Leadership qualities are the reflection of domain expertise, the height of wisdom, level of confidence, types of mental diet, and effectiveness of cognitive skills.
Business owners, business leaders, political leaders and social leaders have varying experience, perspective, and leadership styles; they may have different styles of working, setting a vision and impacting the people.
Becoming a good leader is a dream of everyone, but only a few succeed to do so. There are certain characteristics of a leader that makes him or her great.
What Makes a good Leader?
“Leadership in an influence of personal power, that creates progressively advancing community towards the common purpose.”
In this article, we will discuss what makes a good leader in three different sections,
Great leaders are always in the perpetual state of preparation based on the conscious decision, emotional intelligence, and passion. Here, in this article, find step by step guideline on what makes a great leader.
Developing Personal Power
Personal power is the core leadership competency every leader needs to develop before they start leading other people. Personal power is the identity, integrity, charisma, and ability to achieve what you want.
Positional power is an illusion of time and situation; when your position goes away, your power deviates itself. But personal power is what nobody can take away from you, nobody can destroy it and nobody can mess with it.
Here we will elaborate different personal powers and how to develop those for making you a great leader.
Art of Learning
In this blog, you can see the use of the quote by John F. Kennedy many times, whether you agree or not, this is one of the best quotes of leadership,
“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” – John F. Kennedy
So, what is the learning for a leader? Leaders not only need knowledge, they also need wisdom. Our vision is a reflection of our wisdom.
For a leader, learning means the capability to observe & analyze knowledge, understanding the in-depth summary of the knowledge and applying the knowledge which is true, lasting, judgmental and applicable to our life.
Gautama Buddha said, “We are what we think”. Let’s elaborate this quote, we become what we think when we take action against the thoughts.
Most of the people have unconscious thought and take a subconscious decision upon the thoughts to take action. But, being a leader, your thought should be conscious, structured and the decision you take must be a conscious decision, then only the quote applies successfully to your life.
Now let’s understand the significance of the Buddha’s quote in a leader’s life. When we learn something new; our mind develops reasons, knowledge & wisdom.
These reasons, knowledge & wisdom generate thoughts in our mind. Doesn’t your mind generate some thoughts after learning something new? And when we take conscious action on the thought, the action becomes a reality.
So, keep learning, thoughts will attack you, but remember to think consciously and take a conscious decision.
Art of Effective Communication
Effective communication is more than exchanging information. It is about understanding need, concern, emotions and intention behind the information; and the ability to convey the message clearly.
The speaker must listen actively to gain full meaning of the message as well as to makes the person feel heard & understood.
A great leader must have a good listening skill. So what is listening skill for a leader? As a leader, one should have the capability to listen consciously, analyze others opinion & concern, and reply consciously to the speaker based on conscious decision & wisdom.
During public Q&A and group discussion, a leader must have to answer precisely and instantly, and in this scenario, a leader has to think twice before speaking and delivering the good decision.
To achieve instant decisive speaking skill & motivating skill, he or she has to practice the art of active listening and conscious speaking.
Art of Motivation
Inspiring and motivating team members, people or subordinates are one of the major functionalities of a leader.
To be an effective motivational speaker, a leader should know need, interest, concern & expectation (NICE) of the target group he or she has to motivate. Here are you can consider a few examples of humans source of motivation,
- Few people blossom when are given more responsibility
- Most people respond to flextime in working
- Some find motivation in getting rewards
- Monetary incentive is one of the sources of motivation
- Job promotion is also one of the sources of motivation
One of the reports by Harvard Business School; it is reported that about 85 percent of companies, employees’ morale sharply declines after their first month on the job.
Business leader and entrepreneur should have to focus more on motivating people. But in case of politics or social works, most of the members & employees are found to be self-motivated to do their work.
Self-Confidence & Courage
Leaders should prepare to handle risks, failure, fear and difficult situations. If a leader is not confident enough, he or she can’t except to motivate & involve his team.
Self-confidence is the foundation of leadership; without self- confidence, and courage, fearful one will agonize over a decision and try to make the safe choice, also the probability of taking a subconscious decision due to mental instability may prevail in the difficult situations.
Having self-confidence means the ability to decide consciously, speak effectively, take calculated risks, and handle conflict in a difficult situation.
Often, we may encounter people who prefer to say, while asking to take a risk, “I am not sure as I have no experience of doing it.”
But leadership is about innovation, creativity, and change; a leader always has to take actions on which most of the people don’t want to take action; however, the decision of taking action should be conscious; otherwise, the confidence will be termed as over-confidence.
Emotional intelligence is defined as the capability of individuals to recognize their own emotions and those of others; discern between different feelings and label them appropriately.
You can use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior, and manage and/or adjust emotions to adapt to environments or achieve one’s goals.
You must develop emotional intelligence to know yourself and your team. The first step of developing emotional intelligence is to know one’s own emotional behavior, emotional turmoil, and emotional feelings.
To know your own emotional behavior; you must observe your emotional behavior, understand what triggers certain behavior, understand what calms down your certain behavior and apply the learning to adapt or adjust to the changing environments.
A leader has to consider organizational goals first before considering personal goals. Considering the people, procedure, organization, policy, and vision comes first while making a decision.
A democratic leader, a relationship-oriented leader or a transformation leader may take others opinion as well as involve the team in decision making.
Whereas a Laissez-Faire leader may choose to delegate the task to a subject matter expert and may choose to oversee the decision-making process.
Most of the people lack self-discipline and they often assume that “That’s the way I am.” Some leaders born with natural qualities and possess the ability to make self-discipline easy for them. However, most of the leaders develop self-discipline through hard work, dedication, and patience.
Self-discipline creates self-identity, self-respect, and love of the self. Never try to develop many disciplines simultaneously; it may create chaos in mind.
Self-discipline and self-confidence are indispensable to each other. It is good to start changing little practices than focusing to change everything about your discipline.
As a leader, you have to let the teamwork flow through discipline, punctuality, and dedication; and it is foolish to assume that everyone will follow a leader who doesn’t have self-discipline.
Setting a Clear Vision
Here are the two steps for setting a clear vision,
Identifying Your True Potential
A leader has to identify his or her true potential and accept the dearth. Accepting his or her personal dearth will enable the leader to respect others opinion, build self-morale and makes it easier to involve the right person with the right skill sets.
To identify your true potential; start observing and analyzing yourself, find out your strength and weakness, list down the obstacles, make a plan and take action against your strength and weakness.
A good leader should always preserve “Why am I known for?” and “What is my identity?” Here identity may refer to leadership style, the course of action, behavior towards team members, ability to take risks, ability to handle conflict and many more feature a leader already possess.
Setting a SMART goal
A good leader always takes SMART goal based on his or her vision or wisdom. Professor Robert S. Rubin of Saint Louis University proposed the SMART goal in his article for The Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology.
Let’s understand what a SMART goal is,
- Specific (simple, sensible, significant)
- Measurable ( meaningful, motivating, makeable)
- Achievable ( agreed, attainable, acquirable)
- Relevant ( reasonable, realistic)
- Time-bound ( timely, time-sensitive)
While taking a SMART goal, you can consider asking these questions to yourself;
- What exactly I want to achieve?
- How can I achieve?
- Where can I achieve?
- What are the resources required?
- What is the time limit?
- Is the goal is realistic & relevant?
Executive The Vision
Executing a vision or goal is the capability to implement the vision through progressive measurement, change management, team works, and dedication. Here are a few tips you should know,
Measuring The Progress
A good leader never makes excuse to do the things at a later time or quit in between the course of action.
A leader should not only inform his subordinates to measure the progress of a goal, the leader must involve the team actively to measure progress based on priorities and criteria’s. Without traceability with time-bound effect, a goal may collapse.
There are various methods to measure the progress of a project or a goal. You can consider the methods of unit completeness, incremental milestones, weighted ratio, experience or opinion for measuring the progress of a project.
Preserving & Executing The Goal
Preserving and executing the goal is a larger part of leadership; it is about managing team, utilizing manpower, organizing processes & procedures, and implementing the vision.
Before executing your goal, you should know your level of leadership; John Maxwell defines five levels of leadership, these are;
- Pinnacle – People follow because of who you are and what you represent
- People Development – People follow because what you have done for them
- Production – People follow because what you have done for the organization
- Permission – People follow because they want to
- Position – People follow because they have to
There are different levels of leadership according to the capability to preserve and execute the goal. The one who is a master in leadership never changes goals in a difficult situation; he or she may step back to review or change the strategy.
There are also some good leaders who never change the strategy in a difficult situation; instead, they face the challenges and stick to the goal & strategy. These kinds of leaders are hardworking and often take time to execute their goal as they never look for an alternative strategy.
In the corporate world, there are certain kinds of leaders who try to find fault in others when they are in a difficult situation or when the project meets challenges. Also, some leader quits the job in tough times. These kinds of leaders don’t make an attitude of a successful leader.
Ashim, the Founder of MindWiper, loves to learn, share, and educate various dimensions of life skills development. After graduating with an engineering degree, he worked with major ICT industries in India and finally he followed his dream to integrate technology for Cognitive Skills & Life Skills Development.