Whether it is a large business organization or a small business, leaders play an important role in every business development phase. They revolutionize the performance of different departments of an organization.
These leaders or heads work as a pivot around which the whole organization or business revolves. According to research, organizational success is directly related to good leadership qualities.
Leaders are not only present in an organization but also every phase of our lives. In our school, the leaders of each class are the class monitors. Similarly, there are leaders for different houses of the school. The teachers are also the leaders of their students.
Hence, leadership is an important quality without which success is difficult to achieve. Leadership helps to direct and manage a specific group of people. Now let us have a look at the meaning of leadership in detail.
What Is Leadership?
Leadership is the process of influencing the behavior and activities of a group of people. The process of influencing is conducted to achieve a particular set of goals and objectives in a given time.
A leader is an individual who is the head of a group. They guide the efforts and activities of the people included in this group. The people in the group are known as the followers of the leader.
The leader influences their followers in a way that helps them to accomplish a set of goals willingly.
In other words, we can define leadership as a process of securing cooperation among people. This cooperation is secured based on a healthy interaction between the leader and the followers. The positive results of interaction depend on the interpersonal relations between the leader and the followers.
Moreover, the leader’s social and communication skills help them achieve favorable results after an interaction. The leader is supposed to guide their followers. This guidance should help followers to achieve both group and individual goals.
With practical leadership qualities, an individual can compel the subordinates to work with enthusiasm and confidence. They influence people to achieve mutual objectives and goals.
But the entire process of influencing is done in a way that helps both the leader and the followers to gain maximum satisfaction. This means the followers’ willingness to perform the leader’s orders is a crucial aspect of leadership.
Now let us have a look at other features of leadership.
1. Existence of Followers
Leadership is possible only under the presence of followers. You cannot become a leader unless and until you have a group of people who want to follow your orders and commands.
A leader receives power and authority only from different people who accept the individual as their leader.
2. Interpersonal Relationship
There is an interpersonal relationship between the leader and their followers. This is because the leader needs to interact with two or more persons. This interaction is done to influence the people to achieve a mutual objective or goal.
3. Continuous Process
Leadership is a continuous or ongoing process. This means a leader needs to communicate with their group continuously. Constant communication helps to secure the willing cooperation of the followers.
4. Based on A Particular Situation
The process of leadership is based on a particular situation. The performance and style of a leader may differ from case to case.
For example, a leader may be required to be more strict in a particular situation. Similarly, they may be required to be lenient in another situation.
5. Dynamic Process
Leadership is a dynamic process because a leader needs to adapt to the dynamic trends of the environment. A leader should always learn to go along with the ever-changing or modified conditions of the environment.
6. Reciprocal Relationship
This relation between a leader and their followers is reciprocal. This means both parties exercise some kind of influence on each other.
So these are some of the features present in leadership. These features help to differentiate leadership from management. Sometimes people may create confusion between these two words.
Leadership is different from management in several ways. The management is a superior-subordinate relationship. This relationship arises within an organizational structure. But leadership can arise within or even outside a corporate structure.
For example, there are informal groups that have a leader without any managers. This means that leadership can arise within both formal and informal groups. But management can arise only in organized and formal groups.
Hence, a person may be a leader but not a manager. The employees need the guidance of such a leader to achieve their objectives. Similarly, a manager may not be a leader. This happens when this person is unable to gain the trust and confidence of his followers or subordinates.
Qualities of A Good Leader
A leader must possess several qualities. These qualities help them to achieve the willing cooperation of the subordinates. So, let us have a look at the different leadership qualities.
1. Sound Physique
Sound physique refers to a healthy body and good physical fitness. A good leader should always have a sound physique. This helps the leader to perform work activities with tremendous vigor and stamina.
With a good physical personality, endurance and vitality, a leader can perform all the tasks. A leader with a sound physique also motivates the subordinates for the same.
For example, a leader does not have a sound physique. They become ill more often. Due to this, the leader does not come to the office regularly. In this way, they cannot influence or motivate their employees and secure their willing cooperation to perform tasks. Hence, the main aim of a leader is destroyed.
A leader should always have the virtue of intelligence. Intelligent people can easily examine flaws and problems with the right perspective. With their capabilities, they can easily find a solution to such problems.
Intelligent people also have the power to analyze the pros and cons of their activities in particular situations. Hence, the leaders should have a mature outlook with a blend of a logical mind. A knowledgeable and intelligent person can only have the power to influence subordinates and instruct them.
For example, there comes a situation when a leader faces a shortage of team members due to their absence from a task. But the leader is not intelligent enough to find the solution to this problem and search for an alternative. In this case, the person is not competent enough for the role of a leader.
Integrity is one of the most crucial virtues of a leader. It is the foundation of a good leader who is sincere and honest. A leader should always stand for the right principles and beliefs. They should be a role model to the subordinates in terms of values and ethics.
A good leader always tends to inspire subordinates with his ethics and morals, even in difficult situations. They do not compromise with hard work and avoids choosing shortcuts to achieve the objectives.
Let us understand this with the help of an example. Due to time management problems, the leader orders the subordinates to copy the ideas from their competitor.
The subordinates are supposed to modify the project of the competitor and present it in their way. But two days before, the leader had advised the subordinates always to be honest and hard-working.
Now the leader is opting for a shortcut and going against their principles. Hence, such a person is not a good leader.
A leader should have the courage to initiate the work activities and influence the subordinates. They should not wait for the opportunities to come on the way.
Instead, the leader should grab the opportunities and make the best use of them. With their tactful skills and courage, they can even give birth to different opportunities in different situations.
For example, there comes a situation when a group of individuals can get a particular project. This is possible only if the group leader is ready to show their curiosity and willingness for the project. But the leader does not show any initiative to take up the project. This results in the loss of the entire group.
5. Innovation and Creativity
An innovative and creative leader is a person who can think out of the box. The unique ideas of such an individual can help the group to soar to great heights. With their creativity, a leader can find out solutions for different problems in a unique way.
But an innovative leader is not just a creative person who provides thought-provoking ideas. Instead, they are also an individual who provides their group with the freedom to give ideas.
They can help people who cannot provide their ideas due to fear and insecurity. Such leaders are always ready to hear new ideas from the subordinates. They can actively listen to the subordinates’ ideas and use them to better the entire group.
Hence, an innovative leader helps the subordinates to realize their importance in the group. The subordinates feel more respected and can provide better ideas to the leader.
For example, a group receives a project. The group has to submit this project by creating a PowerPoint presentation. But the leader is not much aware of PowerPoint. In this case, they receive ideas from the group. This helps the group to perform better by using the mutual ideas of all the people.
A leader should always be firm in his opinion. They should have an objective outlook towards all the problems of the group. Their opinions should always be free from prejudice and bias.
This means the opinions of the subordinates should not be dominating the opinion of the leader. They should have an open mind with an ability to listen to subordinates’ new ideas actively.
But the ultimate decision of fostering ideas depends upon them. So they need to have a sound judgment that is based on facts alone.
For example, a leader gets influenced by the opinion of a subordinate. Later, they find out that this opinion was based on the personal gain of that particular subordinate. Ultimately, it resulted in the loss of the group as a whole.
Honesty is one of the most crucial aspects of a good leader. A leader is always expected to be straight forward and honest towards their subordinates. This is because they are the reflection of the entire company or the group.
So they should always practice ethical and honest behavior. Honesty also inspires subordinates.
For example, a leader does not provide honest feedback to subordinates. In this way, the subordinates cannot know their strengths or weaknesses and are likely not to improve in the future.
8. Emotional Stability
Even in difficult situations, a leader should not lose emotional stability. They should have a calm temperament and an emotional balance. Sentiments or emotions should not move such an individual.
The leader is also not expected to lose the temper even in the face of heavy odds. Thus, a leader is expected to have a positive and fair attitude while solving the group’s problems.
For example, a leader loses emotional stability due to the death of a teammate. In such a circumstance, they cannot make the right decisions for the entire group’s benefit.
9. Active Listening
Active listening is yet another important quality for leaders. Good leaders are expected to listen to their subordinates with the utmost attention. Active listening helps the leaders to clearly understand the ideas and perspectives of their subordinates or group.
This, in turn, leads to building trust and relationships between the leader and the followers.
When the leaders listen carefully to the subordinates, the subordinates feel a sense of importance and self-respect. They think that the leaders are acknowledging them for their thoughts and opinions.
Active listening does not only mean listening to subordinates. It also means that leaders respond to them in better ways.
For example, due to a lack of active listening skills, the leader does not listen to the group’s ideas. This not only affects the relationship between the leader and the followers but also leads to a loss.
This is because the leader ignores some really innovative ideas of the followers. These ideas could have been implemented and resulted in favorable output.
10. Foresight And Vision
A good leader is always inspired by the future course of events of the company. He has far-sighted knowledge of what the company can become. Such an individual needs sound judgment to be able to make the right decisions for the future.
Hence, a visionary leader always makes sure to minimize the company or group’s risk of losses.
For example, a leader was not able to recognize the possible losses of the company.
Due to the lack of foresight and vision, they could also not identify possible opportunities. In this way, they lost their opportunities and were struck by huge losses.
Many leaders find it difficult to lead their group. Instead, they keep on performing the tasks themselves. Hence, the leaders need to delegate their groups and supervise them.
The leaders should try to give importance to their team by making them responsible for their activities. They should supervise more and involve themselves in the tasks less.
Hence, a good leader should always help the group by telling them how to achieve common goals. They can help their teammates by letting them know about their responsibilities and the course of action they should take. After directing their path, the leaders should walk out from it.
Once the teammates perform the activities, the leaders can assess their performance. This assessment will help them to recognize the strengths and weaknesses of their respective teammates.
In this way, they can instruct their teammates on how to improve. Hence, delegation helps the entire group to give their best.
For example, a leader does not delegate responsibility and jobs among his subordinates. They perform tasks on their own and are responsible for them. Due to a huge number of tasks on his head, they are unable to give his best.
This leads to losses for the entire group. Hence, a leader without delegation is not competent enough to perform to the best of their capabilities.
12. Willpower and Self-Confidence
A confident leader is always able to influence the group in a better way. They should always have confidence in their ability to lead others. The required will power will help the leader to meet the requirements of every situation.
A self-confident leader can easily inspire others and win their trust. They should have a positive attitude with a strong will to win. Hence, a confident leader has better chances of securing the willing cooperation of the followers.
Let us say there is a leader who is not self-confident. There comes a situation when they have to secure their teammates’ willing cooperation on a particular subject.
But due to a lack of confidence and willpower, they are unable to give a proper speech to turn the teammates in their favor. This results in negative or no cooperation amongst the individuals.
13. Excellent Communication Skills
The word communication means exchanging ideas, thoughts, opinions, or emotions between two or more persons. Communication mainly means that human beings understand the context of the message transferred similarly.
So, a good leader should possess excellent communication skills. Good communication skills help the leader to communicate clearly about the objectives and goals of the group. They can also explain the procedures to be followed to attain these goals to the followers.
Moreover, communication is as essential as a soul to a body. Without communication, no results can be achieved. So, the communication skills help the leader to understand the followers and influence them to perform the tasks.
Without effective communication, the leader cannot transfer his messages to the audience or the followers. Thus, communication is essential for effective management, supervision, and leadership.
Let us assume that a leader does not have practical communication skills. Due to the lack of such skills, they are unable to explain the project to their teammates. Hence, the teammates are unable to perform to the best of their capabilities in the task.
Also Read: How to Improve Your Communication Skills?
14. Accountability and Responsibility
A leader should always be willing to assume responsibility for their negative course of actions. Only a responsible leader can command the respect of their group. Responsible leaders tend to be more trustworthy.
They hold themselves responsible for their actions and give credit where it is required. Also, being responsible and accountable for the results is one of the best ways to inspire the team.
For example, a leader does not take responsibility for his wrong performance. Instead, they blame one of his followers. Similarly, when the group performs well, the leader takes the entire credit on themself.
They do not appreciate their followers. Such an irresponsible leader is never trusted or respected by their followers.
A good leader is an individual with enough social skills. According to the Harvard Business Review, soft skills and emotional intelligence are key aspects of a good and effective leader.
These social skills help the individual to gain the trust and confidence of the people. They should work as a central or connecting point for the whole team. This means the social skills are a binding force that helps to create team spirit in the group.
But this is possible only if the leader is responsive enough to the subordinates' feelings and aspirations. They can develop friendships and interpersonal relations with the subordinates only if they have enough social skills. Hence, being responsive to the nature and ethics of the people or group is important.
For example, a leader does not recognize the needs and requirements of the group. This leader can never build team spirit and gain the confidence of the subordinates. This is because of their lack of social skills.
16. Decision-Making Skills
Making decisions for the entire group is one of the most important activities of a leader. These decisions are the basis on which a business or a group can either succeed or fail. Hence, the decision-making skills of the leader form the basis of the performance of the entire group.
Good leaders know how to make the right decisions at the right time. Before making any decision or coming to any conclusion, these leaders always assess every perspective’s situation.
They even rely on statistical data or facts to make the necessary decisions. A competent leader will never believe in rumors before making any decision. Moreover, they will never make decisions in a hurry.
Let us understand this with the help of an example. A leader takes up a project without taking much time to decide on it. They did not even have a look at the facts and figures related to the project.
Deciding in a hurry resulted in a huge numerical loss for the group. All this was possible due to the bad decision-making skills of the leader.
Great leaders are always curious to satisfy their thirst for knowledge. They want to learn new things and are always open to their followers’ thoughts, ideas, and perceptions. Curiosity also helps the leaders to provide thought-provoking and unique ideas and advice.
Such a leader always wants to learn more in different subjects to broaden his horizon of knowledge. This helps them to think from a broader perspective.
For example, individuals are required to update themselves with the rising technology in today’s age. But leaders who are not inquisitive do not tend to learn new technology and science. This keeps them at a disadvantage from their strategic competitors. In the end, their group suffers due to this.
A good leader is always self-disciplined and has a rational mindset. Self-discipline helps the leader to inspire their subordinates for the same. Moreover, a self-disciplined leader always stands on their principles, ethics, and words. This helps them to achieve the tasks through effective time management easily.
For example, due to a lack of self-discipline, a leader is unable to manage time. They tend to procrastinate about their working activities.
This, in turn, leaves a negative impact on his followers as well. In the end, the entire group is unable to submit the project on time. This is due to the careless nature of the leader.
The leaders should be strong enough to handle themselves in different situations. They should be able to maintain their emotions and energy levels even in a difficult situation. Only resilient leaders can easily tackle any challenges that come on their path.
For example, a company is unable to submit the project on time. Due to this, it faces huge losses. In this face of adversity, the leader loses his strength. Moreover, they are not in a mentally stable position to recover the losses. Hence, a weak leader works as a liability for the business.
A leader should be humble enough to work for the greater good. They should be aware of the emotions of the subordinates and not try to dominate them. A great leader is always ready to take up responsibility for their actions and give credit when needed.
A leader is an individual who guides and mentors his followers when needed. They not only delegate tasks but also remain with the subordinates at every step. A great leader always supports their associates with their knowledge.
They help to build trust and confidence among teammates. These teammates can easily clear their queries from such a leader. The main advantages of a supportive leader are that they help build team spirit, relationships, etc.
But, in the case of an unsupportive leader, the followers will be unable to give their potentials the best. They would fear to solicit help and suggestions from the leader.
Besides having practical communication skills, leaders need to be empathetic. Being empathetic means that the leader understands the requirements, needs, and emotions of the followers.
In today’s era, people may communicate regularly but may not be empathetic towards each other. This means that one can communicate or share information, but the other may not understand it from the right perspective.
Here comes the importance of empathetic leaders. These leaders know the thoughts, feelings, and emotions of their followers. They make the decisions, keeping in mind this information. This helps to build trust and confidence in the leaders.
Let us understand this with an example. One of the teammates was ill on a particular day. But the leader was not empathetic towards him. Instead, they gave him extra work than usual.
This means the leader could not understand the emotion and feelings of their teammates. This leads to a weak team spirit in the group.
23. Tech Savvy
In this era of digitalization, almost every sector is going digital. No work is possible without the integration of technology in it. So, this requires the leaders to be tech-savvy and fully equipped with the knowledge of technology.
To become successful, these leaders should use technology in their working activities. This will help them to be at an advantage over their competitors. Technology also allows fastening the working activities.
Let us understand this with an example.
There is a leader of a particular business organization. They do not know how to operate the technological devices. Due to this, the leader is unable to create social media accounts of a particular organization.
This inhibits the digital marketing strategy of the organization. The target audience cannot fully know about this organization due to its lack of digital presence.
A leader is an individual who guides and supervises others. But before coaching others, they should know whether they are giving the best of their capabilities or not.
For this, the leader should evaluate their strengths and weaknesses regularly.
- What are my strengths? How can I make the best use of them?
- What are my weaknesses? How can I improve these weaknesses?
- What are the skills that I need to inculcate to help my team or group?
- Am I empathetic enough to understand the feelings and emotions of my group with effective communication?
- Am I giving my best for the group?
- Do I take responsibility for the mistakes committed due to me in the group?
- Do I give credit to the teammates when required?
Apart from the above questions, there are several other questions as well. These questions help the leader to self-assess themself. Self-assessment is important to improve the skills of the leader.
This is because no man is perfect. But the individuals can always strive for perfection by improving their shortcomings and making the best use of their strengths.
The primary factor behind profits is risk. This means risk helps to create profits for business organizations. Moreover, a team can also succeed only after they undertake risk.
Hence, the leader of a group should have risk-taking capabilities. They should always be ready to undertake risks after evaluating all the aspects of this risk.
Taking risks can help the leader to gain success and profits. But before taking risks, the leader should be well aware of the consequences. The positive results of risk can help the group.
But the leader should also go through the negative results or outcomes of a risk. The negative outcome should not pose a more significant threat to the group than the profits. Only after considering all such factors, the leader can take the risk.
For example, an organization receives a quite profitable project. But the project is risky at the same time. The leader of the group does not have risk-taking capabilities. Hence, they do not take up the project.
The competitor of the organization then took up the project. The competitor performed well and earned huge revenues. So, this opportunity was missed by the previous organization. It happened because the leader was not capable of taking risks.
Hence, these were some of the crucial leadership qualities that need to be present in a leader. These qualities help the leader to influence his group or subordinates.
With all such skills, the leader works as a pivot around which the whole group revolves. They serve as a binding force of the team. With their motivational skills, they can even help gain the teammates’ willing cooperation for certain decisions.
The success of a particular business organization or a group depends upon the functions undertaken by the leader. So a leader should always have practical problem solving and decision-making skills.
One of the most important virtues of leadership is self-confidence. Without self-confidence, the leader cannot practice the other virtues of leadership.