Top 10 Qualities of a Great Leader
Abstract: A team is as great as its leader. Leaders must guide and inspire effectively, efficiently, effortlessly. Here are the Top 10 Qualities of Outstanding Leaders.
Outstanding Leaders, Great Teachers and Inspiring Parents possess the following 10 Qualities. They guide, mentor and inspire their wards effectively, efficiently, effortlessly and with effervescence. There is a lot of goodwill, confidence, enjoyment, happiness, peace and productivity around these outstanding people.
Here are the Top 10 Qualities of Outstanding Leaders:
- Has Personal Integrity Deals Honestly and Gains Trust
“The glue that holds all relationships together including the relationship between the leader and the led is trust, and trust is based on integrity.” ~ Brian Tracy. “Faith in the ability of a leader is of slight service unless it be united with faith in his justice.” ~ George W. Goethals.Honest dealings, predictable reactions, well-controlled emotions, absence of tantrums and emotional blackmails, respect for others all these characteristics help a manager gain the trust of his people. He then becomes the leader of his team.What is the use of conquering the entire world if you have lost your soul? A person without personal integrity cannot predict his own reactions to various situations. Build success from within yourself.
2. Has A Clear Long Vision; Executes 1st Things First; Inspires Others to Action
“The very essence of leadership is that you have to have a vision.” ~ Theodore Hesburgh “Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion.” ~ Jack Welch. “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” ~ John Quincy Adams.
A great leader can visualize the future, to imagine himself already having accomplished his goals and going on to the next set of goals. The further a person can see into the future, the greater his leadership abilities.
The leader directs his actions and that of his team towards the visualized future. The great leader has both vision and discipline to work towards achieving his vision.
“Freedom to be your best means nothing unless you’re willing to do your best.” ~ Colin Powell. “Whatever you do may seem insignificant, but it is most important that you do it.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi. “Be willing to make decisions. That’s the most important quality in a good leader. Don’t fall victim to what I call the Ready Aim Aim Aim Syndrome. You must be willing to fire.” ~ T. Boone Pickens.
The key is to ACT … and to inspire others to action.
“Effective leadership is putting first things first. Effective management is discipline, carrying it out.” ~ Stephen Covey,
Being a mere dreamer will not get results. It is only when the leader disciplines himself and his team to take action with patience and perseverance that sweet fruits can be achieved.
3. Is Positive Enthusiastic Committed; Has Focus-ability.
“The person who sends out positive thoughts activates the world around him positively and draws back to himself positive results.” ~ Norman Vincent Peale.
Having gained the team’s trust, the manager needs to keep them motivated, enthusiastic about the task on hand. The best way that he can do this is by example. Therefore, a manager should be positive and enthusiastic if he wants to become a great leader.
“If you try to catch two hares, you will get none.” ~ Proverb
A great leader knows to focus on the right activities. He communicates, educates, and teaches his group members to focus on the important things. Sometimes he directly tells them what to focus on; at other times he gently leads them towards the right activities.
4. Is Solution-oriented
Creative; Makes Top Management Efficient; Empowers Others
“Don’t find fault, find a remedy.” ~ Henry Ford “Leadership is solving problems. The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help or concluded you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership.” ~ Colin Powell.
The great leader admits his handles any problem in this manner: He is always innovative & creative in his thinking, encourages and fosters creativity in others, teaches his team to be bold, and take calculated risks.
A great leader focuses on searching for and discussing solutions and does not harp on the reasons for the problem. This solution-oriented thinking results in a feeling of abundance and plenty from which the great leader operates.
This attitude empowers others to think positively and discuss their suggestions a participatory decision-making environment prevails where people are not blamed; nor are victims or scapegoats slaughtered.
Together the team compiles a list of possible solutions. Next, they brainstorm the pros and cons of each suggestion and narrow the list to the 3 most attractive solutions. The top 3 list, along with the pros and cons, will help Top Management to make better decisions faster.
“Good leaders make people feel that they’re at the very heart of things, not at the periphery. Everyone feels that he or she makes a difference to the success of the organization. When that happens, people feel centred and that gives their work meaning.” ~ Warren Bennis “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” ~ Anonymous. “It’s not empowerment that’s magic, it’s accountability. Give people responsibility and the resource to get something done. Let them understand that they will be held accountable for it, that you are expecting those results, and that they are going to share in the success. Then watch what happens.” ~ Brian Tracy “ Start with the premise that the function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers.” ~ Ralph Nader.
5. Is A Catalyst; Creates Pygmalion Effect; Fosters Self-Motivation
“I am personally convinced that one person can be a change catalyst, a “transformer” in any situation, any organization. Such an individual is yeast that can leaven an entire loaf. It requires vision, initiative, patience, respect, persistence, courage, and faith to be a transforming leader.” ~ Stephen R. Covey. “Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you help them become what they are capable of becoming.” ~ Johan Goethe “Good leaders make people feel that they’re at the very heart of things, not at the periphery. Everyone feels that he or she makes a difference to the success of the organization. When that happens, people feel centred and that gives their work meaning.” ~ Warren Bennis.
Read the Pygmalion effect live case studies to see this aspect of a teacher’s influence in action. Refer http://www.yale.edu/ynhti/curriculum/units/1985/2/85.02.06.x.html. The leader – team member relationship is discussed at http://www.accelteam.com/pygmalion/index.html .
“The final test of a leader is that he leaves behind him in other men the conviction and the will to carry on.” ~ Walter Lippmann “The ultimate leader is one who is willing to develop people to the point that they eventually surpass him or her in knowledge and ability.” ~ Fred A. Manske, Jr.
People love to achieve more than they thought they were capable of. Going through this process of overreaching himself (while in the presence of his leader) just once in his lifetime is very often sufficient to ensure that the staff member acquires the habit of driving himself to greater heights. This leads to self-motivation, removes the dependence on the leader and feeds back into the cycle of excellent performance.
Thus “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
6. Strives for Excellence Always; Is a Transparent Influence
“A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go but ought to be.” ~ Charles A. Cerami “Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.” ~ Dwight D Eisenhower “As for the best leader, the people do not notice their existence. The next best, the people honour and praise. The next, the people fear, and the next, the people hate.” ~ Lao Tzu.
A great leader exhibits excellence in his activities and expects only the best of outputs from others. He will not tolerate slipshod work, negligence, and oversight. He will create an environment where lack of knowledge is bridged through training, mentoring or coaching. Once this is done, he will not tolerate incompetence and carelessness.
You may have noticed attributes 4, 5 and 6 are three phases in the maturing of the leader and his team members. At first in step 4 the manager creates a participatory environment and empowers subordinates, peers and superiors alike. In Step 5, the leader is a catalyst helping to speed up the process of progress and success. Finally, in Step 6, the leader goes completely into the background and his presence is not noticed except as a feeling of security and existence of a safety net.
7. Is a Good Communicator; A Great Negotiator; Nurtures Relationships
“Knowing when to keep your mouth shut is invariably more important than opening it at the right time.” ~ Malcolm Forbes “One of the best ways to persuade others is with your ears by listening to them.” ~ Dean Rusk “The manager asks how and when; the leader asks what and why.” ~ Warren Bennis “Skill in the art of communication is crucial to a leader’s success. He can accomplish nothing unless he can communicate effectively.” ~ Norman Allen “Outstanding leaders go out of the way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish.” ~ Sam Walton “Management is about arranging and telling. Leadership is about nurturing and enhancing.” ~ Thomas J. Peters “Learn to help people with more than just their jobs; help them with their lives.” ~ Jim Rohn.
8. Is Kind-hearted, Generous and Giving; Serves Others
“Tenderness and kindness are not signs of weakness and despair, but manifestations of strength and resolutions.” ~ Cahill Libran “A good leader takes a little more than his share of the blame, a little less than his share of the credit.” ~ Arnold H. Glasgow.
“When you get right down to it, one of the most important tasks of a leader is to eliminate his people’s excuse for failure” ~ Robert Townsend “Leadership is an opportunity to serve. It is not a trumpet call to self-importance.” ~ J. Donald Walters “All of the great leaders have had one characteristic in common: it was the willingness to confront unequivocally the major anxiety of their people in their time. This, and not much else, is the essence of leadership.” ~ John Kenneth Galbraith “True leadership must be for the benefit of the followers, not the enrichment of the leaders.” ~ Robert Townsend.
“You cannot be a leader, and ask other people to follow you, unless you know how to follow, too.” ~ Sam Rayburn “All veterans know that leadership, at its best, is never autocratic, abusive, or arbitrary. Rather, it relies on commitment, communication, and character.” ~ Robert A. Lutz.
“We will receive not what we idly wish for but what we justly earn. Our rewards will always be in exact proportion to our service.” ~ Earl Nightingale.
9. Balances Confidence with Caution; Adapts Management Styles for War & Peace
“Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees all others.” ~ Winston Churchill.
A great leader can balance confidence in his abilities & that of his team with the fuzzy information available to him. He can take good decisions in a timely manner, adapting his decisions according to the level of information available about the project, i.e. Project Clarity (High/Low) and Skills of the Team (High / Low).
With High Skills and High Clarity, the leader says, “Our plan is on target. I have every confidence that we are on the right track” and accepts the task.
With High Skills and Low Clarity, the leader says, “We have never done this before, there are areas to research as we proceed … but together we can get through it. There may be changes in project scope and/or schedules which can be re-negotiated as and when required”. The team then estimates the margins for error and accepts the task. He is transparent with the customer and with his team.
With Low Skills and High Clarity, the leader says, “I know what to do. But the team does not. We will extra time to train the team members. This can work if we get cooperation from the client and the team members,” and he may decide either to take up or drop the task.
With Low Skills and Low Clarity, the leader says, “This is a high-risk task. It is better not to accept it” and drops the task.
“A leader or a man of action in a crisis almost always acts subconsciously and then thinks of the reasons for his action.” ~ Jawaharlal Nehru “The ability to find meaning and strength in adversity distinguishes leaders from non-leaders. When terrible things happen, less able people feel singled out and powerless. Leaders find purpose and resolve.” ~ Warren Bennis.
The needs of War & adverse business situations require a management style very different from that required during times of peace & prosperity.
During adversity, the leader should feel the pulse more often, make and break decisions frequently; manage the resultant change and turmoil; take a more active part in operations; remain optimistic and resilient; combine the capability to adapt to change with the ability to size up situations and people in ways that help them make good choices and avoid pitfalls.
“In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.” ~ Thomas Jefferson.
In a stable environment, an outstanding leader should
(a) have all the answers yet be willing to empower people
(b) be in charge yet delegate effectively
(c) set clear directions and guidelines
(d) then get out of the way to allow subordinates and peers to manage the operations
(d) develop strategic plans that remain valid over a longer time.
- Rejuvenates Self; Sharpens his axe; Transforms his Strengths into Talent
“To have the sense of one’s intrinsic worth which constitutes self-respect is potentially to have everything.” ~ Joan Didion “As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.” ~ Goethe “To know yourself is the first and most important step to pursuing your dreams and goals.” ~ Stedman Graham” Act as if you were already the person you want most to be.” ~ Brian Tracy “Nothing splendid has ever been achieved except by those who dare to believe that something inside them was superior to circumstance.” ~ Bruce Barton. “Make continuous learning and growth a part of your daily routine.” ~ Brian Tracy” The leader who exercises power with honour will work from the inside out, starting with himself.” ~ Blaine Lee “Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.” ~ Lou Holtz “Take time to sharpen your axe.” ~ Stephen Covey
 Naseem Mariam, “10 Traits of a Good Team Member”
 Naseem Mariam, Article “10 Steps to Create Winning Teams … Out of Self-Centred Individuals”
Also, view this article at Silicon India Blogs
About the Author: Dr. Naseem Mariam Ph.D. (Acu) heals people using Alternative therapies for over 10 years now. Earlier, she has worked for 24 years as a Senior Software Manager in Wipro and Aricent Technologies in design and testing of applications and systems, managing large projects for customers worldwide. During 2001 – 2003, she wrote many articles on self-development, personal health, project management, and customer satisfaction. Revisiting that treasure trove and republishing those articles. She has authored an eBook called “Project Serenity – How to gain happiness and peace” and 3 books on Lifestyle and Wellness: “Serene Wellness: Daily Practise in 7 Areas”, “Belly Loss Blueprint: Come N.E.A.R. Vibrant Health” with its companion “Belly Loss Habits: Workbook to Vibrant Health”.