What is leadership?
Leadership can be described as the ability of an individual to influence, motivate, and enable others to contribute toward the effectiveness and success of an organization or group of which they are members. A person who therefore has this ability is a leader.
What qualities does a leader possess?
Leaders possess a number of common qualities.
- Self-awareness: Knowledge of your own values, passions, skills, strengths and weaknesses, an ability to admit and learn from mistakes and to seek information to fill knowledge gaps.
- Integrity: A strong sense of "what is right" and a demonstration of ethical practices that sets the tone for others. A commitment to teaching by example.
- Courage: The strength to act in accordance with your own values and the greater good despite pressures pushing you in other directions. The ability to put the cause before the desire to be popular.
- Confidence: A belief in your ability to meet most challenges that come your way.
- Vision: A strong sense of where you are going as a person and where you think society, your community and your organization should be going – and how it might get there.
- Enthusiasm: A lively interest in the people, issues and events around you, a feeling of excitement about the possibilities, and the energy to guide them towards fruition.
- Innovation: The ability to "think outside the box;" take risks and develop new and effective solutions to old and emerging problems.
- Wisdom: Intelligence coupled with insight and empathy, as opposed to raw intelligence.
- Adaptability: A willingness to be flexible and to respond quickly and effectively to changing circumstances, along with a commitment to continual learning – formal and informal – and the ability to put that learning into practice.
- Strong inter-personal skills: An ability to interact and work harmoniously with others, while being prepared to take on individual responsibilities.
- Effective communication: A willingness and ability to listen to and understand the thoughts, ideas and concerns of others and to clearly communicate your own. A vision is nothing if it can't be sold to others.
- Belief in others: The desire to build the capabilities of others, praise them where appropriate, go into bat for them when appropriate, provide them with helpful feedback and motivate them to do their best.
- Peer respect: An ability to inspire respect, allowing a person to capably lead discussions, maintain discipline and encourage the contribution of others.
- Insight: The ability to see the big picture, a strong sense the stage attained by followers and intuits problems before they arise or before they become insurmountable.
- Sense of humour: The ability to laugh at yourself and relieve tense or stressful situations with humour
- Competence: Others are unlikely to follow the lead of a person who does not appear to know what s/he is doing.
- Delegation skills: A willingness to trust others and cede some responsibility.
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