It has been quite a while since I last wrote a post on here. Over the Christmas and New Year period I decided to devote my time to family festivities. I hope you all had a good Christmas and New Year if you celebrate them, even if you do not, I still hope you have had a good time. Well, the festivities are now well and truly over for another year and so it is back to work for 2009
A what a year it seems to be. Rarely can I recall a year starting amid such uncertainty. The economic downturn and other financial difficulties that face much of the western world, have put a different complexion on the future. It appears to be a period of uncertainty, anxiety and worry for many people.
I feel it is the responsibility of us all to help get ourselves through the difficult times that may lay ahead. It is clear, though, that some people may have more skills or knowledge to help achieve this and some people may be better placed to guide or lead people through the times ahead. Sadly, and perhaps cynically, it is not always the people who have the best skills who are in the best positions to lead in dificult times.
It is this thought that has led me to ponder what it is that makes a good leader. What characteristics or traits does a good leader need to have? It often seems in our modern world that one of the most important things that a leader neds to have is a publicity ‘machine’; an organization or company that will present him and his views in the best possible way to the general public. Putting publicity or ‘spin doctoring’ aside, what true characteristics or personality traits does a good leader need to have?
Of course, a leader is not always the leader of a country or a ‘movement’. A leader can be in so many different walks of life, be it business, entertainment, sport, politics, charities etc.. But, in whatever field, it seems there are these certain traits that characterize a good leader.
1 A Vision
I do believe that a good leader needs to have a vision or a philosophy. He, or she, needs to have a personal belief or a set of principles to guide them toward a successful outcome. I believe also that a good leader needs to have the ability to convey his vision to others and to win them over to his side and get them to support the vision.
Sometimes, we have seen leaders guided by a corrupt vision or a dogma that leads them to act against the people they claim to lead. People such as Hitler or Stalin may fall into this category. But often we see leaders who have a beneficial vision, such as Gandhi. Good leaders will often eschew personal gain in favor of seeing their vision become reality.
A good leader would appear to be one who is inspiring; that is to say that they inspire people to follow them and support their aims. Their inspiration inspires other people to achieve and bring about change.
When you think of some leaders, such as captains of sports teams, you can see that they, themselves, may not be the greatest or most skillful of proponents. It is their ability to lead others and to get others to produce or perform their best which makes for a good leader or captain. It is their ability to get people to work together, to act as a team and to use their special skills for the benefit of a bigger aim which distinguishes a good leader.
3. Value Others
Leaders make other people produce their best, either as individuals or collectively. A good leader makes other people feel valued and genuinely values their worth and their contributions. As well as having a vision, a good leader is also a ‘people person’; they know how to influence people, how to win people over and how to make them feel valued.
4. Takes Action
A leader is a person who takes action, either directly or by encouraging and directing others. A leader is not a person who sits back and does nothing, a leader is not a person who waits for something to happen; unless waiting is what is required in order to prepare for acting at the correct moment.
A leader has confidence. They have confidence in themselves, they have confidence in their vision. Perhaps above all, they have confidence in other people and in their skills or abilities. They convey this confidence in their words and their actions and this confidence is distilled into those who work with them.
Ultimately a leader creates change where change is needed but that change is often brought about by encouraging other people to see the value of the change and the necessity of that change. Often it is the skills and actions of other people that bring about the change rather than the particular actions of the leader. It is as if a good leader can identify and support those people who have the necessary skills to bring about the changes that are required.
So there you are, 5 traits that, in my opinion, make a good leader. In this time of economic and social difficulties, do take a look around you. Can you see people in your life, your work, your society who have these qualities? Ask yourself, what can you do to support them?
Related articles by Zemanta
- What You Need to be Successful
- Goals and Mind mapping
- Ancient Philosophy and Modern Personal Development
Possibly Related Posts: