John Quincy Adams is famously known for stating “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”
What simple, yet powerful words.
As leaders in our homes, workplaces and communities — we need to strive to set examples for what we believe in, enabling individuals that surround us to truly grow and thrive as employees, peers and friends.
What are the qualities that an individual must be possessing in order to be in a position to influence people to a common goal?
Whether or not you lead a 500 person team in a global company, a small team of 2 in a startup or simply want to be a better role model for the people in your community these are the undeniable traits that make up the core components of a strong leader.
This quality involves the incorporation of the values and qualities not only in your words but also in your actions. This definitely breeds trust among your followers or subordinates whether in a formal organizational structure or an informal one.
This is because the followers know exactly what the leader stands for and at no one time would they expect him or her to veer off the track irrespective of the situation at hand.
There is always an element of predictability, as the leader will have their emotions well under control. This definitely does not undermine the fact that there will be objections in the course of leadership. However, being a leader with integrity means that you will be in a position to soberly solve the problem or handle the objections without tantrums or even outbursts. This makes the leader more approachable by the followers.
This is a very essential quality in leadership. It underscores the element of taking personal responsibility when there is a failure in any aspect of the organization or group while giving due credit. In this case, the leader is in a position to thoroughly spread credit for the success all over the group in which case the followers will feel part of the success. In this case, the followers incorporate a good feeling as they feel that they are part of the solution and not the problem. This therefore has a uniting factor on all the members of the team.
This quality underlines the ability to listen to new ideas. In as much as they may not be conforming to the common thinking it would be important that you do away with any form of judgment and listen to any ideas that the followers may be having.
You will appreciate the fact that the new ideas may not be essential in the current times but chances are that they will be in the future. In addition, you can always derive another problem solving way from the idea. This therefore underlines the importance of being open to new ideas, as the group will always have alternatives.
This incorporates the use of whatever resources that may be necessary to ensure that the job is done. In this case, the leader will dedicate their time and energy thus setting an example to the followers. You will acknowledge that since planning is a continuous process, it will be important to incorporate dedication at each and every stage of decision making. Being dedicated to the job converts challenges into opportunities availed in order to achieve the goals of the group, organization or the individual.
This allows for consistency in the way in which one deals with others. This is mostly when the subordinates are on the wrong. A leader is seen to be just when they listen to all the sides of the story before making a judgment. In this case, the decision will be based on the information obtained.
In this endeavour, the leader should be in a position to deal with any follower in the same way irrespective of their relationship to them. This has the effect of awarding the leader loyalty from the followers as well as dedication to the purpose or the course of the group.
Humility underlines the fact that the leader is in that position not because they are better than the followers are but as an opportunity to serve and show direction. In this case, they will not be self- aggrandizing or put themselves in a position higher than all the others, but look into ways in which the others can be elevated.
This definitely has the effect of making all the followers feel good about themselves in which case it is motivating in itself in which case the followers will be more loyal to the leader.
This is the ability of the leader to be clear as to their expectations in order to avoid any conflicts in the future. In this case, the leader will be in a position to state clearly as well as in a firm manner the things that pertain to their goals in life.
This however imbues on the leader a responsibility of having a clear understanding of the implications of their decisions and their expectations as well as any potential challenges to their positions. This however has to be done in the right proportion as being too assertive could point at aggression while it would not be desirable to be under-assertive as far as ensuring the job is done.
As leader, creativity will have to be part of your qualities as many are the times when you will be expected to think outside the box. Thinking differently ensures that you are not limited in terms of solutions even in cases where you may not be very much oriented with the subject at hand.
In this case, you will be assured of being in a position to look into issues in a manner that others may not have thought about. In most cases, this will appear to be radical as you stretch your thinking to all the possibilities.
As much as the leader may be approachable by the followers, there is always an element of tension even when they are talking of the most basic of issues. In this case, you could always enhance the rapport between you and the followers by incorporating humor. This has the effect of breaking the ice as well as energizing your followers. It also gives you much more control of the group as the followers can identify with you.
However, it is important to have limits as to the humor that you inculcate in your speech. Determine that the humor you incorporate does not offend anyone. Humor touching on individual’s culture or body anatomy would not be desirable in the group environment as it has a high possibility of offending someone. In this case, it would be important that you also inculcate a bit of intelligence and wisdom in humoring the people.
A leader is supposed to have a clear understanding as to the direction that their organization, team or group is heading. It is the vision of the organization that determines the course of action at any given time. In this case, you will acknowledge that course of action changes but not the vision of the organization.
As a leader, you will be expected to align the resources at hand and synchronize the processes in order to reach the prime goal. Where do you see yourself and the organization in the long term? You will have to frequently refer to the organization or group’s vision as it sets the basis for your leadership. It is actually on the basis of the vision of the group that the people determine whether they will want to be identified with you or even the team. Vision defines the long-term goal of the organization and people will only identify with the group if there is harmony between their goals and those of the organization.
Being flexible enough to accept change in the organization is a very important quality of the leader. Rigidity determines your ability to accept failure and therefore look soberly into a problem when things deviate from their intended direction.
Given the dynamism of the modern days, you can be sure that there is no certainty in the future circumstance and therefore, you will need to take everything in your stride and be in a position to lead change. Even in times when the change is a threat to your leadership, it will be best that you take it as an opportunity to make better the organization or group instead of opposing an idea whose time has come.
Being in a position to influence others underlines the ability to persuade even those who may not hold the same views as you. There are many elements of persuasion that you would look at but to start with, you must be having a clear understanding of the situation at hand. This therefore allows you to persuade people based on facts and guided by information and knowledge. This therefore guarantees you an element of trust which comes with loyalty and dedication from your subordinates or followers. You will however acknowledge the importance of being in a position to articulate the issues at hand clearly in order to influence the people. Many are the times when people will attach some value to your opinion based on the knowledge or orientation that you exhibit towards the subject. In addition, you must underline the importance of having a good relationship with your subordinates.
13. Training and development of your team
This quality relates to your ability to nurture, encourage end even enhance the capacity of your followers. It underlines the element of foregoing your needs for the sake of your follower’s growth and sharing the control with them.
This looks at the element of delegating duties and offering guidance in order to develop their skills. In as much as having the same capacity as you may be a threat to your position, you will acknowledge the fact that times are dynamic and chances are the skills will be needed even when you will not be there. The need to coach people and nurture their talents in an effort to grow their capabilities would definitely draw the followers to the leader thus creating an element of loyalty.
14. Cooperation and teamwork
As much as it may be your personal responsibility to oversee the operations of the group, it would be important that you acknowledge the value of cooperating with others.
The promotion of teamwork would ensure that the group is united around the same cause and purpose. The variety of skills that different individuals bring into the group or organization for the sake of obtaining a singular goal are essential for the unity as every individual feels that they are part of the solution.
No one possesses knowledge on each and every issue in the group and therefore you should know when to take the backseat especially on issues that are beyond your knowledge. Enhancing teamwork therefore means that you are in a position to be a follower in certain instances therefore enhancing the self importance of the members. It actually goes hand in hand with the ability to be magnanimous or giving due credit.
“The single biggest way to impact an organization is to focus on leadership development. There is almost no limit to the potential of an organization that recruits good people, raises them up as leaders and continually develops them.” — John Maxwell
A leader is defined as an individual who influences a group of people to act in a certain way in order to attain a certain goal. In this case, leadership is the process by which an individual enlists the support and aid of other people in an effort to accomplish a common goal or purpose. It is the creation of infrastructure for individuals to make contributions towards the attainment of a predetermined goal.
Effective leadership incorporates the capacity to integrate as well as optimize successfully the use of the resources that are at your disposal whether in the internal or external environment in an effort to attain societal or organizational goals.
Yet there is so much more that a leader must truly encompass to be effective, empowering, ethical and motivational.
Incorporate these 14 principles into your life to be a better leader and person in all aspects of your life.