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How to Build Leadership Qualities

Updated on May 4, 2020
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As a professional, I have seen many leaders. Some have really made their mark with their greatness while others not so effective simply fade

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Who is a Leader and What are Leadership Qualities

It is in stressful uncertain times like these that we recognize the need for good leadership to navigate us from the current adversities to a better, more secure, and peace-oriented future. A leader with a new vision, courage, and integrity that the people can trust is the need of the day.

Leadership is the ability of a person to inspire people to be exceptional. A leader motivates the whole team to work towards a common goal by bringing out the best in them. There are certain qualities that have to be developed to shine as a leader. The primary quality is clarity of thought along with the knowledge and the capacity to implement decisions into action. He should have the will and confidence to lead. Reading about the great leaders like, Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma Gandhi, and Nelson Mandela to name a few who contributed to great changes in the world inspire us even today. So here is a list of the qualities that make a great leader.

Passion is Important

A Leader needs to remain committed to and enthusiastic about his varied roles. The challenges in the workplace should keep him motivated and alert. Work should be an integral part of his existence and a life without it seem incomplete. The willingness to push oneself is the key to success as a leader. A work culture needs to be established by the person leading the team and the members should have a shared vision and passion. Leaders see challenges as opportunities to achieve, excel, and grow. A leader’s commitment and passion can infuse enthusiasm in the team and motivate the team members to work together to achieve the common goal. He is a visionary who is able to think out of the box and find solutions to difficult problems. He is creative and an innovator and brings out the best in people.

Environment of Trust

In order to build a high-performance team an environment of trust and a sense of ownership is absolutely necessary. Appreciation of the contribution of every single member of the team helps bring out the best in the members. Great things happen by bringing people together, by playing to everyone’s strengths and creating an atmosphere of transparency and goodwill. A leader has to look for the strengths and weaknesses of each of the team members and delegate work accordingly. A great leader identifies talent and trusts his people to excel. When a leader operates transparently, there will be greater trust and lesser dissent.

Ambition is a Vitrue

Drive and Vision are more effective than expertise. Being ambitious keeps you on your toes and brings out the best in you. It is what gets you your first big assignment and it is that which keeps you striving. When this drive and vision is shared by all the members of the team, success can be achieved faster. The collaborative efforts of team members help in overcoming the obstacles in the path. Goals should be achievable and discipline should be ensured in the team for greater success. A common vision motivates the team members and they show commitment and responsibility automatically in their work.

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Communication is Crucial

A leader needs to communicate the goals clearly to the team, what you want to achieve, and what you expect from them. Give them sufficient space and initiative to achieve the set goal. The ability to get the best out of people makes a good leader. Effective communication, being a team player, a willingness to learn and a commitment to the goal, passion for the work, ability to share the goals and vision, and bonding with the team are, the qualities that define a good leader. He should be a good listener and be open to implement new ideas and strategies. He thinks ahead of his times. He is a person who works to excel at his job. A leader should always strive for innovation, diversification, and excellence.

Humility is the Mark of a Great Leader

We see humility to be a hallmark of many successful people. Accomplishment should humble a person and not lead to arrogance. Humility keeps a person grounded. A leader should not shy away from learning from coworkers, juniors, and associates. Some of the best ideas come from the younger staff. Leadership amounts to having the humility to learn from colleagues. one should never stop learning, acknowledging, and giving credit to others for their work. Irrespective of one's role as a leader one should always be humble and grateful. Leadership is investing in the people one leads, supporting them, encouraging them to grow, and having the humility to learn from them. A good leader always reaches out to his team members rather than wait for them to approach him.

Empathy is the Key to Successful Leadership

A leader or company that focuses on the care of its employees, sees real success. Every individual must be given an opportunity to learn and grow Compassion and humanity are important values that a leader should adopt and nurture in his team. Patience is a virtue that every leader must possess. Apart from achieving success not just for their organizations but leaders should strive to make a difference to society at large. They should have a commitment to humanity. A leader should be a kind and considerate human being who makes a team feel valued.

Integrity is the Principal Attribute of a Leader

There are no shortcuts, quick fixes, or stopgap on the road to success. Integrity and hard work are of paramount importance to achieve success. Honesty, fair play, and ethics are the foundation of a good company. A leader has to earn the respect of his subordinates with his integrity and exemplary work. A strong work ethic with planning is necessary. A leader should focus on the success of his organization, his team, and his clients; his success comes automatically with it. A true leader sets an example to his team members through his words and deeds.

No Substitutes for Hard work and Conviction

When the person who leads works hard the other team members tend to follow. Hard work is necessary to achieve greatness and success in any endeavor. There are no shortcuts to that. Pressures not only boost motivation in such people but also enhance their sense of achievement and joy in reaching the goal. Clarity of purpose and planning in advance is crucial for the smooth functioning of the business. A disciplined approach and absolute dedication to work is the only way to achieve success. It has been observed that all successful leaders have two things in common and they are sheer hard work and courage to follow their conviction.

“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly”

Robert Kennedy

Challenges As Stepping Stones

One learns from a few errors in judgment. Believing in oneself is the key. You can do extraordinary things if you believe that you can. Constant innovation is required in the face of changing times to stay updated and relevant. Feedback from the team members as well as others involved helps in improving the business. Business strategies should be reinvented on a regular basis for growth. A leader should anticipate change and equip himself to deal with it. He gives his team responsibility, empowers them, and at the same time makes them accountable. People management and resource allocation are important tasks for a leader. A true leader is not stressed by challenges but considers them as stepping stones to success. He is not daunted by adversities but is always searching for better solutions. He does not fear failure but learns from the mistakes, always looking for means of improvement and progress.

Dare to dream and be a Believer

Leaders should dare to dream and strive to live those dreams. In today’s fast-changing, unpredictable world, leaders need to be creative, flexible, and adaptable and have the courage to take risks. And he has to ingrain these qualities in the people who work with him. Leadership brings huge responsibilities with it, along with the privileges. Flexibility and willingness to innovate and welcome transformation is what sets a leader apart. A leader always has the courage to think differently and challenge the norm. He dreams big and works towards achieving it. He is confident and enthusiastic which in turn inspires his team who strive towards the goal with greater drive and zeal. His belief encourages his team, and believing in the work they do makes the team members work with more dedication and fervor.

Nurture Talent and Build Strong Teams

A leader should constantly be looking to develop talent, build strong teams, hire people, bring in new ideas. Team members must be encouraged to come out with new, innovative ideas for the growth of the company, to face challenges with confidence and courage. The pursuit of excellence is critical. Ideas from all levels of the organization need to be encouraged for progress. The employees’ suggestions can be valuable in improving the products or creating new business. It is important for a good leader to convey to his staff the reasons for a certain task. This improves output and efficiency in an organization.

Encouraging juniors to express themselves freely and mentoring them, building strong teams, and guiding them to take more responsibilities at the same time treating employees as family members. A leader must trust the people he or she leads, supporting them through rough times, connecting with them on a personal level, encouraging them to learn and grow and at the same time learn from them. Learning should be a continuous process. You need to keep your mind open and learn from every interaction. Never believe that you have reached the top because there is only one path from the top and that is downhill which nobody wants.

“Leaders become great not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others”

John Maxwell

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Connecting with Like-Minded people

Connecting with likeminded people can be a tremendous source of learning and increasing your knowledge. They can share their knowledge and experience with you. Networking with the right people can help you to achieve your professional goals by developing the right skills. It is important for a leader to hire his team on the basis of his principles and to imbibe in them the right values so you can trust them to do the right thing. Keep your personal and professional life apart. Do not mix the two. Your team members may also be your best friends personally. But in the workplace they are only your colleagues. Clear boundaries need to be set and work should be evenly distributed for maximum efficiency. A good leader needs to develop his emotional intelligence as well as empathy as studies have shown that emotional intelligence plays a vital role for any business to be successful.

Time Management is Important

Managing time wisely is the trick of the trade to succeed for any professional. Prioritizing the work and delegating help a lot. The flexibility of work hours, convenient office location has a huge impact on productivity. By staying organized a lot of time can be saved. Keeping everything in its place also can save a lot of time especially when you have to rush to a last-minute meeting, conference, or when you are late for an event. A to-do-list helps in getting the work done systematically. The important ones can be listed first in the list and attended to on priority. Jotting down important points during the course of the work on a day to day basis is also very helpful in improvising. When time is scarce and work to be done is enormous, one often gets daunted but a wise person learns to prioritize and march ahead. One needs to find time for oneself as well in order to succeed and remain happy. Meditation, Yoga, dance, photography, music are ways to find an escape from the rigors of corporate stress and find peace and happiness.

Compassion and Giving Back to Society

A great leader is one, who is compassionate and never hesitates to give back to society a part of the benefits of his success in the form of charity, contributions towards social causes. A business cannot survive purely on profit. Long term vision should not be sacrificed for short term success. A great leader never forgets his social commitments and contributes to society in whichever way he can. Be it volunteering with NGOs, funding charitable and humanitarian organizations, or contributing to scientific research and development. The sense of fulfillment that one gets by giving is far greater than any award or promotion.

Final Thoughts

Qualities that make a great leader are integrity, vision, discipline, relentless commitment, and passion. A good leader keeps the communication channel open at all times, is empathetic, thinks out of the box, constantly inspires his team by his exemplary hard work. Leadership is not an inherent trait. One is not born with it but has to be developed. It is not easy to be a leader. But a person who genuinely cares about the success of his company, strives to contribute by his hard work and inspires his entire team and brings out the best in them is an ideal leader and can take his company to great heights.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 VIDYA D SAGAR

Comments

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    • profile imageAUTHOR

      VIDYA D SAGAR 

      2 weeks ago

      Thanks Umesh Chandra for visiting and for your kind comments. I really appreciate it. Have a great day.

    • bhattuc profile image

      Umesh Chandra Bhatt 

      2 weeks ago from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India

      Well presented. Nice.

    • profile imageAUTHOR

      VIDYA D SAGAR 

      3 weeks ago

      Thanks Lora for visiting and for the kind comments. The situation in the US is really distressing. What could have been avoided with timely and proper precautions from the start was not done leading to lakhs of lives being lost. Indulging in blame game and avoiding responsibility does no good at times such as these when the whole world is battling the pandemic. A good leadership is the need of the hour today.

    • Lora Hollings profile image

      Lora Hollings 

      3 weeks ago

      Your article is an excellent summation of the essential qualities of a real leader as opposed to someone who used politicking, and unscrupulous methods to get to the top and how a company may fail or a country start to regress as a result of a person who is lacking in these important qualities! In my opinion, I think that the US is not going forward right now and in many areas going backward due to such a bad leader or president who shows no vision for the future and is lacking in integrity, honesty, and a value for science! Thanks for your insightful article.

    • profile imageAUTHOR

      VIDYA D SAGAR 

      3 weeks ago

      Thanks Pamela for visiting and for your kind comments. Anxious times like these make us realize the importance of a good leader to manovre us from fear and uncertainty to a secure and stable world. And the good thing is these leadership qualities can be developed. Take care, stay safe and have a good day.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      3 weeks ago from Sunny Florida

      This is such a well-written article and I think you covered all the qualities of a good leader.

    • profile imageAUTHOR

      VIDYA D SAGAR 

      3 weeks ago

      Thanks Kyler for the visit and for your kind comments. I am grateful for your suggestion about compartmentalization. I will see what I can do about it. Have a nice day and take care.

    • Kyler J Falk profile image

      Kyler J Falk 

      3 weeks ago from Corona, CA

      An absolutely splendid piece here, Vidya, with a lot of crucial advice.

      The one thing I would have liked to see is touching on, "compartmentalization," as it concerns many of the great leaders we see now, and have seen in the past.

      Other than that I think you hit the nail on the head!

    • profile imageAUTHOR

      VIDYA D SAGAR 

      3 weeks ago

      Hi Liz, thanks for visiting and thanks for the kind comments. These insecure and stressful times bring out the need for a good leader more than ever. A good leader by managing adversities effectively brings hope and solace to his people and is a pillar of strength. Have a good day Liz and stay safe.

    • profile imageAUTHOR

      VIDYA D SAGAR 

      3 weeks ago

      Hi Prateek, thanks for the kind comments. Working in the finance industry for quite some time, I have seen and worked under some good leaders and not so good leaders and realized what qualities are required to be an outstanding leader, so thought of compiling the same and hope to inspire the younger generation to imbibe the good qualities and lead the world to a better tomorrow. Thanks for the compliments, have a good day Prateek, and stay safe.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      3 weeks ago from UK

      You are correct in what you say about times like this. The need for good and sound leadership is great. This article gives an interesting analysis of leadership qualities.

    • PrateekJain24 profile image

      Prateek Jain 

      3 weeks ago from Madhya Pradesh, India

      Highly motivate and informational article mam. You have shared almost all the important things that are required to become a successful leader. This article will surely help many people to develop and enhance their interpersonal skills. Overall, your command over the subject is very strong. You are a real example of a generous and kind leader.

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