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There are lots of opinions about leadership. From the political and corporate points of view to the religious and traditional perspectives, leadership means different things to different people.
In simple terms, it is the act of leading. The simplicity of this definition is not the same when you consider an in-depth understanding of the concept ‘Leadership’.
However, it can best be described as the act of guiding, influencing, setting goals, making decisions, taking responsibility, and so much more.
The one who carries out these activities can be called a leader.
Dwight Eisenhower, one time American President once said that “𝑙𝑒𝑎𝑑𝑒𝑟𝑠ℎ𝑖𝑝 𝑖𝑠 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑎𝑟𝑡 𝑜𝑓 𝑔𝑒𝑡𝑡𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑠𝑜𝑚𝑒𝑜𝑛𝑒 𝑒𝑙𝑠𝑒 𝑡𝑜 𝑑𝑜 𝑠𝑜𝑚𝑒𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑦𝑜𝑢 𝑤𝑎𝑛𝑡 𝑑𝑜𝑛𝑒 𝑏𝑒𝑐𝑎𝑢𝑠𝑒 ℎ𝑒 𝑤𝑎𝑛𝑡𝑠 𝑡𝑜 𝑑𝑜 𝑖𝑡.”
A leader is that individual who guides and influences people’s thoughts and actions towards attaining certain set goals.
The leader can be a Chief Executive Officer in a formal organization, an activist, or just an individual in social gatherings, while the set goals could be to effect a change, complete a set of organizational tasks or even to influence government policies.
However, leaders don’t fall from the sky neither does everyone qualify to be called a leader.
To be a good leader, there are certain traits you must possess. Some of these traits will be discussed below.
Table of Contents
- Good Communication Skills
- Decision Making
This is one of the cardinal traits on which good leadership is built.
A leader at every point in time must firmly abide by the regulation that guides him, and the people he leads.
He must at all costs avoid double standards. What is wrong in the presence of his team members or followers, should also remain wrong in their absence.
He should be honest and never discriminate or be biased in his judgments and decision-making, and must apologize should he make mistakes.
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Good Communication Skills
Leadership is about influencing others towards achieving set goals. A leader who can’t communicate effectively can’t influence anyone, and as such, is no leader.
Good communication in this case is beyond words. It is a combination of words and actions. Actions speak volumes.
A leader who can always get the message across to the followers and achieve the desired results regardless of their social differences has mastered the art of effective communication.
It is important also for a leader to understand the peculiarities of every individual or the little groups that are a part of his larger group.
This will aid the leader in establishing and maintaining a good and effective interpersonal communication with every member of his/her followers.
How accountable a leader goes a long way to determine how much faith the followers will put in him.
It will also determine the level of commitment they show towards the set goals of the organization or group.
A leader must take responsibility at all times.
That is; take decisions when they ought to be taken, update and motivate the team towards achieving the set goals, and also take responsibility if things go wrong.
Having a vision is key for anyone who seeks to be a leader.
It is your vision that attracts people to you and makes them pledge their undivided loyalty to your course. Vision gives a sense of purpose and pushes people; leaders and followers alike, to grow.
A good leader must be passionate about his vision, and stay resilient even in tough times. This will convince and inspire those he leads to putting in their best at all times towards achieving their goals.
Empathy: Empathy is an Essential Trait of a Leader
Empathy is an essential trait of a leader. It enables you to understand and relate effectively with every member of your team based on their own peculiarities.
A leader who understands how every individual in his team feels, thinks, and reacts to situations will have little or no problem getting the best out of them.
The leader can easily see things from their unique perspectives and know-how to keep them motivated.
This quality is often missing in most leaders. The reality is, humility attracts admiration and dedication of team members and followers more than any trophy in the cabinet.
Some of what makes a leader humble include; crediting successes to the entire team members and not to the self even if it was his/her idea, constantly encouraging subordinates to realize they can always be better and not ridicule them at every chance that presents itself.
A good leader must be honest in all dealings, words, and conduct inclusive.
A good leader never bends the rules to please him or herself doesn’t backtrack on decisions or avoid making the right ones because personal interests will be affected.
A leader must be great at decision-making. A leader must never make decisions based on intuition, but should instead study and evaluate the risk involved in making a choice and what possible better alternative is available.
A leader can also consult with the team before making a decision. No one knows it all. However, a leader should be able to make tough decisions in a timely manner in as much as they protect and promote the interest of the group.
Resilience: A Good Leader Must Be Resilient
A good leader must be resilient. He must learn to see that setbacks are not out of the ordinary, and must stay positive even when the chips are down.
A never-give-up attitude goes a long way to uplift your team’s spirit. A leader who possesses the resilience quality will always grow in character.
It is often said that respect can not be bought but earned.
One of the ways to earn the respect and undying devotion of your followers or team members as a leader is by being grateful. Always appreciate your team whenever the opportunity presents itself.
A simple ‘thank you’ wins for you the trust of your team and also propels them to want to do more.
A good leader must be open to new ideas and ways of getting things done. A leader who is open gives room for creativity and ideas.
When team members are allowed to make suggestions and participate in the planning and decision-making process, it gives them a feeling of relevance; it fires them up to do more.
Besides, more information guarantees better decision making.
A good leader should be able to assign tasks to team members. However, in delegating duties, the leader must assign tasks according to the capabilities of the individual or group.
Proper delegation of duties fosters trust between the leader and the team and encourages growth as well.
There are several other leadership traits apart from the selected ones above and they are equally important too.
However, these are simple but very powerful traits with which you can become a great leader and champion your team’s objectives to great success.