Characteristics Of a Good Leader: Leadership is an act. The task of leadership is no small task as it is demanding. It requires a lot of attributes. Being at the helm of affairs or being the head of an organization does not automatically qualify one to be a good leader. It is the presence of certain traits and characteristics that qualifies one as a good leader, which in turn, confers leadership role on such a person.
Leadership entails guiding, guarding, directing and organizing an association, organization or a group of people towards the attainment of set objectives and goals. In the course of achieving or actualizing these set objectives and goals, there arises the need to have one at the helms of affairs leading and directing the will of the people. This person who leads and directs the will power of the people is the one referred to as a Leader.
A leader is a person who guides, guards, directs and organizes an association, organization or a group of people towards the attainment of set objectives and goals. It is trite that no organization can fare effectively well without a leader. This is because the successes of an organization is hugely dependent on the leader.
For a leader to effectively guide and manage the task of leadership, there are certain attributes and qualities which he must possess to qualify him as a good leader. There are many of such qualities but for the purpose of this discourse, these numerous attributes will be summarized into twelve key attributes. These attributes are highlighted below.
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13 Qualities and Characteristics of a Great Leader
1. Integrity and Honesty: Integrity as a quality is the state of being honest and fair in one’s dealings. A good leader must possess the quality of being truthful and fair with his followers. He should lead his followers with truth and honesty. Lying should be far from him as the quality of being fair and truthful endears him to those he leads.
2. Good Communication Skills: Proper human management presupposes that the activities of the managing class be promptly and adequately communicated to their subordinates. A good leader should possess good communication skills, should be able to communicate ideas to the led, and should promptly give them feedbacks on the progress of any activity embarked on by the organization. When there is proper communication between the leader and the led, there is a high possibility of stability within the organization as everyone is at peace and abreast with the goings on in the organization.
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3. Influence: A good leader should possess an air of influence on his followers. He should be charismatic enough to sway the decisions of people. His personality should be able to persuade his followers into carrying out their tasks even without his having to instruct them.
He should also be able to influence the decision of others for the benefit and best interest of his organization and followers.
4. Empathy: Empathy is the quality of placing one’s self in the position of others in order to have a better understanding of and make an informed judgment in the situation at hand. As a leader, he should be able to see and view things from the position of his followers. A leader ought not be indifferent and indignant to the yearnings and cries of his followers. He should have the ability to empathize with them in tough situations.
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5. Courage: A leader should exhibit courage and bravery in the face of daunting challenges. He should be decisive in tasking situations. A leader should not be easily swayed by the mere wishful thinking of his followers or peers. He should possess the ability to take decisive steps and make a proper follow up of the steps taken to ensure that expected results are realised. The test of being a true leader is his ability to face difficulty squarely without flinching or backing out.
6. Gratitude: This is the ability to show thankfulness to someone for something good he has done. A leader should have the quality of thankfulness. Exhibiting gratitude to his followers is not a sign of weakness. When a leader appreciates his followers, he Spurs them to do more. This in turn will increase the effort being put in by the followers to actualize a set goal. A leader, therefore, should be ready to accolades to subordinates who have gone the extra mile to ensure the successful completion of a task.
7. Vision: A leader should possess the ability to foresee things that may likely occur in the near future and should therefore have good plans for the organization. His vision for the organization should be that which will grow and develop the organization. He should not be bereft of ideas aimed at promoting the goodwill of the organization he leads.
8. Strategic and Critical Thinking: A leader should be able to think critically and strategically to get problems solved. He should have problem solving techniques. He should have the ability to detect, identify and solve the problems of the organization he leads. He is a leader by virtue of the fact that he is able to solve the problems of the organization via a careful evaluation of facts and application of relevant principles to get those problems solved.
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9. Innovative: A leader should be innovative. He should be able to devise means of solving complex problems in an easy way. An innovative leader utilizes the little resources at his disposal for maximum outputs. A leader should have the capability of making out discoveries and putting up inventions that will make the job of his followers easy, less stressful and enjoyable to perform. He should discover new ways of doing things.
10. Self Confidence: A leader is expected to have confidence in his own ability. A leader ought to believe in himself and trust his own judgements. He should do away with self doubt as it can go a long way to affect his leadership role. Self confidence inspires him to trust his judgments and abilities. He must first believe in himself before getting others to believe in him.
11. Management: A leader should be able to use the resources at his disposal, both human and non human for effective output. He should know when to and who to delegate certain tasks and functions. His ability to discern the strengths and weaknesses of his followers and to use them for his comparative advantage is one of the hallmarks of a good leader.
12. Accountability: The final attribute of a leader is accountability. A leader should be accountable to the people he leads. He should take up responsibility and also bear the consequences of such responsibilities taken. A leader should not push blames to his followers while taking praises all alone. Accountability to the people entails that he accepts responsibility for actions taken by his followers as it is presumed that it was his implied authority such actions were taken.
13. Humility: This is a trait that all leaders should have and use on leadership basis because obviously, followers would not want a proud or intolerable personality to lead them. It is observed recently that where a leader is humble, it makes his people to hold his words and integrity at all times but a dogmatic leader would be despised even when he means what he says.
Leaders who are down to the earth (humble) shows and teaches their followers how to be loyal and obedient and this means that humility is a reciprocal quality both to the leader and to his followers. It has also been discovered that humility allows a leader to recognize the flaws and spots in his own character which will now make him to listen to others (including his followers) and accept advice from them and by so doing, he can work on his flaws in order to improve in those areas. Humility will also help him to be sensitive and relate well with his team members which builds trust among every working team.
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Conclusively, it is often said that “uneasy lies the head that wears the crown” and this is so true about leadership. Good leadership presupposes good followership as a leader should also be willing to follow good precepts and precedents. This buttresses the need to heed good counsel as no leader can be termed as good if these attributes are lacking in him.
Edeh Samuel Chukwuemeka, ACMC, is a lawyer and a certified mediator/conciliator in Nigeria. He is also a developer with knowledge in various programming languages. Samuel is determined to leverage his skills in technology, SEO, and legal practice to revolutionize the legal profession worldwide by creating web and mobile applications that simplify legal research. Sam is also passionate about educating and providing valuable information to people.