John C Maxwell defined leadership this way: “A leader knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” Regardless of your definition, a leader can be a difference-maker between success and failure. The best leaders have a futuristic vision and know-how to turn their ideas into real-world successes. We explore some of the important leadership qualities that distinguish good leaders from bad ones in this article.
1. The importance of honesty and integrity
According to Dwight D. Eisenhower, “The supreme quality of leadership is unquestionable integrity.”. Success is impossible without honesty and integrity, whether it’s on a football field, in an army, or in the office.” Honesty and integrity are two important qualities of a good leader. When you don’t possess these qualities yourself, what does that say about your followers? A leader who sticks to his or her values and beliefs will succeed, and this will not be possible without ethics. Therefore, honesty and integrity are the most important leadership qualities.
As a leader, you should be confident enough to command others to follow you. You will never have subordinates follow you if you have doubts about yourself. To gain the respect of your subordinates, you need to be confident, swaggering, and assertive. You should not be overconfident, but you should at least demonstrate the confidence necessary to ensure your followers trust you.
3. Motivate others
Persuading others to follow is probably the hardest task a leader faces. By setting a good example, you can inspire your followers. People look up to you and observe your behavior when times are tough. Taking care of that situation well will make them follow you. You should always think positively as a leader, and your actions should reflect this positive attitude. Keep a high level of motivation under pressure. John Quincy Adams wrote, “A leader is one who inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more.” If you succeed at inspiring others, you will overcome any current and future challenge.
4. Passion and dedication
If you want your teams to give their all, you have to be passionate about it as well. It is your teammates’ responsibility to give their best try when you get your hands dirty. Your subordinates will also respect you for it. Your team members will also be infused with new energy, which will improve their performance. The leader has an uphill task motivating your followers if they don’t see you as fully committed or passionate about the goal. As a result, commitment and passion are key leadership qualities.
5. Excellent communicator
In order to get the results you want, it will be very difficult for you until you communicate your vision to your team and explain the strategy for achieving the goal. In other words, if you are unable to communicate effectively with your team, you will never be a good leader. Leaders who communicate well can be effective. Motivating words can make people do the unthinkable. You can also achieve better results if you use them effectively.
6. Capabilities for making decisions
An effective leader, apart from having a futuristic vision, must also be capable of making the right decisions at the right time. Masses are profoundly affected by decisions taken by leaders. Once the leader has taken a decision, he or she should stand by it after thinking it through carefully. In spite of the fact that most leaders make decisions on their own, you should consult with key stakeholders before making any decisions. Ultimately, it is they who stand to gain or lose from your decisions.
7. Taking responsibility
Make sure that every one of your subordinates is held accountable for their actions. As Arnold H Glasow noted, “A good leader doesn’t take more than his share of the blame or less than his share of the credit.” If they do well, congratulate them, and if they struggle, make them realize their mistakes and work together to improve. Your subordinates will take your business more seriously if you hold them responsible for their actions.
8. Embedding delegation and empowerment
Right, you can’t do everything. Leaders need to focus on key responsibilities while leaving the rest to others. Delegating tasks to your followers is part of that. It will develop a distrust between you and your subordinates as well as prevent you from focusing on important matters, as you should. Check the performance of your subordinates by delegating tasks to them. Allow them to bear the responsibility and provide all the resources and support they require to achieve the goal.
9. Inventiveness and Creativity
How do leaders and followers differ? As Steve Jobs, the greatest visionary of our time, said, “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” To succeed in today’s fast-paced world, a leader needs to be both creative and innovative. Those who stand out from the crowd have creative thinking and constant innovation at their core. Identify unique ideas and make them a reality. Think outside the box to come up with innovative ideas.
This is last but certainly not least leadership qualities. Empathy between leaders and followers is essential. It is unfortunate that most leaders are dictatorial and avoid empathizing. They fail to connect with their followers as a result. Effective leadership begins with understanding the problems of your followers and feeling their pain. However, even that is not sufficient until you provide suitable solutions to your followers’ problems. Thus, empathy is one of the most important leadership qualities.