeting the needs of the situation. The modern goal is to develop 'good enough' leadership
Leadership Perspectives:
Leadership development in an Organization involves
1.     Identifying the leadership characteristics and/or profile of people who will enhance organizational performance
2.     selecting/recruiting individuals whose character, skills and potential closely match that profile
3.     Developing the particular skills/abilities within those individuals so they can fulfill their leadership potential within the organization
Development of Leadership qualities in an Individual involves
1.     Discover your natural leadership style and qualities
2.     develop those qualities into tangible skills
3.     find a role or organization that matches your leadership talents, where what you have to offer will be valued
Quotations on Leadership qualities:
1.     According to the United States Marine Corps, Integral characteristics of a leader include having good judgment, initiative, courage and endurance.
2.     Retired General Colin Powell believes a good leader has the quality to make decisions that everyone can understand. "Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through argument, debate, and doubt to offer a solution everybody can understand," Powell once said.
3.     Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton said leaders have the ability to boost self-confidence in those around them.
4.     The United Public Service Employees Union (UPSEU) ranks the desire to learn and organizational ability as the most important traits of leader, and also says being unselfish when possible is a critical quality.
5.     “A good leader takes a little more than his share of the blame, a little less than his share of the credit," said humorist and author Arnold Glasow.
6.     The National School Board Association places a high priority on its leaders having a constructive spirit of discontent, mental toughness and the respect of their peers.
7.     Entrepreneur Maxey Jarmen "It's important that People respect you. If they respect you, they'll follow you, even if perhaps they don't like you."
8.     The Leadership Toolbox reports good leaders are empathetic, consistent, honest and good communicators.
9.     Apple founder Steve Jobs believed innovation was the key to being an effective leader. "Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower," Jobs said
10.  Effective leadership is putting first things first. Effective management is discipline, carrying it out.-Stephen Covey 
11.  I suppose leadership at one time meant muscles; but today it means getting along with people. -Mahatma Gandhi 
12.  A good objective of leadership is to help those who are doing poorly to do well and to help those who are doing well to do even better. -Jim Rohn 
13.  Example is leadership. -Albert Schweitzer 
14.  Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other. -John F. Kennedy 
15.  Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results not attributes. -Peter Drucker 
·       10 Characteristics of Superior Leader - DR. DAVID G. JAVITCH
·       What are the Characteristics of a Leader? -Chad Brooks, Business News Daily Contributor.
·       Three Leadership Traits that Never Go Out of Style -Vineet Nayar. 
·       Seven Qualities of a Good Leader -Barbara White.
·       Leadership- Wikipedia. 


  1. Great share. Perfectly depicts what leadership and leader should be. One of the quality that I would like to add here is Leaders should never focus on short term goals or profits. They must always focus on long term vision, wherein company wants to reach in 5 years. Varun Manian's quote on above perfectly sums up this theory "Entrepreneurship is not only about making Profits"

  2. “Management is about persuading people to do things they do not want to do, while leadership is about inspiring people to do things they never thought they could.”
    — Steve Jobs

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