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Leadership Qualities

Layne McDonald. Ph.D.

"Management is about arranging and telling. Leadership is about nurturing and enhancing." - Tom Peters

What are the qualities that an individual must have? To be able to influence people toward a common goal. This chapter investigates some qualities and principles that a leader must incorporate to be effective in their leadership. It also looks at the synchronization between the individual needs and those of the company, organization, or society.

In this chapter, you will learn the following:

  • Integrity
  • Magnanimity
  • Openness
  • Dedication
  • Fairness
  • Humility
  • Assertiveness
  • Creativity
  • Humor
  • Visionary
  • Adaptability
  • Persuasion
  • Training and development of your subordinates
  • Cooperation and teamwork

"If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader." - John Quincy Adams.


When looking into the ability of an individual to mobilize or influence people toward a common goal, we must consider the qualities they must have. You will acknowledge that controlling people with diverse minds, ideas, and preferences toward a shared goal can be quite a hassle.

This is irrespective of where the authority or power of an individual comes from. How would you synchronize your qualities with the? The needs of the society, organization, or group you may be leading.

It would help if you incorporated several qualities, including


This quality involves the incorporation of the values and rates not only in your words but also in your actions. This breeds trust among your followers or subordinates in a formal or informal organizational structure.

This is because the followers know exactly what the leader stands for, and at no time would they expect them 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 does not undermine the fact that there will be objections during leadership. However, being a leader with integrity means you can solve the problem or manage the complaints without tantrums or even outbursts. This makes the leader more approachable to the followers.


This is an 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 can thoroughly spread recognition for the success throughout the group, wherein the followers will feel part of the success. In this case, the followers incorporate a good feeling because they think they are part of the solution, not the problem. This, therefore, has a uniting factor for all the team members' Openness.

This quality underlines the ability to listen to innovative ideas. In as much as they may not nonconform with the common thinking, it would be vital that you do away with any form of judgment and listen to any ideas the followers may have will appreciate that innovative ideas may not be essential in the current times. Still, 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 innovative ideas, as the group will always have alternatives. In addition, you can always derive another problem-solving way from the concept.


This incorporates using necessary resources to ensure 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 essential to incorporate dedication at each decision-making stage. Dedicated to the job, converts challenges into opportunities available to achieve the group, organization, or individual goals.

How much is the leader dedicated to leading by example?


This allows for consistency in the way in which one deals with others. This is mostly when the subordinates are in 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 endeavor, the leader should be able to deal with any follower in the same way, irrespective of their relationship. This has the effect of awarding the leader loyalty from the followers and dedication to the purpose or the course of the group.


Humility underlines that the leader is in that position not because they are better than the followers 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 investigate ways in which the others can be elevated.

This has the effect of making all the followers feel good about themselves, in which case it is motivating, in which case the followers will be more loyal to the leader.

Do you shout at your juniors when giving orders?


This is the leader's ability to be clear about their expectations to avoid any conflicts in the future. In this case, the leader will be able to clearly and 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 the expectations as well as any potential challenges to their positions. This, however, must be done in the right proportion as being too assertive could point to aggression, while it would not be desirable to be under-assertive regarding ensuring the job is done.


As a leader, creativity must be part of your qualities, as you will often be expected to think freely. Thinking differently ensures that you are not limited in solutions, even in cases where you may not be very much oriented with the subject.

In this case, you will be assured of being able to investigate issues in a manner that others may not have thought about. In most cases, this will appear radical as you stretch your thinking to all the possibilities.


As much as the leader may be approachable to the followers, there is always an element of tension, even when talking about 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 and 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 teach in your speech. Decide that the spirit you incorporate does not offend anyone. Humor touching on an individual’s culture or body anatomy would not be desirable in the group environment as it is highly possible to offend someone. In this case, it would be vital that you have a teachable bit of intelligence and wisdom in humoring the people. However, it is essential to limit the humor you teach in your speech is necessarily limiting.


Leaders should clearly understand their organization, team, or group's direction. It is the vision of the organization that decides the course of action at any given time. In this case, you will acknowledge the study of action changes but not the organization's vision.

As a leader, you must align the resources at hand and synchronize the processes to reach the prime goal. Where do you see yourself and the organization in the long term? You will have to often refer to the organization or group’s vision as it sets the basis for your leadership. It is based on the idea of the group that the people decide whether they want to identify with you or even the team. The concept defines the organization's long-term goal, and people will only determine 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 an essential quality of the leader. Rigidity decides your ability to accept failure and 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; therefore, you will need to take everything in your stride and be able to lead change. Even when the difference threatens your leadership, it will be best to take it as an opportunity to improve the organization or group instead of opposing an idea whose time has come.


Influencing others underlines the ability to persuade even those who may not hold the same views as you. You would look at elements of persuasion, but to start? With this, you must clearly understand the situation at hand. This, therefore, allows you to persuade people based on facts and guided by information and knowledge. This, thus, guarantees you an element of trust which comes with loyalty and dedication from your subordinates or followers. You will, however, acknowledge the importance of clearly articulating the issues at hand to influence the people. People will often attach some value to your opinion based on your knowledge or orientation toward the subject. In addition, you must underline the importance of having a good relationship with your subordinates.

Training and development of your subordinates

This quality relates to your ability to nurture, encourage, end even enhance the capacity of your followers. It underlines the element of preceding your needs for the sake of your follower’s growth and sharing control with them.

This looks at delegating duties and offering guidance to develop their skills. As much as having the same ability as you may be a threat to your position, you will acknowledge that times are dynamic, and chances are the skills will be needed even when you are not there. The need to coach people and nurture their talents to grow their capabilities would draw the followers to the leader, thus creating an element of loyalty.

Cooperation and teamwork

As much as it may be your responsibility to oversee the operations of the group, it would be vital that you acknowledge the value of cooperating with others.

Promoting teamwork would ensure the group is united around the exact cause and purpose. The variety of skills that different individuals bring into the group or organization to obtain a singular goal is essential for unity, as every individual feels that they are part of the solution.

No one knows each issue in the group; therefore, you should know when to take the backseat, especially on matters beyond your understanding. Enhancing teamwork, therefore, means that you can be a follower in certain instances, thus, improving the self-importance of the members. It goes hand in hand with the ability to be magnanimous or give due credit.

Cooperation and teamwork

Enhancing your relationship with the subordinates and those around you

Commanding legions of followers using effective leadership would demand mutual respect and trust between followers and leaders. This also undercuts your peers and even those that are related to you.

You will often need to do a lot of networking, which calls for enhanced people skills and communication. This also underlines the importance of being in opposition to starting and deepening your relationship with the followers as this goes deeper for improving the organization's goal.

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