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What Qualities Represent an Individual Being a Good Leader?

Updated on September 13, 2019

What is a competent leader and what traits does an individual need to possess to be recognized as a competent leader? This question would most likely receive a variety of responses from various groups or individuals. One's perception of what is considered to be the qualities or traits of a competent leader is as different as people are are as individuals. This is normal, but there are some common traits that a competent leader should possess and in some cases we as individuals should possess. The difference is the application or position an individual holds which increases their importance. These traits will be identified and discussed as to why they make an individual competent to be a leader.

  • Able to make good decisions
  • Ability to interact with others
  • Capable of setting aside personal friendship and make the right decisions
  • Ability to stand up for their principles

The list above is merely a sample of some of the common traits that make a competent leader. Another part of the discussion which needs to be identified is the concept of being a leader. Leaders are individuals that create an atmosphere where they are an example to others and can make decisions in the best interests of the individual and the organization for which they work.

Making good decisions

The first trait noted above is the ability to make good decisions. This is important not only for us as individuals, but also for those in positions of leaders in an organization. As individuals, people make decisions about their work and things that affect their families day. Those decisions can and do impact one's daily life and sometimes how others react. Those in positions of being a leader such as a manager, team leader, director or CEO (chief executive officer) must consider their decisions and their impact. The decisions they make can and do impact many individuals and their families. Making good decisions from a leadership position can impact the success of an organization and its future.

Ability to interact

The next trait is the ability to interact with others. This again is an important trait not only for us as individuals but those who are leaders. Interacting with other individuals must occur as part of a normal business environment. Our individual tasks and responsibilities create situations where we must interact with others and work as a team to accomplish our responsibilities and sometimes to complete a project. The interaction of leaders is also important even more so as a leader cannot just be a leader in name only interaction with other individuals gives the perception that they are willing to discuss and take suggestions on issues. This is important as no one individual has all the answers to every issue though some may come close based on their experience. Leaders who are open to suggestions from others including those who they supervise add to the successful creation of an environment where individuals work together.

Setting aside friendships

Many times decisions must be made between individuals and leaders where a friendship is involved which makes it hard sometimes to make the right decision. Leaders who are in the position of managing others must make the right decisions whether there is a friendship involved for an individual with which they are friends. Another aspect of this is that having a friendship with others who may be affected by decisions should not create situations where decisions are being made to create the perception they can make a decision in spite of a friendship. Friends are great to have and we as individuals need them we as individuals should not be penalized simply because we are friends. Making decisions to give the appearance that they can be made despite the friendship is not the right thing to do. Decisions need to be made for the right reasons not create a perception.

Staying true to principles

The last point to make as far as traits of a competent leader is that of having principles. Every individual lives by certain principles and we may not always agree with them but everyone has principles in how they live and work; those in leadership positions should be no different. Our principles as an individual sets us apart from others but the principles of those who are leaders can impact the perception of what is important as a company and how they operate. Leaders, their principles and their decisions must be connected in their actions. Standing up for one's principles is important. Those in leadership positions should stand up for their principles as well which involves doing the right thing for the right reason regardless of what others tell you to do. This is especially true if what someone is telling you to do something that you know is wrong and/or illegal.

It is true there are some instances where we may feel there are better ways to do something than what we are directed, but as leaders there is a responsibility to give direction. Taking direction from leaders in certain instances is not violating principles when there is more than one option for specific circumstances. If an objective is better accomplished another way, one should voice an opinion and leaders should be open to other viewpoints. The final decision for action in specific situations is the responsibility of those in position of authority which may involve their individual principles.

One last point to make regarding traits of a competent leader is that, as individuals, a person can be a leader based on experience, talent and other characteristics. The key point of this article was to identify what traits a competent leader should possess. Knowledge about certain topics, along with experience, can make a leader. Leaders must be able to make good decisions based on accurate information and interact with others by letting them know why the decision was made. Friendship with others and being a leader should not conflict with making decisions. When decisions are made which impact friends, it must be explained so they understand the principle behind the decision. Standing up for principles can also set those apart as a competent leader in how we live and work in relation to our responsibilities to the company we work for and our family. Treating others how you would like to be treated. This principle or trait along with the others discussed goes a long way to being a competent leader.


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