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What does it to be a good leader? A leader is that person who uses social, organizational, intellectual or such authority to command a group, organization, or country (Cragg & Spurgeon, 2007). Generally, a leader’s primary responsibility is to enlist the contribution of his/her subjects to accomplish a common task. Therefore, a leader should possess qualities that help him/her organize, command and realize the objective of the group or organization (Cragg & Spurgeon, 2007).
A good leader needs to be both proactive and reactive (Gachte, Nosenzo, Renner & Sefton, 2008). This means that the leader should think several steps ahead of their subjects, so that they can see problems before they arise and hence develop counter mechanisms for them. This also means that a good leader should be flexible and adaptable, so as to fit into whatever new unexpected or uncomfortable situations. The leader also needs to be initiative- he/she should be the source of ideas and plans that benefit the group (Gachte et al, 2008).
Communication is one of the most important pillars in teamwork. Therefore, an exceptional leader is that who knows how to communicate effectively. This entails having good listening skills, asking the right questions as regularly as possible, understanding the subjects’ needs and remitting directions and ideas in the best way possible (Cragg & Spurgeon, 2007). A leader who not only values feedback, but also acts according to it is most likely to produce good results (Cragg & Spurgeon, 2007). A good leader also needs to display confidence and enthusiasm for his/her job, thus causing the people under to follow in the same spirit. That is an important form of non-verbal communication for a good leader.
Although the leader is the most powerful member in a group, the effective leader acknowledges the inputs and efforts of each and every member (Gachte et al, 2008). A good leader will respect all his subjects and treat them without discrimination or favoritism. In the same line, a good leader has an open mind so that they can weigh and consider all possible fruitful options even from junior members. In case a member of the team does well in achieving the groups’ mission, an exceptional leader will recognize and reward them, while motivating others to work even harder (Gachte et al, 2008).
A common saying goes, “a good leader leads by example”. A good leader is not a boss, but a servant with the others. For this reason, a good leader should be resourceful and instrumental in the actual implementation of the organization or team’s tasks (Wills, 1994). Therefore, the leader requires proper skills, training and education to match the duties and responsibilities of the respective leadership position. Moreover, an effective leader should be well-organized, punctual and always ready for his/her duties (Wills, 1994).
Authority and leadership are two qualities that are hardly separable. Although a good leader is a servant too, it is impossible to lead without authority over other members of the organization. A good leader understands their power such as to delegate duties, to allow or deny certain actions by the members, to reward or penalize a member, etc. (Wills, 1994). However, a leader should not use the authority vested upon them for their own good, but rather for the good of the whole organization.
There are numerous other qualities that characterize a good leader, but the above are some of the basic good leadership traits. As discussed, good leadership revolves around personal endowment effective teamwork- only that the leader should understand place at the top of an organization, group or team.
Cragg, R., & Spurgeon, R. (2007). Competencies of a good leader. How To Succeed As A Leader. Ed. By Chambers R Etc. Redclif Publishing, Oxford-Newyork, US, 33–40.
Gachter, S., Nosenzo, D., Renner, E., & Sefton, M. (2008). Who makes a good leader? Social preferences and leading-by-example.
Wills, G. (1994). What Makes a Good Leader?. The Atlantic Monthly, 273(4), 63–80.