Monday, November 30, 2009


Seven Essential Qualities Of Leadership | Leadership Traits

You will have noticed that these qualities are very much anchored in particular fields. There may well be some commonality, but certainly the degrees to which the qualities are required will vary considerably. There are, however, some more generic or transferable leadership qualities that you should recognise in yourself – you will certainly see them in other leaders. They are set out in below. 

Qualities of leadership – across the board
  • Enthusiasm. Can you think of any leader who lacks enthusiasm? It is very hard to do so, isn’t it?
  • Integrity. This is the quality that makes people trust you. And trust is essential in all human relationships – professional or private. ‘Integrity’ means both personal wholeness and adherence to values outside yourself – especially goodness and truth.
  • Toughness. Leaders are often demanding people, uncomfortable to have around because their standards are high. They are resilient and tenacious. Leaders aim to be respected, but not necessarily popular.
  • Fairness. Effective leaders treat individuals differently but equally. They do not have favourites. They are impartial in giving rewards and penalties for performance.
  • Warmth. Cold fish do not make good leaders. Leadership involves your heart as well as your mind. Loving what you are doing and caring for people are equally essential.
  • Humility. This is an odd quality, but characteristic of the very best leaders. The opposite to humility is arrogance. Who wants to work for an arrogant manager? The signs of a good leader are a willingness to listen and a lack of an overweening ego.
  • Confidence. Confidence is essential. People will sense whether or not you have it. So developing self-confidence is always the preliminary to becoming a leader. But don’t let it become overconfidence, the first station on the track leading to arrogance.
Some readers may question the inclusion of integrity in this list. Are there not good leaders, such as Adolf Hitler, who totally lacked integrity? There is a useful distinction between good leaders and leaders for good. Whether or not Hitler was a good leader is a debatable matter – in some respects he was and in others he was not – but he was certainly not a leader for good.

But this is all a bit academic. For leadership that does not rest on the bedrock of integrity does not last: it always collapses, and usually sooner rather than later. Why? Because that is the way of human nature.
You can see that what you are is an important strand in your leadership. Remember the Zulu proverb, ‘I cannot hear what you are saying to me because you are shouting at me.’ This strand in your leadership is also one of the main paths up the mountain.
Now, you can develop all these qualities. You can build your self-confidence, discover new wells of enthusiasm and grow in integrity. But it all takes time.


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Haja Peer Mohamed H, Software Engineer by profession, Author, Founder and CEO of "bench3" you can connect with me on Twitter , Facebook and also onGoogle+

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