“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” – John C. Maxwell
Good leadership is crucial to the effective functioning and success of any organization. Chances are we have all witnessed someone who was able to efficiently direct the flow of activities within a team; and pass on valuable lessons learned in life to the people under their leadership. But not everyone has leadership qualities, one needs to build such qualities.
Below are some of the qualities of good leaders:
(1) Clear vision and ability to inspire
A good leader is someone who “shows the way”. That would be impossible to do without having a clear vision (knowing the way). Good leadership involves the ability to have a clear picture of where you are and where you want to be in the short and long-term (being able to see the big picture).
Once your vision is crystal clear, you will be able to
communicate it to others and naturally inspire them to follow.
“There are leaders and there are those who lead. Leaders hold a position of power or influence. Those who lead inspire us…we follow those who lead not because we have to, but because we want to…” – Simon Sinek.
(2) Moral principles
“If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything.” Although this proverb is supposed to apply to everyone, it is even more important for leaders or aspiring leaders. At the core of every good leader are moral principles that guide their actions and decisions and define who they are. There are many moral principles that can help you become a good leader. Below, three critical principles are highlighted:
a. Respect for others – While being a leader means you are in a position of power and influence; it is still important to respect your followers by valuing their differences and welcoming opposing ideas.
b. Humility – Leadership humility is not a sign of weakness; it is a sign of strength and high self-esteem. It allows you to admit when you are wrong and take criticism without feeling threatened.
c. Integrity – Your followers need to
be able to trust that you are going to do what is right all the time. Trust within
the leader-follower relationship will be lost if it is not observed, and it
will prove very difficult to gain or regain.
(3) Good communication skills
Most people already know that every good leader must have great communication skills because they are often required to spread information to people under the sphere of their leadership. However, it is important to note that a large part of effective communication will come from your ability to listen attentively.
Though you might be the bearer of the mission and vision;
actively listening to your team and forming action plans with their thoughts
and ideas in mind, will help create a sense of family and camaraderie within the
organization. Moreover, people are more likely to trust your leadership and
support your vision, when they realize that you have a belief in participative
decision-making. Great communication skills will also help you teach important
lessons learned in life to your team.
(4) Open-mindedness and (5) Creativity
Good leaders spend a significant amount of time thinking about the future (their vision or ideology). That is, conceptualizing the organization in some future state and determining how to overcome existing challenges to create a physical manifestation of that future. Being open-minded and creative is necessary to accomplish these eventualities.
Your team will be looking to you for answers and for you to pave new pathways for them to follow. You will need to be introspective and innovative to come up with new perspectives that will allow new discoveries. You are not alone though, being open-minded will allow you to explore and analyze ideas from your team, that could lead you to uncover new solutions.
Becoming a leader in life (whether it’s corporate leadership or self-leadership) is a process that involves you working on several important skills and adopting certain core values. Above are the most important leadership qualities listed. Incorporate these valuable lessons learned in life and you will surely be on the right track.