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Leadership Qualities: 13 Must-have Skills That Make A Great Leader

15 min read

You will experience all kinds of circumstances and emotions; there will be good times, difficult times, and even terrible times. However, a good leader should always be able to lead the team to victory, regardless of the situation they face. But the idea of leadership is often misunderstood and considered the same as a management function. This couldn’t be any farther from the truth – a leader is someone who wishes to be one to lead and guide people, regardless of their role within the organization.   

Likewise, many managers do not necessarily hold the leadership characteristics that will make them real leaders. Leadership does not just relate to anyone at the top of the hierarchical ladder, nor does it refer to those who have what we generally perceive to be the standard of leadership. Leadership is a simple skill, in fact, it is an assortment of abilities that is uniquely affected by the individual’s personality and experience.   

Think of your own experience: the leaders you’ve been engaging with throughout your life, odds are, there must have been a variety of different types of leadership styles portrayed by each one of them. Most of them, however, undeniably possessed a similar set of strong leadership skills that they drew from in order to be successful.   

When you imagine what effective leadership looks like, there are a few characteristics of a successful leader that appear to be true across the board – these are attributes that any good leader has, or can aspire for. 

What is Leadership? 

Leadership can be defined as the ability to inspire, motivate, and guide individuals or a group of people towards a common goal or vision. A leader is someone who has the skills and qualities to influence others, make important decisions, and create a positive impact on their team or organization.  

Effective leadership involves a combination of skills, including communication, strategic thinking, problem-solving, decision-making, empathy, and resilience. Good leaders are able to inspire trust, build strong relationships with their team members, and create a positive work culture. 

Leadership can take many different forms, from leading a team in a business setting to leading a community or even a country. There are also many different styles of leadership, including autocratic, democratic, and transformational. The most effective leaders are able to adapt their leadership style to fit the needs of their team and situation. 

Importance of Leadership 

Leadership is incredibly important in any organization, community, or society because it provides direction, guidance, and motivation for people to work together towards a common goal. Here are some of the key reasons why leadership is so important:  

Provides direction and guidance: Leaders provide a clear vision for their team or organization, setting goals and objectives that help guide decision-making and actions. This clarity of direction helps to focus efforts and resources towards achieving a common purpose. 

Motivates and inspires: Leaders are able to motivate and inspire their team members to work towards their shared goals, by creating a sense of purpose, belonging, and recognition. Effective leadership creates a positive work culture that encourages innovation, collaboration, and excellence. 

Builds relationships and trust: Leaders who prioritize building strong relationships with their team members are able to create a sense of trust and loyalty. This trust enables open communication, honest feedback, and a willingness to take risks and make mistakes, which are all essential for growth and success. 

Drives change and innovation: Leaders are able to identify areas for improvement and innovation, and create a culture that encourages experimentation, risk-taking, and creativity. They are also able to lead change initiatives, overcoming resistance and obstacles to implement new ideas and ways of working. 

Fosters resilience and adaptability: In today’s fast-paced and uncertain world, effective leaders must be able to navigate change and uncertainty, by being resilient and adaptable. They must be able to make tough decisions, pivot quickly, and inspire their team members to do the same. 

List of 13 essential leadership qualities 

Visionary 

Exceptional leaders have a vision that enables them to strategically organize their actions to accomplish their objectives. 

Effective leaders always start by gaining an awareness of the “needs” of the circumstance by taking the wider picture into consideration. A strong leader can visualize their desired future state clearly and what it will look like three to five years from now. 

Continuous Learning 

Leaders are aware that perfection is impossible. The process of development for the individual, their team, and their organization is ongoing. A successful leader must be prepared to support the personal growth of their team members, whether by imparting new knowledge or pinpointing areas for improvement. These executives can create and carry out plans of action that will benefit both the business and its people. The ability to evaluate one’s strengths and faults and take corrective action is perhaps the most crucial quality in leaders. 

Integrity 

Business leaders know—Integrity is the core of effective leadership, and one must stand by their own values. No matter how complicated a situation may be, a strong leader inspires with his values without compromising; they prohibit from making false commitments, taking shortcuts, pursuing thoughts and actions for selfish benefits. Leaders succeed when they adhere to their basic values and principles. 

Delegation 

Regardless of the situation and role you are in, its a fact that you can’t do everything on your own. Good leaders understand that the delegation does more than merely passing over the duty to someone else. It is trusting and believing that the employees are in a position to carry out the task assigned to them. Delegating to others indicates that you trust their capabilities, and this will lead to improved morality in the workplace. Your employees deserve to be respected and trusted. So, by assigning them a project, they will tend to feel honored and valued as they are now entitled to take project ahead. 

Clear Communication 

Effective and compelling communication is another quality of a strong leader. The capacity to pause, listen, reflect, and move slowly is the first step towards effective communication.  

Being able to express yourself properly to your team will foster an environment where questions, concerns, and problem-solving may be raised openly. There will be fewer mistakes and problems in general if everyone can openly discuss the assignment and comprehend it. 

Influence  

These days, persuading and influencing people is a really difficult task. With the advancement of technology, they have a wide range of possibilities. They won’t be easily persuaded. 

A true leader can persuade even the most resistant individuals to join him without exerting any effort or even realizing that he is speaking or acting with the intention of influencing others.  

People will be influenced by their ideas, how they are communicated, and how they carry out their tasks. 

Empathy 

Leaders should develop a sense of empathy for their team. Unfortunately, the majority of leaders adopt a dictatorial approach and utterly lack sympathy. This can be one of the key reasons why they are unable to build a great bond with their team. Understanding the concerns of the people and acknowledging their distress is the first step in being an effective leader. Even that’s not sufficient anymore unless you work hard to deliver your team the right solutions to their problems. 

Accountability 

You should use the responsibility strategy that Arnold H. Glasow emphasized when he remarked, “A successful leader takes little more than his share of the blame and little less than his portion of the credit.” Ensure that each of your subordinates is held responsible for their actions. Give them a high five if they perform well, but if they struggle, help them recognize their errors and cooperate to get better. Your employees will feel more responsible for their conduct and take their work more seriously if you hold them responsible for their activities. 

Resilience 

Before taking responsibility for others, one must understand and assess one’s own self. Resilient results are indicative, and they also know how to portray themselves in any situation, whether it’s the best or the worst. When the going gets tough, the tough gets going. You may have learned this aphorism several times, but did you know that this principle was also followed by the great leaders. They are resilient and they have a positive outlook. No matter how complicated the situations are, you’re bound to see them encouraging their team. Although most people are busy worrying about challenges, great leaders often emphasize solutions, and not the problems. 

Active Listening 

Verbal exchanges alone do not constitute effective communication. In order to build relationships and trust among team members, listening is crucial. You may learn about the wants and feelings of your people by having good listening abilities. The action shows the staff how highly the manager values them. Due to potential conflicts with other empowering leadership characteristics, this quality may be challenging to develop. Strong leaders frequently dominate conversations or meetings because they are self-assured and possess a wealth of fresh ideas. By listening to others, effective leaders can balance conflicting impulses and maintain an open mind to novel concepts. 

Humility 

A phrase like humility is prone to misunderstanding. Those that are humble usually don’t feel superior to others and aren’t overly proud of their work or successes. In other words, humility is having a low opinion of oneself while having a high opinion of others. 

Leaders who are modest are unlikely to grab credit for the efforts of others. They prioritise the demands of the team before their own, and they are ardent defenders of the requirements of their team members. Humble leaders earn the trust of their followers and enable them to develop and evolve beyond what they may have first believed possible by putting others before themselves. 

Self-Discipline 

Leaders are cognizant of the impossibility of perfection. The development of each person, their team, and their organization is a continual process. A effective leader must be ready to encourage the personal development of their team members, whether through the dissemination of new information or the identification of potential improvement areas. The business and its employees will both profit from the plans of action these leaders can develop and implement. The key characteristic of a leader that is arguably most important is the capacity to assess one’s strengths and weaknesses and make necessary corrections. 

Emotional Intelligence 

Leaders are aware of the fact that their followers view them as role models. They are frequently self-aware and sensitive to the viewpoints of others because of this. Successful leaders are able to forge meaningful connections while analyzing and comprehending their own emotions and prejudices when they have good social skills. 

Over to You! 

You should have all of these qualities in order to be a part of the top group of effective leaders; otherwise, it may be difficult for you to stand out in the competitive field of leadership. You must lead by example and inspire others to do the same. Dedication, zeal, empathy, integrity, and compassion all play a role in this. Finally, among the qualities of a good leader are innovation, creative thinking, and a focus on the future. 

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    Meet the author

    Keka Editorial Team

    A bunch of inspired, creative and ambitious youngsters- that’s Keka’s editorial team for you. We have a thirst to learn new subjects and curate diverse pieces for our readers. Our deep understanding and knowledge of Human Resources has enabled us to answer almost every question pertaining to this department. If not seen finding ways to simplify the HR world, they can be found striking conversations with anyone and everyone , petting dogs, obsessing over gadgets, or baking cakes.

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