The great French military and political leader Napoleon Bonaparte said, “A Leader is a dealer in hope”. Being a good leader means to have hope until the last breath is gone. It means to meld a variety of unique skills into an integrated whole. You may have heard the oft said phrase that leaders are not born but they are made. Even you and I can become leaders if we put our hearts to it. Let us see some habits that make a good leader.
Aristotle said ‘Courage is the first virtue that makes all other virtues possible’. The first thing that people wish to see is a courageous individual, before they are willing to follow his or her lead. Following the path of least resistance without having the courage to face a foe will take one nowhere. So learn to be courageous.
Learn to Communicate Effectively:
In the words of Joseph Priestly ‘The more elaborate our means of communication, the less we communicate’. If you look at world history, you can see that great communicators inspire people. One cannot be helped but be moved by the ‘Freedom at Midnight’ speech by Shri Jawaharlal Nehru. So learn to speak well. Lengthy and boring speeches are never welcome anywhere! So keep your words crisp and clear. Address the audience directly and be sincere.
Be Generous to a fault:
According to John Maxwell, ‘A good leader is a person who takes a little more than his share of the blame and a little less than his share of the credit’. Know that everyone makes mistakes and nobody is one hundred percent perfect at what they do. So learn to forgive a fault and let go. Be accountable for the people who follow you. This will show people that you genuinely care for them.
Before Honor is Humility:
CS.Lewis beautifully said, ‘Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less’. Never allow your position or authority to belittle anyone and don’t hesitate to do your fair share of work when situations demand you to. A good leader is one who will never allow their followers to do something that they themselves would not do. So be humble and work hard.
Always be Self-aware:
There is a Latin proverb that goes like this ‘It is absurd that a man should rule others, who cannot rule himself’. Being self-aware means to have a clear and accurate image not just of one’s leadership style, but also of their own strengths and weaknesses. It is always better to know what you are good at and also where you are weak at so that the enemy cannot attack you by surprise.
Treat Others as You want to be Treated:
Jon Wolfgang von Goethe said ‘The way you see people is the way you treat them, and the way you treat them is what they become’. This is the golden rule of any healthy relationship that all good leaders follow. They recognize the needs of the masses and adapt their leadership to suit them.
Work with Passion:
‘If you just work on stuff that you like and are passionate about, you don’t have to have a master plan with how things will play out’ are the wise words of Mark Zuckerberg. I am sure none of us would like to work for an unenthusiastic boss! Great leaders are passionate about what they do, and they strive to share that passion with everyone around them.
Be a Visionary:
To quote the words of Reverend Theodore Hesburgh ‘The very essence of leadership is that you have to have a vision. It’s got to be a vision you articulate clearly and forcefully on every occasion. You can’t blow an uncertain trumpet’. You need to have a vision and make it come alive for the masses to follow. Talking by examples is a great way to make people understand your vision. Instill a sense of purpose since people most often like to feel like they’re part of something bigger than themselves.
Artifice not Accepted:
In the words of Hubert Humphrey ‘Just be who you are and speak from your guts and heart – it’s all a man has’. Never portray yourself as someone whom you are not. Leaders who are authentic are always transparent and forthcoming. They may not be perfect but they will be well respected for being who they are.
Michael Armstrong said ‘Management is like holding a dove in your hand. Squeeze too hard and you kill it, not hard enough and it flies away’. A good leader is one who accepts both challenge and criticism with the right mind. Any environment where people are afraid to speak up, offer insight, and ask good questions is destined for failure.
In the words of Bob Marley ‘The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively’. I am a banker and this word is the key identifier for a person in my organization. Masses want their leaders to be honest, fair, candid, and forthright, and to give equal opportunity to everyone. When you act with integrity, your followers will respond in kind and will be more loyal to you.
All of us must have heard the famous proverb ‘United we stand, divided we fall’. For most people to do their very best work, they require the support and input from co-workers, peers, and their boss. When you support your people by creating this kind of environment, you can expect self-direction and productivity increase.
Leadership is more an art than it is a science, and anyone can become a better, more effective and more successful leader. Just remember that even a leader is a human being with their own shortcomings. Take the best and leave the rest. Hope those of you who are reading will lead the way for a better tomorrow!
For becoming a leader, your remaining positive is extremely important. Read about how to accomplish that, here.