What Makes a Leader?
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When asked to define the ideal leader, different people would have different definitions.
For some, it’s the right use of effective management skills and for others, the traditional traits associated with leadership such as intelligence, determination, will-power, and vision form integral components of effective leadership. And, then there is a set of people who feel personal qualities like analytical skills, technical skills and emotional intelligence possessed by an individual determines the effectiveness of a leader.
The Most Essential Qualities of a Leader
Even though there is a long list of qualities that are expected out of a leader, there are always a few that are more important than the remaining ones.
The individuals may possess a great deal of analytical and technical skills but what may distinguish them from adequate performers is their emotional intelligence.
According to Dr. Swati Gulati (MD, MS), “An individual might be equipped with the best training and qualifications in the field of his/ her work, but still not be a great leader.” According to her, emotional intelligence is one of the key attributes that has helped her gain a lot of professional recognition in the field of Medicine.
However, Radhika Sharma, Associate Editor at School Live, has a completely different take on what makes a leader. For her, its self-confidence or faith in one’s self and ability that determines the leadership qualities of an individual.
Besides emotional intelligence and self-belief, there is a lot more that determines the effectiveness of a leader like the ability to listen to others with undivided attention. When individuals start listening single-mindedly to others, they encourage positive change and start building a lot of trusts. CEO Alan Mulally on arriving at the Ford refined the culture in his company by changing a manner in which the performance of team members would get evaluated. This was done with a primary objective of shifting the executives on his team from talkers to listeners.
Another highly valued and respected quality of a leader is Integrity. The process of becoming a leader starts by saying things that will be done and then doing exactly the same things that were said before. This is one of the most crucial management skills individuals need to attain in order to become leaders as it is one of those very few skills that will actually help them build trust around their team. And this happens by demonstrating the courage to stay on the chosen path even when the going gets tough.
Some Final Words
Leaders are not born, they are made. and those who become leaders are the ones who are willing to do whatever it takes to succeed and get better at whatever they do. They are the ones who are always on the lookout for ways that can help them take their game to the next level.