What comes to your mind when you think of a leader? Is it the idea of a leader in action, guiding others in a particular direction? Maybe it is the character of a leader that sticks out to you: someone with the audacity to lead and bring about a significant change in this world. Perhaps, the faces of famous figures come to mind, such as Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa; or, some prominent businessmen, like Bill Gates or Elon Musk.
History includes a number of influential leaders. This begs the question: Is it easy to influence people to follow your direction? No, not at all. Leadership is a very distinctive quality. It involves possessing a perspective that extends beyond oneself. This perspective is considerate of the people being led, all of whom have unique backgrounds and personalities that shape them into who they are. The ability to manage and persuade such a diverse group of individuals to follow your direction involves a great level of character and responsibility
A leader possesses several qualities that enable him or her to successfully lead a group of people. Fortunately, we can develop these qualities within ourselves so that we can become the future leaders of this generation. Let’s look at some of the great qualities of a good leader:
Leaders cannot lead effectively unless they know themselves. They need to be aware of their psychological and physiological states, as well as their true potential and purpose in life. Then, they need to go one step further and be true to themselves. Anyone can be a leader, and knowing and owning your unique leadership style is key to your success. Take the time to explore and learn about what you actually want in life and your life’s purpose. One sure-shot way of connecting to yourself is meditation. Just listen and do what your heart calls you to do. In these moments of stillness, a lot of answers come to you from within. It is rightly said that your outer reality is directly proportional to your inner reality. Therefore, if you want to bring a change outside of yourself, start by understanding your inner-being.
We all know about IQ (Intelligence Quotient), but what is EQ? EQ stands for Emotional Quotient, which is the ability to understand and manage emotions in a positive and healthy manner. It does not mean that we do not feel emotions or become cold towards them; rather, it means fully experiencing our emotions while maintaining control over the way in which we react to them. This means that you are aware of what may evoke a certain emotion, and are able to control how you react. You can strengthen your EQ by learning about your emotions and how to regulate them. This is important because, as a leader, you will be dealing with different people with different emotions. How can you understand others’ emotions if you cannot understand your own?
There is no doubt about this one; the ability to communicate effectively is a very important trait of a leader. A leader should be honest and treat everyone with respect. He should be able to share the vision and the mission clearly and guide other people towards it. A very important aspect of good communication skills is listening skills. A good leader should genuinely listen to others. This means showing them a keen interest in what they are saying, making an effort to understand their perspective on issues, and then responding. People want to share and feel heard. Therefore, patiently listen to people in any situation.
You cannot become a good leader if you only think from your own point of view and make assumptions about people. You must put yourself in the shoes of the other person and think like them, and then take wise action. Never condemn or criticize people if they make mistakes. Instead, be empathetic towards them and console them if something goes wrong. There is a reason behind everyone’s behavior; we all are dealing with something. Being compassionate and empathetic towards other people helps in building and maintaining good relations within the team. An effective leader is not one who simply gives orders to people who are required to follow those orders. Instead, an effective leader works to establish trust among his followers; they must be able to feel comfortable communicating with their leader and trust the direction that he or she is leading them.
An effective leader cannot just think about himself and neglect his fellow people’s needs. He cannot be selfish and just think about his own benefit. As a leader, you must assess the needs of other people in your team and show appreciation to them for their valuable efforts. You can start developing this quality in your personal life by showing appreciation to those around you. People love to be shown appreciation for their efforts. It is a basic psychological need that, while not expressed enough, is very important to everyone.
Another way to serve others besides showing appreciation is by helping them explore their own potential. Just as you need help exploring your potential as a leader, your followers will benefit from assistance in exploring their potential, too. Helping others grow is a great and rewarding privilege. They will appreciate a leader who helps them flourish by focusing on their strengths and helps them improve on their shortcomings. Offering feedback and personalized training are great tools to assist in personal development.
Apart from these five qualities, there are many other qualities that constitute a good leader, such as confidence, accountability, humility, integrity, and courage. Each of these qualities should be part of your overall character. So, whether you are in college or your early career days, start to work on them! There are many ways in which you can develop your leadership skills; you can learn about self-development and leadership by reading books, watching documentaries, or even talking with leaders or entrepreneurs in your own community. The key to becoming a leader, yourself, is to listen to these people and take inspiration from their lives. This age is all about creating yourself. So, go ahead and establish a mindset that prepares you to deal with anything.
- 1. JAISWAL, USHA, and KARANAM N. RAO. 2019. “Leadership Lessons from Bhagavad Gita.” Dev Sanskriti Interdisciplinary International Journal 3 (July): 19–24. https://doi.org/10.36018/dsiij.v3i0.32.
- 2. “30 Leadership Lessons.” 2019. October 22, 2019. https://www.skipprichard.com/30-leadership-lessons.