A Leader is like a Captain in a team. He guides, direct and influences others to achieve a specific goal and obtain maximum satisfaction.
The success and progress of every state or nation, community, business or organization lies with its leadership. Elect the wrong person as a leader, and wait for the disaster ahead.
A good leader is like a Shepherd that tend the flocks. He leads by example and inspires his followers to collaborate with him to achieve a common goal.
You can’t talk about prominent leaders without mentioning Martin Luther King, Jr., Thomas Jefferson, Elon Musk, Warren Bennis, Mahatma Gandhi, Zik of Africa, Nelson Mandela, etc. These were men of impact, worthy of emulation.
A true leader is known by his emotional intelligence, his ability to solve problems, and his willingness to assume full responsibility.
What actually is leadership all about?
What is Leadership?
According to Gladys N. Chukwuemeka “Leadership is a sacrifice and a selfless service. It is a process by which an executive or a manager directs, guides and influences the work of others to attain a specific goal.”
It can also be seen as the act of influencing people, for them to strive willingly toward the achievement of group goal.
John Maxwell defined leadership as ” influence – nothing more, nothing less.”
“A Leader is one who sees more than others see, who sees farther than others see, and who sees before others see.” Leroy Eimes
Here are more definitions of leadership.
16 Qualities of A Good Leader
Are you in a leadership position? Or about to become one? Here are the characteristics of a good leader.
- Definiteness of decision
- Definiteness of Plans
- Empathy and Understanding
- Willingness to assume full responsibility
- Learning agility
- Good Communication
All great leaders have one thing in common, and that is; humility. Humble leaders make the best leadership.
Humility is the essential quality of a good leader. The golden rule of leadership states that “Leading others is a privilege that is earned, not a right.” Therefore you must serve with meekness.
For you to govern or direct your organization effectively, you must learn to serve and not to be served. Leadership is all about rendering essential services.
So, as the Head of your department, a Governor or President, lead to transform, and not to dominate. Do not be prone to flamboyance or grandiosity. But serve with humility.
Probity is a core quality that every good leader must-have. The foundation of every strong leadership is integrity. An effective leader stands by his words without compromise.
He does not make false promises just to be voted to power, and at the end deviate from his plans.
As one who pilots the affairs of your company or organization, you should earn the trust of your followers by your good conduct. Lead by example. Do not fail to fulfil your manifestos when you come to power.
Fair play is another core qualities of a good leader.
A good leader is not biased in his dealings with his team.
He is known for his problem solving skills and fair attitude towards everyone.
An efficient leader stands for what is right, respect other people’s rights, and make sure that justice and equity prevail.
He understands that nothing remarkable will ever be achieved with partiality.
No leader can command and retain the respect of his followers without a sense of fairness and justice.
This leadership trait will earn you trust. Every effective leader should be able to earn his team’s trust and loyalty. You can only achieve that by giving a sound judgment. Avoid showing favouritism in your leadership.
The man who cannot control himself can never control others. Good leadership calls for self-control over certain things like:
- Excessive intake of Alcohol
- Your emotions; anger, jealousy, passion and other negative attitudes that will influence your followers.
This inhibitory control requires self-discipline. As the leader, you must discipline yourself if you must win the loyalty of your followers.
5. Definiteness of Decision:
This significant quality of a good leader shouldn’t be overlooked.
A man who wavers in his decisions, shows that he is not sure of himself, and cannot lead others successfully.
Great leaders are decisive. They know how to help the state, citizens, organization, employees, stakeholders, and their clients by making good decisions that will favour them.
This representative capacity helps them to decide on what should and shouldn’t be done in order to keep the organization moving.
6. Definiteness of Plans:
“The successful leader must plan his work, and work for his plan. A leader who moves by guesswork, without practical, definite plans, is comparable to a ship without a rudder. Sooner or later he will land on the rocks.” Napoleon Hill.
A good leader should have a definite plan and objectives.
7. Empathy and Understanding:
The successful leader must be in sympathy with his followers. He must understand them and their problems.
Being a good leader is all about caring or catering for your followers. No follower wishes to be dominated by a callous leader.
Empathy is a core leadership trait you need to become a successful leader. It helps you to understand the feelings of your members, their wants and act accordingly.
To be an empathetic leader, you must perceptive. That is the only way to be aware of other’s feelings and thinking. Be appreciative and have the willingness to hear and understand them.
Being accountable as a leader is about being answerable to your actions and decisions, and that of the people you lead.
As a leader, you should be willing and able to give reports to your followers whenever you are called upon.
For instance, as the Manager of a company, you should be able to give an account of the expenses you made. Be honest enough to provide a constructive feedback.
Great leaders empower their team members to work together to achieve maximum productivity and organizational success.
As a leader, it is expected of you to give your members equal decision making opportunities. This will allow you to use their power of judgment and expertise to find solutions to the organization’s problems.
Give everyone the opportunity to bring his/her skills and talents to the table. Encourage and motivate them to participate fully in the organization’s proceedings by unleashing the positive traits in them.
You can do that by empowering them. It will help strengthen the team.
No leadership can survive without a courageous leader.
As a leader, you ought to develop an act of unwavering courage based upon knowledge of self, and of one’s occupation. It is all about knowing your competencies and leadership qualities.
No team member wishes to follow a leader who lacks self-confidence and courage. No intelligent person will be ruled by such a leader for a long time.
Great leaders have a sense of self-awareness and self-esteem. They believe in their ability to make a change notwithstanding the circumstances surrounding them.
Self-confidence is very vital because it gives every leader the wing to take risks and accomplish great goals.
It equally helps them to take decisions and solve organizational problems.
The success of every organization or nation depends on the foresight of the leader.
Good leaders are full of visions and plan to execute. They work hard for the good of the company and keep themselves updated with time and change.
A visionary leader decides and make arrangements for the task ahead of him. He gets inspired by what their company will become and work towards it.
Cooperation is another core trait of a good leader.
The successful leader must understand and apply the principle of cooperative effort. He should be able to induce his followers to collaborate with him.
Leadership calls for power, and power calls for cooperation.
A good leader encourages his followers to work as a team in order to achieve a common goal.
13. Willingness to assume full responsibility:
Leadership is a call to serve. And that service should be rendered effeciently.
Good leaders assume responsibility for the mistakes and shortcoming of their followers. They work harder to see that the duty assigned to them as the leader is properly executed.
They don’t wait to be told or reminded of what to do. Rather, they avail or make themselves available for the service of the masses.
Resilient leaders have the ability to restrain and respond to disruptive changes. They know what to do in a tough time.
Also, they can adapt to any circumstance and has the ability to recover quickly from difficulties.
15. Learning agility:
The agility attributes helps a leader to respond to organizational changes and uncertainty. They make quick decisons and take proper actions in times of crisis.
Great leaders have the ability to think, understand and act quickly in a time of emergency. If the available resources are not enough to tackle the problem, they find a new strategy to fight the storm overnight.
16. Excellent Communication Skills:
Good communication is the key to a good leadership.
Effective leaders are good orators. They choose their words wisely and knows how to put accross their message to avoid hurting other people’s feelings.
They understand the importance of having a good communication skill. For that reason, they allow others to express their thoughts and ideas. They listen carefully to their grievances and try to understand the complexities of human nature.
Characteristics of a Bad Leadership
An ineffective leader has the direct opposite skills of a good leadership. Some of those qualities include:
- Lack of accountability: This weakness of leadership results in bad governance. An ineffective leader is slow to adapt to changes and unable to give a reasonable account when called upon.
- Injustice: Bad leaders have little or no interest in fair play. They disregard their followers’ rights. They take bribs and perverts justice. No room for fair hearing. They are bias leaders.
- Lack of integrity: Bad leaders make empty promises and fail to keep them.
- Poor vision for the future: Ineffective leaders are short-sighted. They lack the ability to see the future and plan ahead.
- Unwillingness to assume full responsibility: They view leadership position as an opportunity to be served and not to serve. Therefore, they lack the initiative to perform their roles as the leader.
6 Causes of Failure in Leadership
Why do some leaderships fail? Learn the reasons below:
1. Inability to organize details: Efficient leadership calls for ability to organize and master details. No genuine leader is ever “too busy” to do something which may be required of him in his capacity as a Leader.
2. Unwillingness to render humble service: Great leaders are willing to perform any sort of labour when occasion demands. “The greatest among you shall be the servant of all” is a truth all able leaders observe and respect.
3. Fear of competition from followers: The leader who fears that one of his followers may take his position may soon realize that fear.
4. Lack of vision: Without imagination, the leader is incapable of meeting emergencies, and of creating plans by which to guide his followers efficiently.
5. Selfishness: The leader who claims all the honour for himself is sure to be met by resentment. Great leaders don’t claim honours for themselves.
6. Disloyalty: The leader who is not loyal to his trust, and to his team cannot maintain that leadership position for a long period.
Below are the various leadership techniques.
- Autocratic leadership style: An autocratic leader does not seek, consult or decide with his members and subordinates before executing any plans.
- Persuasive leadership style: This is a semi-autocratic style. A leader who applies this style of leadership has a way of convincing others to follow him because of his personality.
- Enlightenment leadership style: This technique focuses on the “idea of teamwork.” They believe that two heads are better than one.
- Leadership by full and undiluted involvement: This kind of leadership believes that everyone can learn from each other. For instance, they believe that subordinates can easily learn from their supervisors, the supervisors can also learn from their subordinates.
The importance of leadership whether at the national or organizational level cannot be overemphasized.
A house without a solid foundation will actually collapse in times of storms. Likewise any business, without a good business leader, or an organization without a competent leader.