Qualities Of Leadership

Leadership skills are learned by actually wanting to know how to inspire and to motivate people. Success at leadership means to lead people to do what you want even to act against their own best interests.

We were told in grade school by a small man with an endearing quality of caring about his students, our principal, that some people are born to lead and some to follow. He couldn’t explain his induction because it was more of a deduction from the generalization itself. The born leader comes into the world, is born that is, a leader. There are many leaders. What makes a person a good leader depends on what his followers expect.

In describing the qualities of a leader, you are making a judgement about a leader. Followers of a leader have expectations. If those expectations are not met by their leader; then, we can ask them what qualities their leader lacked that made them lose out on their expectations. Benito Mussolini was a leader. When Italy fell to the Allied Forces, their leader paid the price for not delivering what he promised that made them choose him as a leader. What makes a person a good leader is the innate sense of knowing what followers want to hear and promising them to get it.

A good leader knows his subjects. He understands without explanation their needs and expectations. A good leader verbally promises to help his followers to reach their goals and their expectations and to pay the price if they fail. That is not the ethical definition of a good leader. It is the reality check point of what makes a leader.

A leader rises from his own socio economic background. His sensitivity to his group is accepted without question and without the need of an entrance interview. The first attribute of a good leader is to know who your followers are and how to motivate them.

The mark of a leader is his ability to motivate people. A word that was used in the past for such leaders who could inspire people to follow him on whatever plan he proposed was charisma. A charismatic leader inspires people to put aside all personal concerns for themselves and to actually want even insist on helping their leader to achieve his concerns. How does that happen?

Charismatic attributes involve an emotional connection with people. If the connection were intellectual than one mind would ask for the logical imperative, why should I want to follow you? With an emotional connection, no questions are asked by the followers. Their connection is often called a sort of mesmerism. A blanket pulled by a David Copperfield who has never read Somerset Maugham but is capable of putting people in human bondage. Such attitude compelling obedience without even a question is the mark of a charismatic leader. For the rest of us who have to work at impelling people to obey our orders because of our position, we learn how to build leadership skill by learning how to inspire and motivate people

We learn to become the best of listeners. When people talk to us, we focus in on what they are saying. We do not let ourselves mentally fade away because they are boring. No follower is boring to a leader who has learned how to become a leader.

We learn to grab the point of opportunity to prove our leadership skills. In a crisis, we intervene at once as if guided by our superior abilities. And, we may have superior abilities. But there are those who are too timid to show their ability because they lack the desire to actually want to be of assistance unless asked.

We learn to build loyalties with people and to prove our loyalty by always being there with them without question. That is the most difficult part of being a leader, learning to keep your friends because of loyalty.

We learn not to discard our past friends by keeping up with our new friends. A leader can soon find himself without a following or worse yet without employment.

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Jane Thomas
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Posted on Apr 21, 2010