“She lacks staff management and relationship skill. Gosh! She knows it all” A former colleague of mine was quizzing me on my reason for leaving a job. While I tried to respond, she was quick to interrupt with her idea of the reason most staff (including herself) had left the firm. I chuckled.
However, this response appears to have gotten engraved in my mind. Just as I quit my job, I discovered a job opportunity which had a great deal of leadership attached to it. For someone from a purely finance background, playing with figures on Excel and the like had been more of my forte. But am I worried? NO. There is one definition of leadership that has made me look forward to this opportunity to lead;
Leadership is a process by which a person influences others to accomplish an objective and directs the organisation in a way that makes it more cohesive and coherent
You may have noticed from the description of leadership above that leadership embodies most of the other skills on the list of Employability Skills (that is, communication, team work, problem solving etc)
What makes a Good Leader?
Integrity is the integration of outward actions and inner values. A person of integrity is the same on the outside and on the inside. Such an individual can be trusted because he or she never veers from inner values, even when it might be expeditious to do so. A leader must have the trust of followers and therefore must display integrity.Honest dealings, predictable reactions, well-controlled emotions, and an absence of tantrums and harsh outbursts are all signs of integrity. A leader who is centred in integrity will be more approachable by followers.
Dedication means spending whatever time or energy is necessary to accomplish the task at hand. A leader inspires dedication by example, doing whatever it takes to complete the next step toward the vision. By setting an excellent example, leaders can show followers that there are no nine-to-five jobs on the team, only opportunities to achieve something great.
Magnanimity means giving credit where it is due. A magnanimous leader ensures that credit for successes is spread as widely as possible throughout the company. Conversely, a good leader takes personal responsibility for failures. This sort of reverse magnanimity helps other people feel good about themselves and draws the team closer together. To spread the fame and take the blame is a hallmark of effective leadership. Leaders with humility recognise that they are no better or worse than other members of the team. A humble leader is not self-effacing but rather tries to elevate everyone. Leaders with humility also understand that their status does not make them a god. Mahatma Gandhi is a role model for Indian leaders, and he pursued a “follower-centric” leadership role.
Openness means being able to listen to new ideas, even if they do not conform to the usual way of thinking. Good leaders are able to suspend judgement while listening to others’ ideas, as well as accept new ways of doing things that someone else thought of. Openness builds mutual respect and trust between leaders and followers, and it also keeps the team well supplied with new ideas that can further its vision.
Creativity is the ability to think differently, to get outside of the box that constrains solutions. Creativity gives leaders the ability to see things that others have not seen and thus lead followers in new directions. The most important question that a leader can ask is, “What if … ?” Possibly the worst thing a leader can say is, “I know this is a dumb question … “
Fairness means dealing with others consistently and justly. A leader must check all the facts and hear everyone out before passing judgement. He or she must avoid leaping to conclusions based on incomplete evidence. When people feel they that are being treated fairly, they reward a leader with loyalty and dedication.
Assertiveness is not the same as aggressiveness. Rather, it is the ability to clearly state what one expects so that there will be no misunderstandings. A leader must be assertive to get the desired results. Along with assertiveness comes the responsibility to clearly understand what followers expect from their leader.Many leaders have difficulty striking the right amount of assertiveness, according to a study in the February 2007 issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, published by the APA (American Psychological Association).It seems that being underassertive or overassertive may be the most common weakness among aspiring leaders.
A sense of humour is vital to relieve tension and boredom, as well as to defuse hostility. Effective leaders know how to use humour to energise followers. Humour is a form of power that provides some control over the work environment. And simply put, humour fosters good camaraderie.
Intrinsic traits such as intelligence, good looks, height and so on are not necessary to become a leader. Anyone can cultivate the proper leadership traits.
List curled from The Top 10 Leadership Qualities
Do you have it in you to be a good leader? Can you inspire people around you to achive set objective?