Essay on “What are the characteristics of a leader?”
Before we start to discuss about the various characteristics of a leader, we need to understand what does being a leader means or simply the meaning of ‘Leader’.
In simple words, a person who leads or commands a group, organisation or country can be called as a leader. In other words a leader is a person who influences a group of people towards the achievement of a goal.
Characteristics of a leader
There are many characteristics which determines if a person is a leader or not, few of them are discussed below:
The 34th President of United States, Dwight.D.Eisenhower once said, “The supreme quality of leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office.” Honesty and integrity are two important ingredients which make a good leader. Leaders succeed when they stick to their values and core beliefs and without ethics, this will not be possible.
Ability to delegate
We cannot do everything, right. It is important for a leader to focus on key responsibilities while leaving the rest to others. By that, I mean empowering our followers and delegating tasks to them. If we continue to micromanage our subordinates, it will develop a lack of trust and more importantly, we will not be able to focus on important matters, as we should be. Delegate tasks to our subordinates and see how they perform. Provide them with all the resources and support they need to achieve the objective and give them a chance to bear the responsibility.
Until we clearly communicate our vision to our team and tell them the strategy to achieve the goal, it will be very difficult for us to get the results we want. Simply put, if we are unable to communicate our message effectively to our team, we can never be a good leader. A good communicator can be a good leader. Words have the power to motivate people and make them do the unthinkable. If we use them effectively, we can also achieve better results.
While this is a more inwardly focused skill, self-awareness is paramount for leadership. The better you understand yourself, the more effective you can be.
The power of gratitude gives leaders the edge they need to quickly pivot during stressful situations, such as their team not performing or their bottom line dropping. When leaders pause for 60 seconds and use the Gratitude Practice outlined below, they give their brains and their bodies a chance to recalibrate. This allows them to focus not only on the present and how they can turn things around, but on hidden opportunities to be grateful.
Learning agility is a key to unlocking our adaptation proficiency. It is “knowing what to do when you don’t know what to do”. Research shows that learning agility is a reliable indicator of leadership potential because of learning agile people “ excel at absorbing information from their experience and then extrapolating from those to navigate unfamiliar situation “. Learning agility is a complex set of skills that allows us to learn something in one situation and apply it in a completely different situation. It is about gathering patterns from one context and then using and using those patterns in a completely new context. In short, learning agility is the ability to learn, adapt and apply ourselves in constantly morphing conditions.
Leadership is a process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to work toward the achievement of a common goal which they consider desirable. Thus, influence is key to successful leadership. Getting people to follow is the sine qua non of leadership. Leaders get things done through others. They inspire and guide others toward goal accomplishment and consistently develop and sustain cooperative working relationships.
Empathy in leadership is one of the most important factors influencing workplaces today. A lack of empathy in leadership can have dramatic consequences for staff and teams, leading to behaviour that makes the workplace unpleasant.
Martin Luther King Jr. says that ‘the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy’. Winston Churchill says that ‘courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen’. Walt Disney says that ‘courage is the main quality of leadership, no matter where it is exercised and usually it implies some risk, especially in new undertakings’. And finally, Simon Sinek says that ‘the courage of leadership is giving others the chance to succeed even though you bear the responsibility for getting things done.
Respect and leadership go hand in hand. It’s a fundamental principle: To lead others, you first have to earn their respect. But it goes much deeper. Great leadership creates a climate of respect, an environment that sets high standards and supports everyone in doing their best.
These are the few characteristics which a leader must have for a good leadership.
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