Among the qualities of a good leader, one of the essential qualities excerpted by sixth century BCE Chinese philosopher Laozi is,
“When the best leader’s work in done, the people say, we did it ourselves.”
Irrespective of how we define a leader, a leader is one who knows to inspire people, one who shows the path, one who leads the path and turns his ideas into a real-world success.
What are the Qualities of a Good Leader?
In this article, we take an in-depth look at some of the good characteristics of a leader that separate them from the bad one.
1. Vision & Wisdom
Having knowledge is about having information of facts and ideas or being aware of something; but wisdom is the ability to discern and judge which aspect of the knowledge is true, right, lasting, and applicable to the people he or she serves.
“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” – John F. Kennedy
Leaders have to take the risk, face challenges, accept failure, learn from the mistake and develop wisdom based on his or her experience. A good leader always have a vision based on his or her wisdom, they have the capability to transform vision into reality.
You can find one common interest in world’s most popular innovator, entrepreneur, and leaders; Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Elon Mask love to solve problems of the people. A good politician, entrepreneur or administrator is supposed to be a problem solver of the people they serve.
2. Honesty, Identify & Integrity
Being honest with the people means being honest with our inner-self; a good leader is always honest with the people he or she serves; their honesty is indispensable to their wisdom.
A good leader is known for his identity, they always adhere to “why they are known for”. He or she may change the course of action according to time because they are decisive according to time; they may change the strategy, but not the goal. Based on their honesty and identity; they develop integrity full of wisdom and intelligence.
3. Recognizing & Empowering People
Recognizing people is one of the important characteristics of a good leader, recognizing people means to recognize his or her talent, skill, and competency to achieve their common purpose.
“The more you know yourself, the more patience you have for what you see in others.” – Erik Erikson
By knowing themselves, good leaders recognize the people for the elevation of a society or enterprise; they create value among the people and serve a society through the spirit of teamwork, thus they empower the people.
4. Confidence & Courage
If the leader is unsure of what he or she dreams, what he or she commands and what he or she follows, then the subordinates will never follow what the leader says.
A leader must have confidence and courage to take risks, accept challenges, and face the truth. Becoming a good leader is not passing the toughest examination in the world; in examination question paper is always same for all applicants. But, the question paper of society & life changes with time, leaders have to accept the toughest examination of society in every moment of life.
In case of examination, few people pass, most of the people fail and a few become the topper. But, a leader is unique and there is no topper, failure or average in the traits of leaders, as they have to be confident & courageous to face the challenge of society.
5. Delegation & Cooperation
A good leader not only informs the people, they involve the people. Swami Vivekananda, Nineteenth-century Indian monk, and philosopher once said,
“Give me 100 energetic young men and I shall transform India.”
Nation building or enterprise building is not a one-man show; it needs the involvement of energetic, courageous, passionate group of leaders. A good leader always delegates the tasks, cooperates with people and involves the team to achieve a goal.
But nowadays it is a common practice among politician to promote himself or herself as celebrity or superstar, the fault of having such a leader rests not only in themselves, the fault is within the socio-psychology of citizen also. Due to lack of rational thinking & cognitive skill, people are being manipulated through their emotional unconsciousness; since most of the people fail to reach “Formal Operational Stage” of cognitive development.
6. Art of Communication
A leader should be a good listener rather an orator because a good leader has to know the need, interest, expectation, and concern for the people he or she serves. A leader has to inspire people, inspiring people means convincing people; nobody can convince people unless we connect with the need, interest, concern, and expectation of the people.
Apart from listening skills, a leader must have writing, reading, learning, and oratory skills. A leader has to inform & involve people through speeches, emails, or written orders, he or she has to learn to cultivate wisdom.
7. Oratory Skills vs Execution Skills
As already mentioned in the above section, a leader should have excellent oratory skill to inspire, convince and involve people. But having only oratory skill is not sufficient, as a leader should make the strategic plans for execution.
The art of rhetoric and execution skills unlock the path of achieving the goal for a nation or an enterprise building, both are indispensable for a leader.
But, it is becoming a common practice among people to follow a political leader with good oratory skill, as he or she can inspire people. But in politics, execution skill has more realistic values than oratory skills; since serving the deprived among the society is one of the major duties of a political leader.
8. Accountability & Adaptability
A political leader should be accountable to the people he or she serves, in the same way, a business leader should be accountable to the priorities and goals he or she had set. Without accountability, there is no exact way of measuring progress or upgrading strategies.
A good leader has to give credits to his or her subordinates, giving credits means encouraging them, involving them and making the team accountable to each other.
In the changing world, a leader has to adapt to the changes. Technology is changing day by day, technology impacts business practice and all the innovation made by the humanity changes the society, so it is a common habit for good leaders to make a habit, which is to adapt with the changes.
9. Decision-Making Capabilities
The difference between a leader and his or her subordinates is, a leader has to decide always and the subordinates have to follow his or her decision.
Decision-making process of a leader is the reflection of cognitive learning ability. Decisions taken by leader has a profound impact on masses, so a good leader should always analyze the situation, predict the impact and involve stakeholders to take a better decision.
Sometimes, a good leader may take own decision; it depends upon the knowledge, wisdom, and experience of the decision maker. But the leader must think of the people he serves before taking the decision.
10. Creative & Innovative
Leaders don’t wait for the opportunity, they create the opportunity. In order to create opportunity, leaders have to think about the problem of the people he or she serves, unveil a solution and create a roadmap of success.
“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” – Steve Jobs
On the other hand, the situations change with time; so a good leader has to change strategies, create plans, and identify the opportunity with respect to time; however, great leaders don’t change the goal.
Ashim, the blogger of MindWiper, loves to learn, share, and educate on various dimensions of life skills development. After graduating with an engineering degree, he had worked with major ICT industries in India and currently working as an ICT Program Manager for the Government & as an Individual IT Consultant.