Find Your List of Leadership Qualities
If you Google “leadership qualities”, you will find countless results. Many were written by prestigious institutions, celebrities, or businessmen. But I argue that the best list is the one written by yourself. While those lists are inspiring, there is no one “correct” way to be a successful leader. Compiling your own list will:
- Encourage you to think more about what each quality means and why they are important.
- Help you find your own style of leadership.
- Serve as a behavioral guideline on your journey of self-development.
If you are determined to become a successful leader, start by coming up with your list of leadership principles.
My Leadership Principles
So here is my list. In my dictionary, a leader is someone who inspires and enables many others. There are many ways to be a leader — Winston Churchill and Pope Francis are both great leaders, but they are very different in personality, style, and ideas. So I organize my list in order of importance. The items higher on the list are essentials and the lower ones are more circumstantial.
- Charisma: a good leader can influence either large crowds or individuals on a personal level. To influence a large audience, a leader needs to be a role model representing an ideology followed by the audience. To develop charisma on a personal level, I recommend the book “The Charisma Myth”. The book identifies the three elements of charisma, power, warmth, and presence, and offers exercises to develop them.
- Make hard decisions and take responsibility. People are more comfortable with making suggestions or critiques because it is easy. But making decisions and taking responsibility for them is hard. A good leader shoulders this burden and takes responsibility for the group.
- Foresight: a follower sees what everyone else sees and does what is obvious. Leaders think ahead and lead the way toward uncharted territories. Leaders are pioneers.
- Have backbone: a leader emerges from the crowd because she is the one willing to challenge convention to do the right thing.
- Consistency: people follow those who are reliable. A good leader is trustworthy, his words consistent with every action, and he does not make excuses. Trust is often hard-earned and easily lost. If someone is often late to meetings, how can others trust him to deliver results?
- Calm and logical: stress comes naturally with great responsibility. A good leader keeps a level head and makes logical decisions in these times.
- Ethics: ethical practices, good reputation, and happy customers are keys to long-term success.
- Growth Mindset: a great leader adapts to the change in the world by developing herself and her followers. (See my article below).
The Leadership Pitch
Can you describe the traits of a good leader in under a minute? Despite reading many resources on leadership, I couldn’t provide a coherent response when asked by a friend. But now, after listing and ranking my list of leadership principles, I combine them into a “leadership pitch”:
A good leader is charismatic — he can influence a crowd or individuals on a personal level. A good leader makes logical decisions and takes responsibilities, so people trust and follow him. A good leader thinks and sees ahead, as he leads others to a brighter future.
I hope this article inspired you to do what I have done. Keeping my leadership principles in mind is gradually helping me to develop these qualities.