Qualities of a Good Leader | What Makes A Good Leader
Leadership begins with you. Before you can lead other people, you must be able to lead yourself. You believe that you can instill positive impact on others. You have the confidence that your words can inspire your followers, and your actions move people. You believe that whatever you do and think, matters. You believe that you can make a difference. There should not be a question of “Will I make a difference?”, but rather it’s “What difference will I make?”
You can demonstrate leadership at any age. Age does not matter. Too often, the definition of leadership is misunderstood. Leader is often perceived to be found mostly at the top, reserved for the very few charismatic men and women. That is far from the truth. Leadership is in fact broadly distributed in the population. Leader about anyone who has the passion and purpose to change the way things are.
What makes a good leader ? A good leader does not need to be measured with Google search results. He cannot be measured in bling, entourages, awards or the number of autobiographies produced. Fame and fortune cannot be used to determine his leadership success. He is measured by the actions people taken, and how people look to him for guidance along the important journeys of their lives.
You don’t have to look far for a good leader. Leader role models can be found close to where you live and work. He can be your current boss, your community leader, your friend, or your brother.
What is Leadership ?
Kouzes and Posner have put forward the ten truths about leadership, which matter most in becoming a leader:
Leader with a vision
A competent leader possesses the capacity to imagine and articulate future possibilities. You gain insight from reviewing your past and develop outsight by observing your surroundings. Your followers need to feel your sense of direction and know where you are going with your actions and words. You have to be forward-looking.
Leader makes a difference
Before you can lead, you have to believe that you can make a difference. You believe that you can create positive impact on others. Leadership begins when you believe you can make a difference. By believing in yourself and in your ability to lead, you open yourself to hearing the call. You open yourself to making a difference in the world. As the author, Marianne Williamson has mentioned :
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.' We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we're liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
Leader portrays credibility
Yes, you need to believe in yourself, but you need to have others believing in you too. What can one do to achieve that ? The answer is credibility. If people don’t believe in you, they won’t willingly follow you. The credibility of a leader determines whether people will willingly give more of their time, talent, energy, experience, intelligence, creativity, and support. Only credible leader earns commitment, and only commitment builds and regenerates great organizations and communities. You can only lead well if you have a relationship with your people and that you are someone they can believe in.
Leader needs team work
You cannot do it alone. No leader can achieve something extra-ordinary without the talent and support of his team members. Leadership is a team sport. It is a shared responsibility. You need your team, and they need you. You need to engage them in the event. Leaders are obsessed with what is best for others, not what is best for them.
If you cannot do it alone and have to rely on others, what can you do ? Trust. Trust holds the individuals together. The level of trust others have in you will determine the amount of influence you have. You have to earn your followers’ trust before they will be willing to trust you. That means you have to give “trust” before you can get “trust”.
Leader lead by example
You have to “do it” first as a leader. You cannot ask others to do something you are not willing to do yourself. You have to be willing to admit mistakes and be able to learn from them. You have to keep your promises and become role models for the values and actions you adopted.
Leader possesses values-driven commitment
People want to know what you value, what you stand for and believe in. People will not follow you, or even pay much attention to you, if you don’t have any strong beliefs. To discover who you are, you need to spend some time on the inner work of a leader, in reflection on finding your voice.
Also, it is not just your values that matter. What is true for you is true for others. Your followers must also find a fit with who they are and what they value. Leaders listen to not only their own needs, but also the aspirations of others, and find ways to forge alignment between their personal values and organizational demands. Leadership is about relationships, and relationships are built on mutual understanding.
People like to follow a leader who changes the status quo. Great achievement will not take place when you keep things the same. Change involves challenges, and challenge tests you. It helps you to discover more of yourself. It brings you face-to-face with your level of commitment and your values. It reveals your mindset about change.
You have to believe that you can learn to lead, and you can become a better leader tomorrow than you are today. Leaders don’t stop learning, and learning is the master skill of leadership. Learning, however, takes time and attention, practice and feedback, along with good coaching. Leader also needs to be willing to ask for support.
Leader leads with his heart
Leaders have the heart for his followers. He shows them that he cares. There is no integrity, honour, commitment, conviction, hope, faith, persistence, courage without the heart. Simply put, good leader excel in improving performance because they pay attention to the human heart. He makes them feel important and is gracious in showing his appreciation to them.
Good leaders love what they are doing and they stay in love with leading. They show they care by paying attention to people, sharing success stories and making people feel important and special. Exemplary leaders are positive, upbeat, generating the emotional energy that enables others to flourish.
Leadership is a demanding, noble discipline, which one should not enter into casually. It requires an elevated sense of mastery. It is a matter of technique, of skill, of practice. It is also a matter of desire and commitment.
Leaders have the chance to make the world a better place because of what they do. What could be more rewarding than that?
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