7 Major Abilities or Qualities of Leadership


By Jayaram V

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 vision.

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.

Jayaram V is Founder President of Hinduwebsite.com and author of 14 books including Think Success and Being the Best. For more information about Jayaram and his works, you may visit the author's website.