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Leadership Qualities to Look For

By: Hsin-Yi Cohen BSc, MA, MSt - Updated: 20 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Leadership Qualities People Team Good

Since leading by example if one of the most powerful forms of leadership, there are certain qualities which are important for leaders to have in order to produce them in their teams or organisation; for example, a leader must first show confidence, open-mindedness or enthusiasm, if he or she wishes to produce these qualities in their team. Therefore, it is important if you want to be a good leader – or if you’re wanting to select a good leader for a team – that you look for and develop certain qualities.

To Be A Good Leader

You should show honesty and integrity – leaders can only inspire and motivate followers if they have gained their trust and respect – and to do this, they have to show honesty and integrity. Someone who never veers from inner values, no matter what outside pressures, stresses or temptations are on offer is a leader to be respected and trusted.

In addition, leaders who show integrity in behaviour, such as honest dealings, predictable reactions, fair judgments and well-controlled emotions, are also more likely to gain the respect and loyalty of the team.

You should be open-minded and approachable – people respond best to leaders who are always open-minded and can suspend judgment while listening fully to the other side give their story. This quality promotes mutual respect.

In addition, it is important for a leader to be open to new ideas that are put forward by other members within the team, even if they are new ways of doing things which do not conform to the conventional– not only does this make each team member feel more valued but it also encourages creativity within the team and leads the whole group to be more effective and successful.

You should show dedication – showing persistence and single-minded determination in the face of obstacles is an important quality for a good leader to have. Leaders who show commitment and dedication will inspire their teams to also do the same.

You should share glory with the team – a good leader will always give credit where it is due and ensure that any credit for success is spread through the team or organisation as widely as possible. It is said that: “To spread the fame and take the blame is a hallmark of effective leadership"

You should be fair and just – Fair treatment of followers will reward the leader with loyalty and dedication. Consistency and adherence to a moral code are important leadership qualities. This helps to gain trust and respect through consistent fair dealings with all. Good leaders avoid jumping to conclusions based on incomplete evidence – they always check all the facts and hear everyone out before passing judgment.

You should be able to stand up to criticism – good leaders have the confidence to follow their vision and not lose focus when confronted with criticism. They will listen to critics and assess their situation but they will ultimately make decisions for the good of the team and not just to please the critics.

You should be assertive – being assertive doesn’t mean that you should be bossing everyone around all the time – it simply means being able to communicate your expectations in a clear and diplomatic manner, so that other team members understand their responsibilities and will fulfil them.

You should show a sense of humour – leadership may be a serious business but a good leader will always retain a sense of humour. Humour can be used to energise followers and also helps to build bonds and defuse any potential hostility within the group.

You should have good communications skills – one of the most important qualities for a good leader to have is good communication skills. In fact, you could say that this is the most important quality of all because even if he or she has all the other qualities, an inability to communicate well means that he or she will never make an effective leader.

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