Leadership qualities cannot be hidden. Never! When a leader goes to a place, people notice. They see the leadership attributes of the leader.
This has happened in my life many times. I am given leadership responsibilities everywhere I go. Therefore, I am not a leader because of the leadership position I hold but because of the leadership traits I possess.
If you have always attracted leadership everywhere you go, then you possess the leadership qualities.
Before we discuss the 9 common qualities of good leaders, let us dive into some little known facts about leadership.
Who is a leader?
Contrary to what many think, a leader is a person who has some level of influence on other people.
Many people think of leaders as having big names and positions, exerting authority over people, and taking all the credit for everything. People think of leaders as being the center of attention.
This notion of leadership has been propagated in the political scenes. In this field, leaders are portrayed as having big cars, bodyguards around them and dishing out money to others.
That is not the definition of leadership. Leadership is never determined by what you own, the position you hold, or the amount of money you give. Leadership is more than that.
The influence of a leader
Leaders influence other people. They direct them by example, not by coercion. People follow leaders naturally by will. They love to support their cause. Followers can die for a great leader.
Any holder of any leadership position that threatens people is not a true leader. This is leadership by fear and not influence. Leaders do not force people to take a certain direction, they show them the way by going ahead of them.
A leader without followers is just a man in a leadership position. If you are a true leader, people will follow you. They will go out of their way to follow you through thick and thin.
Two leadership scenarios
I have seen leaders who do not struggle to lead. Everything flows naturally in their favor. I have also seen those who lack the necessary influence to lead people. People keep running away from them.
The first scenario is great to be in as a leader. Things become smooth. You do not struggle to achieve your goals. People willingly help you. They are always waiting eagerly for your direction. They follow with all their hearts.
Such leaders will always have success in whatever they do. They have an army of people willing to die for them. Such a leader has traits of a good leader.
The second one is a bitter leader. The leader lacks the attributes of a leader. Despite having hefty titles, people are not ready to follow their guidance.
This leader gets followers but they leave immediately they sense a lack of leadership in the leader.
The second scenario is one you ought to avoid being in. You hate life when you are in it. The best thing to do is to hand over the leadership responsibilities to someone else.
Born or made?
There is always a big debate about whether leaders are born or made. This discussion has been going on for centuries.
Some believe that one receives leadership by being of noble birth. They believe that there are specific inborn leadership traits people have that make them leaders.
Other people believe that leaders are not born but made. They are of the view that people can acquire leadership qualities over time regardless of how and where they were born.
I want to lay this to rest. Leaders are born and made.
Everyone is a leader by default. This means that leaders are born. However, very few people manifest leadership. It, therefore, means that leaders acquire the relevant leadership qualities to become effective leaders. This means leaders are made.
The making of a leader
Despite all of us being leaders by birth, the leadership potential is inactive in us. It has to be activated. People who never activate their leadership potential remain followers or struggle as leaders.
God made us leaders in our different areas of gifting. He put everything you need to become an effective leader in you. For this reason, you just need to activate that inactive potential and manifest the leadership in you.
This is why in this article, we are not talking about getting the leadership potential but getting the leadership qualities.
Qualities are nothing more than behaviors. They are things we can get over time. When you change your thinking, you will eventually change your behavior.
When you start behaving like a leader, your leadership potential is activated and you begin to influence people to follow you.
The role of a leader
The role of every leader is to take people to a higher level. Simple! A leader should take people to a higher level of thinking, faith, actions, commitment, prosperity, and morality.
Any leader that does not lead people to progress is not a leader. When you follow a true leader, you start seeing the possibilities of life. You start experiencing progress in your life. Your mindset will change and so is your character and results.
Any leader who makes you worse off is not worth following. That is against the goals of leadership.
What people follow in leaders
People do not follow other people; people follow attributes that they see in people. This is why leaders are different in size, color, religion, gender, and age. The only thing that is common among all of them is the leadership attributes they possess.
Leadership qualities list in all great leaders
Leaders like Jesus Christ, Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, etc. have one thing in common; they were all great leaders. This means that they influenced a lot of people to support their cause.
These leaders made a difference in people’s lives and made history. Such leaders can never be forgotten. They remain not only in history books but also in our hearts.
Billions of people still benefit from their ideas, results, and movements. They started things that have effects centuries after their time on earth.
Here are the leadership qualities all of them possessed:
1. The will to lead
Great leaders have a strong will to lead. They want to help people reach a certain destination. They offer themselves to be leaders. Such are ready to sacrifice their interests for the interests of the people they lead.
Without the will to lead, you cannot become a leader. It is this will that activates the leaders in us.
I have seen people who have no desire to lead. They run away from leadership responsibilities. They just want to be followers. This is because they are not ready to give what it takes to become a leader.
Such people never become great leaders. All great leaders never run away from leadership responsibilities. They may run away from leadership titles but not responsibilities.
All great leaders are visionaries. They have something they desire to achieve for the people they lead. This is what drives them daily.
Great leaders put the interests of the people before their interests. This is why Mandela could be jailed for 27 years to give the people of South Africa independence.
For this reason, these leaders put the vision of the people before their vision. Their vision is to see the vision of the people manifesting.
Leaders who lack a vision for the people they lead will never influence the same people. People notice when a leader is selfish. They notice when a leader does not have their interest at heart.
A great vision for the people will give you the right to lead them. After all, leadership is all about helping people become better every day.
3. Focus on service
All great leaders focus on service. They love serving people. This is why people trust them with their lives.
When a leader’s desire is to be served, such a leader loses influence. They will take away the delegated authority from the leader.
Did you know that all leaders possess delegated authority? We live in a world of free will. Therefore, you cannot lead a person without their express will. Thus, people have to delegate this authority to you to become their leader.
People only delegate leadership authority to you when they see a heart of service. This means that any leader who does not focus on serving people will soon lose followers.
4. A Different mindset
Leaders do not think like everybody else. They think on a higher level.
When I talk of a higher level, I am not talking about their intellectual capacity but their attitudes and beliefs. These two consist of the mindset.
Because of having a different mindset, leaders can set the pace for others to follow. They see possibilities where other people see impossibilities. They can see a way where other people see no way.
Leaders have absolute faith in the future. They never speak anything negative or show doubts about the cause of their duties. Leaders stand firm on what they believe and are ready to defend it even in the face of death.
This different mindset makes leaders unique. When you listen to them, you get a new perspective on life. You start seeing possibilities and having faith that tomorrow will be alright.
All great leaders are courageous. They do not fear venturing into uncharted waters. Great leaders are willing to stand with what is right even if everyone is against it.
Leaders do not fear death. It is their joy even to die in the execution of their mandate. They are ready to stand alone if need be than to compromise.
6. Commitment to the cause
Great leaders have an unshaken commitment to the cause. They can work on it day and night without getting fatigued.
When leaders commit to a certain cause, they give everything they have just to see it accomplished. This inspires the people to also commit to the cause. This is why we said leaders lead from the front; by example.
7. A desire to grow
All leaders desire to grow. It is a leadership quality that cannot be ignored. This is because it is common for all leaders.
No leader wants to remain at the same level forever. Every leader wants to grow to perfection and become the best at what they do. This desire to grow is what makes leaders effective.
All leaders are readers. They seek knowledge, wisdom, and understanding wherever they may be found. This is to satisfy their desire to grow, know more, and consequently, become more.
8. Going an extra mile
Leaders do not give the same effort as followers. They are usually a notch higher. This is how they can pull people to where they are.
If your followers read a book every month, you should read a book every week. If they give 2 hours every day, you should give 4. The same applies to all other things.
Always give at least twice the effort your followers give.
If you put the same effort as they do, you will never be able to lead them effectively. If they give more effort than you do, they will become the leaders and you, their follower. Of course, you may retain the titles and positions but the influence will be gone.
Charisma is the ability to influence without the use of logic. It is something that pulls people to you naturally.
Charisma comes from the way you talk, act, smile, walk, wear, serve, etc. All these have to be in a way that you attract people and not repel them.
Some people do not talk or act as leaders. These people lack charisma. Even if people come to them, they will eventually repel them.
Final thoughts on leadership qualities
If you will become a great leader, you need to develop these basic characteristics of a good leader. leadership qualities are invaluable. They will attract people to you. This is the influence you need to lead.
Let’s recap. 9 leadership qualities you need to make a difference in this world:
- The will to lead
- Focus on service
- A different mindset
- Commitment to the cause
- A desire to grow
- Going an extra mile
Go out there and become the leader you were meant to be.