In our last post, we took a look at the subject of leadership, what it means and its benefits. In today’s post, we will continue our review of the subject of leadership and consider some of the essential qualities of leadership.
It goes without saying that Leadership is important. As we saw in our last post, everything rises and falls on leadership. That being said, some people seem to have the natural capacity to lead. Some even take it a step further and call such people born leaders. While we disagree with the concept of born leaders, we believe that good leaders have certain common characteristics and traits that make them effective. Thankfully, these essential qualities can be taught, learnt and developed. In other words, the capacity to lead effectively is not inborn, it is learnt.
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Five Essential Qualities of Leadership
About 500 or 600 years ago, in many places around the world, there was this belief that depending on who your parents were, you were either noble or not. This, among other things, led to class divisions in societies. Some people were born into nobility and others were common folk.
Children of noble folk were educated, taught proper etiquette, introduced to high society at a certain age and got married other noble folk. On the other hand, common folk did not have these privileges. While there was a marked difference between noble and common folk, it was discovered that the primary difference was in the way they were raised. Simply put, common folk were ignorant of what noble folk knew.
Our point here is this: anyone can be a great leader if they can imbibe the essential qualities of leadership. These qualities are absolutely essential regardless of race or field of endeavor. We take a look at five of those qualities below:
- Integrity: Without integrity, no real success is possible. Leaders with integrity naturally produce followers with integrity. Honest leaders succeed when they stick to their words, live by their core values, lead by example and follow through. Integrity is the cornerstone of all other leadership qualities. For more on the subject of Integrity, you can check out our post on the Importance of Integrity in the Workplace.
- Vision: It was Jack Welch, the Chairman and CEO of General Electric that said, “Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion”. Jack Welch was such great leader that during his 20 years as CEO of GE, the company’s value rose 4000%. That’s amazing! Great leaders are able to help their team members understand the big picture so they can connect their individual success back to the success of the business. The vision should be big enough to inspire and broad enough to be inclusive. Doing so allows everyone in the organization to understand the importance of the role they play in bringing that vision to reality.
- Influence: The ability to lead through influence, rather than authority, is the most important quality of a great leader. Influence requires strong coaching, emotional intelligence, effective communication, negotiation and consensus building skills. Leaders who employ these skills to influence teams and stakeholders produce greater employee and customer engagement, increased collaboration and innovation, and ultimately drive greater excellence for the organizations they lead compared to those who attempt to use their position and authority to demand it. You can also check out our post on How to build great relationships in the Workplace.
- Accountability: Leaders who are accountable for their actions can quickly implement their vision, and learn from their failures. Beyond making or saving a company hundreds of thousands, these leaders also typically create a sense of responsibility in their followers that will keep them continually striving for their personal and business’ goals.
- Decision Making: Apart from having a vision, good leaders should have the maturity, experience and skill to make the right decision. Decisions taken by leaders have a profound impact on their employees and followers. Good leader think long and hard before taking decisions and make sure they are strategically beneficial for the company in both the short and long run.
Like it was eventually discovered in places like Great Britain and France, great leaders are not born but made. How have you developed your own leadership skills? What other essential qualities do you believe leaders should have? Feel free to leave us your comments. We would love to hear from you as always.
Today’s Funny Quote
Today, we leave you with a funny quote by Phillis Diller, the American Actress and Comedian
Marry a man your own age; as your beauty fades, so will his eyesight.
Have a great week ahead and we will see you again on Friday.
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