Leadership is an indispensable quality that is required at every stage and sphere of life. Contrary to the popular arguments and beliefs of leaders being born or made, I believe we all have a leader inside us, who outshines us in different situations. A leader is not always the one who leads or commands, or dominates, he is the man who leads the leadership quality in others. A leader makes others a leader. Think of the tough and gruesome military training which is oriented towards developing leadership qualities, where the cadets are ‘led’ in order to learn ‘how to lead’, and trust me, there are no better leaders than those who lead us during the times of adversity. Let’s take a look at some of the leading qualities of a leader:
We have all heard and talked about empathy at one point or the other, some of us have complained about the lack of it while some of us have tried to fill the world with it. What exactly is empathy? The dictionary defines it as being able to understand other’s feelings, pardon and look again, I don’t mean feeling other’s feelings and mouring together, what I mean is, understanding and respecting others feelings and extend a lending hand when needed. A leader may not cry with you in your hard days, but he surely, will, pull you out of the mess.
2. He believes in improving, and not changing:
A leader will never force himself or you to change, but he certainly will aid in his own improvement and your betterment. He understands that as humans, we cannot be bound into stereotypes and he will ensure that your strengths get strengthened and your weaknesses get weaker in magnitude and impact. A leader is able to lead and not be a crisis’ shadow because he has the desire and potential of improving without changing himself. Often people get so much shambled and disgusted by little struggles that they completely change themselves and turn into someone else’s duplicate, just for coping in the same manner. A man who cannot lead his truth and authenticity cannot lead others.
3. Well versed with the topic:
Consider an example, you are leading a team of fifty through one of the deadliest deserts of the world. You are the best leader that the world can be graced with, but you have little knowledge about deserts, but you being the capable leader are there to lead the mass. Will you be able to execute your task fairly? Will you be confident enough to lead their life into danger? Well, you shouldn’t be. When it comes to leadership, it is, but, important to have a proper and thorough knowledge about your task and the premises.
4. Stands firm to his principles:
A leader stands tall while leading in the good times and taller when he is struck by the harsh. Imagine a man who sells his principles every time he is infatuated by momentary greeds, imagine a man who is unfair with himself and his values, will you ever trust him with your life, or even time? You are a fool or really innocent if you do, a man who cannot stand up for his own faith can never lead anyone else to their faith. Neither a leader is born, nor is he made, the principles of a man lead the leader’s path while his discipline and commitment determine the extent of the path.
5. His actions speak louder than his words:
If words had the power to lead, poets have been the undisputed knights of the universe. They would have been the highest authorities and in all probabilities, even God. A leader leads by his actions and not merely words. If you meet a man with ripped muscles and sound strength telling you about fitness and body building and another with crippled posture and crooked muscles narrating the same, who would you be tempted to listen to? A leader requires oratory skills, true, but oratory only endows itself to the man who has earned it with hard work.
6. A leader does not blame:
A leader believes in changing the situations that he can and accepting the ones he cannot alter. The people who say that they can’t compromise or sacrifice their needs for others can’t lead, a leader understands that things, the good things, don’t come easy. We earn it with moments and years of hard work, perseverance, sacrifices, struggles and the unwept tears. A leader knows the price that he pays and he believes that success doesn’t come handy, it comes wrapped in failures, glued hardly with detemination and perseverence. A leader doesn’t blame, but, he commends and improves upon the shortcomings.
7. A leader is honest:
A leader is honest, with himself and with his followers. He knows when he needs to say yes and when, no. A leader takes everyone’s interests into consideration, but he does not try to please everyone. He knows when he needs to accept a task and when he should back off. He is able to lead because he knows his extent and the moment when he needs to stop. He is an optimist but also a realist, he is fair and transparent. He will not say sewet things to you but he will tell the things that you really need to know.
8. A leader does not let his insecurities cloud his decisions:
A leader is not a weird creature who does not have fears or insecurities, he is no alien, he is like all of us. He has his weaknesses, fears and his insecurities which are very hard to handle even for him. But, what sets him apart is that he doesn’t let these insecurities hinder his path or cloud his judgement. He keeps moving forward tackling these fears and helps his followers do the same. He understands that in order to lead others, he must lead himself victorious first, in order to gain the trust of others, he needs to gain his own belief.
9. A leader treats everyone with respect:
When you come across a man who talks foul, disrespects or conceit others, be sure that this man doesn’t even respect himself. A man who has pride in his abilities, a man who respects himself always treats others with respect. He does not bully or show anyone down, he is happy with others achievements as much as he is with his. He respects himself and others enough to understand that comparison is neglecting one’s abilities and demoralising. Neither he keeps himself down, nor others, he, rather, believes in walking alone.
10. A leader is disciplined:
Now with discipline, I’m not talking about being strict or rigid, but about the courtesy of doing things that are important. Discipline comes with setting your priorities and working towards them. It is waking up even when your mind begs you to sleep, it is eating right when your tongue screams for flavors, it is going on duty even when you know that you might not come back safe. A leader has self-control, discipline and self-respect leading his life.
11. A leader never gives up on himself or his team:
While a leader knows when to back off, he doesn’t do it for running away from situations or failures, he does them only to jump higher and fight better. A leader doesn’t give up on himself or his team, he never loses hope and stays optimistic, especially when the dark circumstances ask him not to. He doesn’t shun his responsibilities, but he tries to find alternative ways for fulfilling them. A man can either make work or excuses and a leader makes the former.
12. A leader leads and a leader follows:
A man who cannot follow another leader, can’t lead as well. A leader leads when he knows in his best abilities he should and follows when he must. The strength of a leader lies not just in his ability to command, but also being commanded. It begins with a leader, being the follower of his own instincts and then leading his followers by the same. A man who can’t follow, can’t lead. He may be a very good boss but not a leader.
It is quite clear now, that a leader has abilities more prevalent than dressing smart and commanding others, awaken the leadership in you, let it be led by principles and instincts and always remember to put the team first.