Leadership Qualities - The Profile of An Effective Leader

leadership qualities

Leadership qualities - the attributes that define a great leader and effective leadership.

Effective leaders are a rare breed. They are not some special class of people.

Sorry, pardon me. They are really a special breed. They are special, not because they are more human than others, but because they have attributes that are unique and that makes them likeable.

What are these leadership qualities?

For starters, an effective leader listens. A great leader Looks, Listens, and Act (the LLA factor).

Leaders who don't have the LLA factor will eventually fail no matter how long their leadership tenor last. It's a statement of fact - they will eventually fail.

Closely related to this is the 'H' factor. A great leader is Humble.

It's so difficult to be humble when you're the boss. One of my friends once said, "Give a man money and power, it's then you know his true nature".

That is so true.

"Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely".

That is why Mobutu Seseseco, the former leader of the republic of Zaire in Africa, stayed in power as the president of his country for thirty-two years. And he was unwilling to relinquish power until he was forced out of office by mass activist resistance.

Power drunk leaders use their power and authority to maim, oppress, and destroy. They begin to see themselves as being more human than their subjects . . . they begin to behave like demi-gods. They use their position and authority to commit heinous crimes. They behave like untouchables . . . as though they are above the law.

On the other hand, effective leaders are . . . humble. They are approachable and have a sincere desire to help. Arrogant leaders eventually fail because as the bible points out, "Pride goes before a crash and a haughty spirit before stumbling".

Want to be a great leader? Want your leadership tenor to be remembered?

Be humble. Your leadership will crash if you're not.

Other leadership qualities include:

  • Selflessness - think in terms of what you can give not what you can gain
  • Forthrightness - tell people exactly how you feel about them. Let them know where they stand with you.
  • Honesty - Be honest. Don't compromise the truth.
  • Justice and fair play - Don't be biased on the basis of religion, colour, language or any other such mundane stuff
  • Practical wisdom - Be wise. Do what's right. Do what's practical yet righteous. Be realistic.
  • Approachability - Your subordinates should not be scared of you. You should be inviting, approachable.
  • Be open-minded - Be ready to learn new stuff. Seek information. keep learning. Never think you know it all.
  • Discipline - Be disciplined and enforce discipline.
  • Firm and flexible - Don't be rigid or self opinionated. Don't attempt to win every argument.
  • Integrity - Be trustworthy. Be a man or woman or your words.
  • Empathy - Be considerate. Put yourself in the shoes of your subordinates.
  • Empowerment - Set up your subordinates for success. Empower them to do the extraordinary.
  • Promote Diversity - Do not surround yourself with "YES MEN". Include in your team people who are not afraid to say their mind; people who can stand up to you and say 'NO' with good reasons.
  • Promote continuous improvement philosophy - Make change a constant in the organization
  • Rewards - Reward good performance. Celebrate success.

    The leadership qualities above are a "MUST HAVE" to be an effective leader.

    An effective leader is refreshing. Your presence should make people feel a sense of worth, a sense of care, a sense of protection . . . like a loving caring father watching over his children.

    I once had a manufacturing director that was a direct opposite of the qualities mentioned above. He was a bully. When he came to the factory, he came looking for someone to catch not doing the right thing. His bellingerent attitude was so obvious that the non-management staff nick-named him "MOPOL" (acronym for Mobile Police).

    True to type, he would harrass everyone, talk down at people, always want to have the last say, and always want to win an argument. He was a big pain in the neck of everyone.

    I had interaction with him a couple of times and, each time, I felt like he didn't add value to my person. So I made sure I didn't have any reason to meet him again.

    When he and his colleagues on the board were sent packing because of financial impropriety detected by the company's external auditors, the staff celebrated. It was like a big load off their necks.

    Being a great leader doesn't happen by accident. You've got to have the right qualities . . . leadership qualities that will position you for success.

    The good news is . . . you can be an effective leader even if you're not a born leader. You can learn the leadership skills and leadership qualities that will assure your success as a leader.

    Go for it.

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