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What makes a good leader

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader”

— John Quincy Adams

Whether you are a multinational CEO, an entrepreneur or even the abbot of a monastery who has leadership responsibilities, it won’t work well for you as a leader until actionable strategies for the good of the company or community are in place, your vision is clearly articulated and you become a team player with excellent communication skills.

It is the ability to work with those who are different from us and the capacity to monitor our own personal or professional development needs while having the requisite self-confidence that makes leaders stand out. Leadership is not just doing the right things; instead it is doing things right.

To translate their vision into reality, leaders become role models encouraging growth and development of others in the group. Even when you want to do something yourself, letting others do it because they wanted to, is a sure sign of good leadership.

The key aspect of leadership is influence, not authority. It is best cultivated by example, which inspires others. Scriptural wisdom demands that a good leader first become a good servant, because the way up points down. The glamour of position doesn’t matter as much as energy, passion and empathy.

Great leaders have clear goals and know how to accomplish it. Integrity matters in leadership and at its core is truthfulness. With integrity, there is nothing to fear because there is nothing to hide, and doing what is right bears no guilt. It is never wrong to do the right thing.

Essential humility in a leader is the self-confidence to recognise the value of others without feeling threatened by them. It is also the willingness to admit when one is wrong and that you don’t have all the answers. The more egos are controlled, the more we become realistic and learn how to listen.

Courage is the most identifiable trait of leadership which is taking risks without absolute assurance of success. “Courage is rightly considered the foremost of virtues for upon it all others depend,” Winston Churchill said. Because there is no certainty in life or business, every commitment made and every action taken entails risks of some kind.

Leadership is the ability to get people to work for you because they want to and gaining cooperation is by getting along with everyone. “If your imagination leads you to understand how quickly people grant your requests, when those requests appeals to their self -interest, you can have practically anything you go after,” Napoleon Hill said.

Leaders focus on results knowing what must be achieved by them and others. The ability to focus and make others remain focused on valuable use of time is crucial for performance. Great leaders focus on strengths more than weaknesses. Successful people stay positively focused on past successes more than past failures. Knowing the next steps to get closer to fulfilment of goals will greatly help. Leaders who

excel are outstanding strategic planners, looking ahead and anticipating trends well ahead of competitors.

Leaders are different from followers and the leader-follower interaction determines which qualities followers develop as a consequence. Leaders who are task-oriented focus on detail. Personality traits of agreeableness, consciousness, extroversion, openness and self-monitoring characterise a leader with a strong self-image. The dawn of the 21st century saw the development of integrated theories of “person-organisation-fit”, in which the structure of the organisation is compared to the personality of its leader.

Successful organisations tend to employ those with a range of soft leadership criteria that fits the organisations internal environment. Cognitive ability, personality type, simulation, role play and multi-rater assessments are thought to be the best predictors of effective leadership.

Superior intelligence with a high IQ is vital but emotional intelligence (EI) trumps regular IQ by a wide margin when it comes to leadership. Basically, emotional intelligence is understanding emotions and responding accordingly, overcoming stress of the moment and being aware of how words and actions affect others. It is widely known that EI is a key component in good leadership and aspiring leaders benefit from training to improve their EI.

Leaders lacking emotional intelligence become unable to gauge the needs and expectations of those they lead and a leader who reacts emotionally without any filters creates mistrust. Leaders are not born, they are made and good leaderships should grow more leaders like them.

docgjohn@aol.com


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Printable version | Sep 19, 2021 10:56:29 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/what-makes-a-good-leader/article29477009.ece

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