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Essay on Qualities of a Good Leader

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What makes a good leader?

As leadership conference week starts at the Foreign Office, Sir Simon Fraser shares his advice an leadership skills.

Published 12 May 2014
From:

Foreign & Commonwealth Office and Sir Simon Fraser

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Written on:
Sir Simon Fraser

Leadership is on my mind this week as I prepare to host our annual FCO Leadership Conference, which all our Ambassadors and senior leaders in London attend.

We can all learn about and practise leadership skills at all levels. And many of them are relevant to other non-work areas of our lives.

Here are 11 things I think about leadership. I hope you find them useful.

  1. There are different styles of leadership and they can (nearly) all be good. The important thing is to be yourself: know your own personality so that you can be authentic in the way you engage with other people and the way you use your authority. Understand how you as an individual can best have positive impact and influence with others and try to understand how they perceive you. Always be clear in communicating your values, what you care about and what you stand for – through your behaviour as well as your words.

  2. If you want to be a leader you have to be prepared to lead. It does require self-confidence. You have to be able to judge when to listen, when to think and when to decide. When you make decisions you need to stick with them through adversity if you are sure they are right, and to see them through. People like continuity. If at some point you conclude that you were wrong, you need to be big enough to change and to explain why. The best solution is to make the right decisions! It is more important to make good decisions than fast decisions.

  3. But you can only lead if other people are prepared to follow. That means you have to win and retain their respect, not just for your position but for you as a person, for your experience, skills and competence. A leader has to have a strong rapport with, and understanding of, the organisation and the people he or she is leading: what they want, and what they will accept if they can’t have what they want. Emotional intelligence and intuition are important in forming these links.

  4. In leadership, people and relationships are more important than tasks. Tasks do matter, but the main role of a good leader is to motivate and inspire other people to do the tasks well. You need to know how to delegate and be the leader of other leaders. The leader is the conductor of the orchestra, not the first violin. But you also need to know when to step in and take responsibility. Don’t be afraid to say ‘stop’ or ‘no’ if you think things are going wrong. And don’t let other people push you into a decision which you are not comfortable with.

  5. You have to set a vision. That requires a clear sense of purpose, a clear sense of direction and a clear picture of the destination. You need to be able to explain in terms that people understand and support what you want to achieve, why you want to achieve it, how you will go about it and how everyone will know when you get there. That is what I have been trying to do with Diplomatic Excellence.

  6. Good leaders are good communicators. You have to do it all the time. It means thinking about what other people know and how they are experiencing what you are doing, especially change. It’s important to communicate in a way other people can relate to and engage with. And you have to make it easy for people to remember what you are saying: make it simple, clear and coherent.

  7. Once you’ve set the vision and engaged other people through communication, you need to lead the delivery. That’s where a clear understanding of the end goal, and metrics and evaluation to demonstrate outcomes, are important. It’s a good idea to stay ahead of the delivery curve, setting interim goals along the way which are stretching but attainable. Much of what I’ve just described in the last three points is encapsulated by Steve Radcliffe in the model he discussed at the Leadership Conference last year: future, engage, deliver.

  8. It’s important to manage your energy. Leaders are constantly on display and under scrutiny. You need to have energy in reserve so that you can manage your mood and the image you project, and have something in the tank when crises happen (as they inevitably will). Learn to recognise when you are tired or stressed, and how that makes you behave. Watch out for the signs. Learn also to recognise where your positive energy comes from and what takes it away.

  9. A good leader will put a lot of effort into building the right team around him or her. You need people you trust, who are on your side, who challenge and are honest with you and whose judgement you respect. You need to be able to depend on their support when the going gets tough. Being a leader can feel lonely and exposed: so you need to have your support systems in place to help you through the harder times.

  10. Trust your instinct. If it doesn’t feel right, the chances are it isn’t right. I’m a great believer in the power of the subconscious, given time, to steer us to the right answers. That’s why I often prefer to have a couple of discussions before taking a difficult decision, even if that slows down the process. It helps give me certainty about what I think, and it helps the wider leadership group understand each other’s point of view and build consensus. The end result is a better decision with better buy-in.

  11. Finally, accept that we all make mistakes. Nobody is perfect. When you do, try to learn the lessons, but don’t be destabilised. Someone told me once: “don’t chew the cud”. Keep moving forward, be resilient, remember that things will get better. And smile.

Further information

Find out more about Simon Fraser

Published 12 May 2014

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Essay on Qualities of a Good Leader

1619 Words
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Qualities of a Good Leader

Monkey see monkey do; that is how people in a community follow their leader. They may not follow him or her action for action but in essence they do. If the leader is selfish and greedy then the people will grow selfish and greedy. If a leader is humble and has a mind and heart to serve the people instead of being served, the nature of the people will become more cordial. A leader is tasked with the governing and care of those under him/her, dictionary.com says a leader is ” a guiding or directing head”. A leader should lead by example; serving willingly, taking responsibility, and staying humble because the people under them will start to adopt and behave like their leader.
A good leader is humble, willing

…show more content…

Qualities of a Good Leader

Monkey see monkey do; that is how people in a community follow their leader. They may not follow him or her action for action but in essence they do. If the leader is selfish and greedy then the people will grow selfish and greedy. If a leader is humble and has a mind and heart to serve the people instead of being served, the nature of the people will become more cordial. A leader is tasked with the governing and care of those under him/her, dictionary.com says a leader is ” a guiding or directing head”. A leader should lead by example; serving willingly, taking responsibility, and staying humble because the people under them will start to adopt and behave like their leader.
A good leader is humble, willing to serve; one of the people, selfless, firm, wise, on and on the list goes. There is an abundance of attributes and characteristics of a good leader but we cannot have them all. No matter how how hard we try, we cannot be a perfect leader. The only being capable of being the perfect leader is God. He fulfills all the qualifications of a leader; He is the example that we should strive to be like, especially the people who are in charge of others. One leader in particular, King Arthur, is a great example of a leader that did very well for being a man. There were times where his judgment and actions were questioned but he succeeded nonetheless. Now, success is not what defines a good or bad leader; it is merely the fruit of their labor.
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Home » Blog » What Are the Characteristics of a Good Leader?

What Are the Characteristics of a Good Leader?

What Are the Characteristics of a Good Leader?

Leaders shape our nation, communities, and organizations.

We need good leaders to help guide us and make the essential large-scale decisions that keep the world moving.

Our society is usually quick to identify a bad leader, but how to identify a good one? What would most people say makes a good leader?

The Characteristics of a Good Leader

Based on our research, we’ve found that great leaders consistently possess these 10 core leadership traits:

  • Honesty
  • Ability to delegate
  • Communication
  • Sense of humor
  • Confidence
  • Commitment
  • Positive attitude
  • Creativity
  • Ability to inspire
  • Intuition

While many powerful and successful leaders haven’t exhibited all of these character traits, and the definition of a good leader can be quite ambiguous, most good leaders do leverage at least some of these characteristics.

Take someone you view as a great leader. How many of these characteristics do they express?

If the characteristics of a good leader above don’t describe you, don’t panic — there are ways for you to improve upon your leadership capabilities. Whether you believe that leaders are born or made , you know that leaders are molded through experience, continued study, and adaptation.

Consider these  6 ways to succeed as a leader :

6-Ways-to-Succeed-as-a-Leader-infographic

 

Like any craft, leadership requires that you learn from your mistakes and continually work at strengthening your weaknesses. Seek out a mentor that you admire. Jot down the characteristics that you feel makes them a great leader. Then ask yourself, How do I compare?

Chances are, they weren’t always a great leader, so determine what they did along the way to become the leader they are today. And keep working on developing the 10 core characteristics of a good leader.

 

Get insights like these delivered to your inbox every month. Visit the  Email Preference Center  to sign up for our Leading Effectively email newsletters.

14 thoughts on “What Are the Characteristics of a Good Leader?

  1. Dan Ryan says:
    September 18, 2013 at 1:09 am

    I like the list, especially the “sense of humor” area.

    In past times I found that I have over relied on this sense of humor and it has even gotten me into trouble.

    It is amazing how a little humor can lighten a mood or defuse a tense situation.

    Thanks for sharing this.

    Reply

  2. Dan Ryan says:
    September 18, 2013 at 1:09 am

    I like the list, especially the “sense of humor” area.

    In past times I found that I have over relied on this sense of humor and it has even gotten me into trouble.

    It is amazing how a little humor can lighten a mood or defuse a tense situation.

    Thanks for sharing this.

    Reply

  3. Ayaz Mahmood says:
    September 26, 2013 at 9:17 pm

    A wonderful list of characterstics of a good leader however, I would like to add a few more such as

    A good leader makes his/her team members valued

    A Contributor and Co-orperates with a letter “C”

    A good Listener

    and off course a great practitioner of Work-Life Balance

    Yes, what can not be done in the world of technology today. We could develop our leadership skills by sharing new mindsets of Good Characterstics of A GOOD LEADER that you have enlisted above.

    Let’s spread this message to all existing leaders and who inspire to be a Leader to make this world of ours a more Living plannet than a Killing plannet full of wars. Let’s spread “Tolerance” Love” and “Care for our sake and our generations to come…..

    Regards,

    Ayaz Mahmood

    Reply

  4. Ayaz Mahmood says:
    September 26, 2013 at 9:17 pm

    A wonderful list of characterstics of a good leader however, I would like to add a few more such as

    A good leader makes his/her team members valued

    A Contributor and Co-orperates with a letter “C”

    A good Listener

    and off course a great practitioner of Work-Life Balance

    Yes, what can not be done in the world of technology today. We could develop our leadership skills by sharing new mindsets of Good Characterstics of A GOOD LEADER that you have enlisted above.

    Let’s spread this message to all existing leaders and who inspire to be a Leader to make this world of ours a more Living plannet than a Killing plannet full of wars. Let’s spread “Tolerance” Love” and “Care for our sake and our generations to come…..

    Regards,

    Ayaz Mahmood

    Reply

  5. Pingback: An Illustrated Guide to 10 Essential Characteristics of a Good Leader || To the Edge Coaching
  6. Pingback: An Illustrated Guide to 10 Essential Characteristics of a Good Leader || To the Edge Coaching
  7. Anna Weber says:
    June 9, 2016 at 7:46 am

    Development of courageous, visionary, and inspirational leaders must begin with our young people. Mr Chris Salamone, who has formerly served as a faculty member at Loyola University Chicago School of Law and the National Institute of Trial Advocacy, and served as a leadership curriculum adviser at The University of Central Oklahoma is CEO of Lead America which is most respected youth leadership organizations with an unwavering commitment to quality and excellence in their academic offerings. The organization focuses on Leadership development, experiential career education & study abroad programs for high achieving high school and middle school students. Chris Salamone works to improve the lives of young people around the world through his many philanthropic endeavors. Mission is to ‘inspire and empower our young people to achieve their full potential and instill in them a sense of purpose, integrity, self confidence, and personal responsibility.’ This is achieved through engaging students (high school for most programs and middle school for a few) in conferences that combine challenging academics with hands-on experiential learning.
    http://bit.ly/1TUe62W

    Reply

  8. Anna Weber says:
    June 9, 2016 at 7:46 am

    Development of courageous, visionary, and inspirational leaders must begin with our young people. Mr Chris Salamone, who has formerly served as a faculty member at Loyola University Chicago School of Law and the National Institute of Trial Advocacy, and served as a leadership curriculum adviser at The University of Central Oklahoma is CEO of Lead America which is most respected youth leadership organizations with an unwavering commitment to quality and excellence in their academic offerings. The organization focuses on Leadership development, experiential career education & study abroad programs for high achieving high school and middle school students. Chris Salamone works to improve the lives of young people around the world through his many philanthropic endeavors. Mission is to ‘inspire and empower our young people to achieve their full potential and instill in them a sense of purpose, integrity, self confidence, and personal responsibility.’ This is achieved through engaging students (high school for most programs and middle school for a few) in conferences that combine challenging academics with hands-on experiential learning.
    http://bit.ly/1TUe62W

    Reply

  9. Herman van Niekerk says:
    August 16, 2016 at 2:36 pm

    The image of President Abraham Lincoln is just such an example of all the characteristics listed in the article. What an amazing man not only for his time, but for all of us who came after him.

    Reply

  10. Herman van Niekerk says:
    August 16, 2016 at 2:36 pm

    The image of President Abraham Lincoln is just such an example of all the characteristics listed in the article. What an amazing man not only for his time, but for all of us who came after him.

    Reply

  11. Pingback: How Transformational Leadership Affects Positive Change
  12. Pingback: How Transformational Leadership Affects Positive Change
  13. Frederick Nightingale says:
    June 2, 2018 at 4:32 pm

    I would rate ability to inspire as the most important factor with the other nine traits all supporting that ability.
    Also of great importance are visionary and strategic thinker.

    Reply

  14. Pingback: Leadership –

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