7 Major Abilities or Qualities of Leadership
Summary: This essay is about what makes good leaders, and seven
important abilities or qualities which lead to excellence in leadership
Leadership calls for courage, determination and an adaptive mindset. Leaders
require strength, grit and humility to persevere, inspire and lead others. More
often, they have to lead themselves and others on perilous paths and through uncharted
territories to accomplish their goals. Biologically, leadership is an offshoot of
the natural instinct, which is common to both humans and animals, to improves their
chances of survival. Animals also choose their leaders. Human beings follow a similar,
but more complicated process.
Leaders are all not alike. There are personality issues and cultural, social
and other factors which influence their leadership styles, character and behavior.
However, no leader is born, but made by circumstances and self-effort. What distinguishes
true leaders? What puts them in a separate category as examples of excellence in
leadership? How do they succeed in leading people to achieve common goals or realize
an inspired or impossible vision? Leadership is required in all fields and in all
aspects of life.
Leadership is more a function than a status symbol or a position of authority.
Everyone performs leadership functions as a part of one’s survival and success,
although many may not be even aware of it. It also becomes a necessity for many
people in challenging times to overcome their hardships and realize their goals
and dreams. What qualities do they possess, which make them extraordinary and exceptional?
In order to be a great leader, certain qualities are very necessary. The following
are a few important ones.
1. Clear vision
Good leaders are driven by a clear vision. They know what they want to achieve,
where they want to go and by what means. They are driven by clear purpose and mission.
Because of that, they are able to formulate right goals and right strategies and
gather right resources to fulfill their mission. Most people are driven by desires,
goals, plans and even fears, but leaders are clearly driven by a defining and purposeful
2. Willingness to take risks
True leaders do not hesitate to take risks or go where no one has gone
before. They are good decision makers who possess strength and courage to risks
and explore various alternatives to accomplish their tasks. Most of them are also
heralders of change and practice transformative leadership, which often require
great sacrifices from them and the prospects of failure, difficulties and strong
opposition from those who resist change.
3. Determined and perseverant
True leaders are purpose driven. They remain focused upon their mission until
they achieve it. They are committed and determined and persevere in their effort,
going the extra mile, anticipating problems, preparing for contingencies, learning
from failures and setbacks, adapting to situations and forging strong relationships
and alliances whenever necessary. Their determination is a source of strength and
inspiration to others.
4. Help others
Good leaders know that leadership is not a status symbol or a means only to gain
personal power, wealth or dominance over others, but a great obligation to lead
others in the right direction and accomplish the tasks for which it is meant. Therefore,
they possess a caring and nurturing attitude, treating others with respect and consideration,
and helping them wherever possible, sometime at the expense of their own interests.
5. Take responsibility
Good leaders are not afraid to account for their actions or accept blame for
them if necessary. They do not find scapegoats, avoid criticism or delegate their
basic duties to others so that they can shift the blame. They are always willing
to assume responsibility for the actions and the actions of those who act in good
trust according to their instructions or guidance. When things go wrong, they may
seek forgiveness, but do not evade accountability or consequences.
6. Appealing personality
Leadership requires a special mindset, purpose driven attitude and inspiring
personality. Good leaders lead by personal example. They possess pleasing personalities
and know how to exert personal influence over their people, by appealing to their
positive emotions and lead them in the desired direction. They also possess an understanding
of human psychology. Hence, they make good use of their interpersonal skills, and
emotional and social intelligence. They also know how to resolve conflicts and differences
of opinion among their followers and build their unity and morale.
7. Character and integrity
Leaders are human beings with the usual flaws and drawbacks. We have many leaders
in various fields who are essentially psychopaths. They do succeed in the careers
and professions, but the people who work for them or deal with them know who they
are and the problems they create. Despite these instances, character and integrity
are still important in leadership and those who possess them are remembered better
than those who lack them. True leaders abide in good principles and stick with them
despite the problems they face from those who lack them.
Everyone is a leader in some way. In your normal and routine life, you perform
many leadership functions, when you help others, guide them or lead them to achieve
common goals or goals that are imperative to your success and wellbeing. Being a
good leader requires effort, discipline and vision. By knowing what distinguishes
true leaders, you can learn from them and improve your leadership qualities.
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