Leadership Qualities and How to Develop Them

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Have you ever dreamt of leading?

Perhaps it’s leading a business, or a charity group, or leading the organisation of an event. The good news is you can. Leaders are made and not born. In order to become a leader, there are some distinct leadership qualities that you need and which you can develop:

Ability to inspire

Leadership begins with your vision of the world you want to see. You will also need to share your vision with other people including your followers, your employees, team and partners in such a way that they are inspired to become a part of what you are doing.

You can do this by ensuring what you say and what you do demonstrates passion, professionalism, courage and respect for others, so that your people are inspired to believe in your values and want to model and emulate you.

Solution oriented

When a problem does occur as it will in an endeavour, a true leader will never dwell on the problem and move straight into finding a solution.

The way you can do this is to have an attitude that welcomes problems, expect them to happen and switch your mind to problem solving, so that you’re constantly looking for answers.

Knows when to lead and when not to

Being able to pass over leadership to members of your team and your partners when it is appropriate to do so is an important quality of a decent leader. This means trusting your people and knowing when a person is in a position where he/she can take on the responsibility you want to pass on, or whether the individual is still at a point where he/she needs you to lead them.

You can get better at this through spending time with your people, finding out what they enjoy doing and what activities they are resistant about. You can also determine their level of confidence by observing their reactions to your requests.

Being committed

As a leader you need your vision to be super strong in your mind and through your actions. By being committed to your cause, your followers will also see your commitment and you will gain trust from them. You can do this by working hard yourself and alongside your followers.

Being committed also means honouring your promises. If you have told a follower or a customer you will personally do something then do it. Your integrity will increase in the eyes of your followers.

Give back

Leadership isn’t a one way thing, where you get people to do for you and you never do anything in return. If you want to be a leader that really makes a change, you need to make a real difference in the lives of others. This will attract people to your cause and vision.

You can do this by getting involved in community projects, mentoring people in less fortunate positions and leading free workshops on areas of interest to people in your area.

Friends, it’s over to you:

  • What other qualities do you think make a leader?
  • What would we have to do to develop such qualities?
  • Please share your valuable views, experiences and thoughts in the comments box below.
  • Please also share this post on your favourite social networks.

My new eBook entitled ‘Lessons in Unassuming Leadership’ is out

If you consider yourself to be an unassuming, introverted or reserved person and you have dreams of leading, yet find you’re being held back, you might want to check out my latest eBook entitled ‘Lessons in Unassuming Leadership’.

It will teach you how to use your personality characteristics as sources of power to help you lead effectively. You can purchase the book from the Amazon Kindle Store and is also available as a PDF download.

34 Comments
  1. Hiten,
    I love this post. We all need leadership qualities. Some are born with leadership traits.
    Personally, I think the strongest of all the points mentioned is SOLUTION ORIENTED. Ability to think outside of the box, to solve problems. Going beyond everyone’s expectations etc.. Not many leaders have this quality.
    Are leaders born or made? It is good to be born leader rather than being trained. I look forward to read your ebook.
    Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi Seun,

      I’m so glad you liked the post and that you could resonate with the point about solution oriented. Every decent leader I’ve seen in action is solution oriented. It’s a very powerful approach.

      Other people will be worrying a lot about the problem, whereas the leader quickly steps above the problem.

      Indeed, there are some leaders who seem to have an innate ability to lead. They naturally take the leader position. It certainly can be learnt as well.

      Many thanks for your brilliant comment!

  2. Nice post. I think one outstanding quality that all good leaders must possess is sense of purpose. In order to inspire, a leader must be willing to take a stand. To fight for what he believes in. People naturally want to follow someone who possesses that strength and character.

    There is a huge difference between leading vs. dictating by virtue of authority. You covered the traits that leaders require. Anyone that aspires to true leadership should take note. It’s about what you offer, not what you can get.

    Cheers!

    1. Hi Trevor,

      Many thanks for your words of appreciation for the post!

      You made some great point in your comment. Thank you!

      Indeed, I agree that all good leaders need to possess a sense of purpose and have something they truly believe in, very strongly. As you quite rightly said, whatever this may be, it needs to be something, which the leader will fight for; it would be that important.

      I loved the point you made about the big difference between leading and dictating through a position of authority. Those who do the latter usually do so to feed their egos, yet miss out on so many of the essential skills and behaviours of a proper leader.

      What you said at the end of your comment is very powerful. You’re right; it is about what we can offer and not what we can get.

      Thanks so much for leaving such a powerful and thought provoking comment, Trevor.

  3. Being a leader also means having introspect of one’s self; possessing confidence in 99% of what they do. Leadership has been a favorite topic of mine to study for nearly 10 years now. Becoming a good leader is something I aspire to be. A good leader has a good heart, and adds to the development of his/her charges in order for them to reach the success they seek.
    I enjoyed your post and will be back for more. Thank you for reminding me about leadership–the busy-ness of the week swallowed up those ideals. But only for a moment.

    1. Hi Peggy Lee,

      Welcome to the blog!

      Thanks for leaving such a wonderful comment!

      Indeed, a leader is someone who regularly introspects and looks within to understand how she/he works. This is very true and probably related to having a strong commitment to self-development and personal growth.

      Also, as you quite rightly said, a leader has confidence in her/his abilities. I can totally resonate with what you said about leaders having a good heart. The best leaders I have known have never been selfish and take satisfaction in watching their followers grow and develop.

      Thanks so much for your comment and it would be great to see you again.

      I’m heading over to your blog now…

  4. A good thought provoking post, Hiten!

    Though I believe you can make yourself a leader by doing and following the right things, I also think that some people are born leaders as some of the leadership qualities come pre-installed in them.

    As can try to become successful by copying the habits of successful people, so can you try to be a leader as well. There are some qualities that all leaders have like being disciplined, having confidence and perseverance.

    Leaders have to be a role model, keep their cool and composure, be a good communicator, and of course, be a performer.

    There are so many qualities a leader should possess and I’ll leave those to the rest of the commentators. 😉

    And, wow! congratulations on yet another ebook of yours. That’s incredible and commendable. I wish it all the best. Thanks you. 🙂

    1. Hi Harleena,

      I’m really glad you liked the post and I agree that some people do come with leadership qualities that are innate with them. The behaviours, skills and attitudes such people demonstrate represent excellent cases, which can be modelled.

      Absolutely, two other qualities which good leaders display are being disciplined and having strong perseverance with whatever they are doing.

      Also, I appreciate the point you made about them being role models. The leaders of tomorrow will look at those of today for advice on how they too can lead successfully.

      Thanks a lot for your words of congratulations about my new eBook! I really appreciate it, Harleena!

  5. Hiten,

    Great leadership qualities you outlined. Embedded in many of these is the ability to convert. Leaders convert ideas into actionable steps; they convert actionable steps into purpose-filled results. It is turning the wheel of momentum and meaningful action.

    Thanks for outlining spot-on traits leaders need to embrace!

    Jon

    1. Hi Jon,

      I’m really glad you liked the qualities I included in the post!

      What you wrote in your comment is a very powerful process of what leaders do with such qualities. I can really appreciate what you wrote about being able to convert qualities into actions and results being full of purpose. Indeed, I’ve seen what you wrote in action in previous companies I’ve worked at. The results which leaders wanted to see were full of strong purpose.

      Thanks very much for adding your great insights and experience to the discussion here, Jon. It’s always really good to see you.

  6. This gave me a lot of food for thought, Hiten. My father was in the Army and I’ve watched him lead his men by example and with a lot of tact. I think these are qualities that I too tried to imbibe and practice when I was in a position of leadership. Knowing how to encourage leadership qualities in your team members without feeling threatened yourself is key to leadership, to my mind.

    1. Hi Corinne,

      It’s really good to see you and thanks for sharing your experiences of watching your father lead. This must have very interesting and indeed, a good example for you to follow.

      What you wrote in your comment about encouraging leadership qualities in your team without feeling threatened is so true. Indeed, I’ve seen both types of leaders in action. I’ve seen those who did feel threatened by team members. I’ve also seen those who did not feel threatened. Their ego stays completely out of it and they treat you as a partner and love to see you develop.

      Thanks for your great comment, Corinne!

  7. HI Hiten,

    Awesome share!

    I think “Leaders are borne not made” has been a topic of debate for the last many years. I usually will stick to the school of thought which states that leaders are made, because there are certain personality traits which have to polished, those traits if not adequately polished can result in the leaders becoming managers.

    One key point which really helps in making a true leader is, leader always practices which he preaches, this quality sets them apart from others.I look on to the leaders with this quality at the forefront.

    The other very important point is integrity which really is the most talked about when corporate governance is an issue, we all know what happened with Satyam with Raju at the helm of the affairs.

    Thanks for this great share.

    Sapna

    1. Hi Sapna,

      I’m really glad you liked the post!

      Just like you, I also belong to the school of thought that leaders are made, especially as I had to develop leadership qualities in my own life and continue to do so.

      What you wrote in your comment is so true and I never looked it like this before. As you quite rightly said, certain traits need to be polished, which help in the transition to a leader. Otherwise, as you said, people become managers. There are clear and distinct differences in qualities between managers and leaders and it can be fascinating to observe this in action.

      I can resonate with what you say about leaders practicing what they preach. This is also an important quality I look for when I look at the behaviour of a leader.

      Indeed a leader can totally fall from grace, if her/his integrity is compromised. It can be totally disastrous like in Satyam, as you pointed out.

      Many thanks for your brilliant comment, Sapna!

  8. Hello Hiten,
    A Leader has strength … of character, of commitment and empathy. A leader needs to be able to see “all sides to the equation” and commit to the action that will give best results. A Leader knows the game and how it is played. Thanks for this posting Hiten. I remember doing a number of exercises with this in my Banking days.
    Be good to yourself
    David
    Life Coach. Listener. Life Lover.

    1. Hi David,

      Your comment was awesome!

      I could really resonate with what you said about leaders being able to see “all sides to the equation”. The best leaders I’ve seen in action are masters at doing this. I guess it is because they spend so much of their time looking from a ‘systems perspective’. As you quite right said, the action they end up taking gives maximum impact and results.

      I’m really glad you liked the post and many thanks for your support.

  9. I agree. We can all be leaders in various aspects of our lives. Taking responsibility for ourselves, not blaming others, living our values, being, as Gandhi said, the change we want to see in the world. When we let out light shine, we inspire others to do the same. Good luck with your book!!

    1. Hi Galen,

      I can really appreciate what you said about all of usbeing able to be leaders in different aspects of our lives. The more people we have stating this and living it too, the more hope it will give to those who perhaps still do not feel confident enough that they can lead.

      Thanks for sharing the wonderful quote by Mahatma Gandhi. It is one of my personal favourites and always helps me to keep going.

      Thank you for your kind wishes about my book and for leaving your brilliant comment, Galen!

  10. Hi Hiten,

    I love your book theme. I would consider myself anunassuming, introverted or reserved person with dreams of leading. I will check out your book. Sounds like a good one. A leader needs to be positive, include everyone in the group and accept and embrace their differences. Best of luck with your book!

    1. Hi Cathy,

      Thanks for leaving your comment!

      I appreciate your wishes of luck about my book. Being unassuming myself, this was a topic that I just had to write about. I’m hoping that it will be a motivational text for other people who are reserved, yet want to lead, but find they are being held back by the way they are. There is nothing wrong with being introverted or reserved. Having said this, people can develop beliefs that there is something wrong with them, if they are. I used to be like this!

      Thanks very much for adding further insights about the qualities of a leader. I loved what you wrote about a good leader being someone who remains positive and includes everyone in the group. In this regards the leader has strong emotional intelligence.

      Thank you very much for leaving your comment!

  11. Great post on leadership, Hiten. Leaders always have to be willing to lead by example. Be prepared to do the job or take the plunge you want others to do or take.

    I think it’s so important that you mentioned delegation. Leaders have to be willing to let go so that the people they’re leading actually have the opportunity to get stuck in. Bad leaders still want to do everything because they don’t trust anyone to do it ‘as well as they do’.

    1. Hi Anne,

      I’m really happy you enjoyed the post!

      What you wrote in your comment is so true. If we want others to follow us then we have to set a good example. By getting involved in the nitty -gritty things while keeping an overall check on the wider vision, really helps leaders to earn the respect of those around them.

      I’m glad you could resonate with the point about delegation. I think being able to do this is what differentiates those leaders who are truly happy more often than those who need to be in control, in order to be happy.

      It’s lovely to see you here and thanks for sharing your great views on this area.

  12. Hiten – I like leaders who are collaborative and community-oriented or team-oriented. I’m not a fan of dictatorial leaders lol but do like leaders who listen to what everyone has to say and then makes decision based on that collective wisdom. SOme leaders don’t operate that way, they know what they want and just do that.

    Usually group wisdom will lead to the solutions you speak about in a quicker way because everyone will have a good idea. And thoughts that no one else that thought about.

    Congrats on your latest book – you publish one a couple times a month:) ? I’d like a post on your prolific publishing schedule. Keep up the good work Hiten.

    1. Hi Vishnu,

      Just like you, I love leaders who are collaborative. I really believe such leaders have got it right. They treat you as a partner and with respect. I totally agree that group wisdom is so much more effective than a dictatorial ‘my way is right’ approach. One person can never be as effective as a group.

      I also love those leaders who will admit they don’t know everything and often end up using the ideas of their followers to do something, rather than their own.

      Many thanks for your words of congratulations on the book, and for your words of encouragement, too! I guess at the moment, it is around 2 books a month. Thanks for your request on a post about this! I had a couple of other requests about this as well. I’m planning to write some posts about publishing shortly, so watch this space! 🙂

  13. I believe anyone can become a leader because anyone can influence someone. Since everyone can influence those around us it’s important to be growing and developing in our leadership skills. It can make a huge difference in our life (no matter our position or title).

    Personal growth is essential when it comes to becoming a better person and leader. Growth moves us toward our potential and greater opportunities.

    Great post and thoughts!

    1. Hi Dan,

      I’m so glad you liked the post and thank you for your comment! Your comment is so encouraging for all those people who want to lead, especially for those who might doubt they can.

      You explained such a key aspect or leadership, which is influencing, brilliantly. As you quite rightly said, all of can influence each other and we do it every day. I think influence underlies leadership in a crucial way.

      I loved what you wrote about personal growth and how it is essential to becoming a better person.

      Thanks so much for your comment and it is great to learn from a dedicated leadership expert as yourself.

  14. Hi Hiten,

    It reminds me of a quote, Great leaders won’t make followers but they make great leaders. You wrote a leader welcomes problems I liked it and also the way you mentioned few qualities of a leader.

    I also remind one of my friend’s speech in our college on leadership. He said there are two types of leaders one who leads from front and one who leads from back.

    Mahatma Gandhi was a leader who used to lead people from front. He used to carry salt and ask others to follow him at his back(Salt Satyagraha, Dandi March).

    Some other kind of leaders are the leaders who carry out anti social activities they send their followers ahead to plan an harmful even and they stay back of them but they won’t actually involve in the event yet they are leaders. I don’t want to give any examples you can guess many such leaders.

    What do you say Hiten?

    I saw your comments in a who launch what blog but I never thought you write such motivational articles. I just came from the Rafi’s blog after reading your article on mentor. You are a great catch man…

    1. Hi Vijesh,

      Welcome to the blog!

      I’m so glad you liked the qualities I included in the post!

      I really appreciated what you wrote about the two types of leaders. Thanks also for explaining the type of leader Mahatma Gandhi was. Indeed, I was watching a documentary about him just the other day and I saw how he had lead the Salt Satyagraha. It was really fascinating. Gandhiji really is one of my favourite leaders!

      Indeed, I know what you mean about those types of leaders who lead from behind. Such leaders always get their followers to do the atrocities, while they are never seen.

      Thanks very much for leaving your comment and for adding so much more to this post, Vijesh!

      It’s good to hear about your connections with Rupali and Rafi, too!

  15. Hey Hiten!!
    Very interesting tips really impressed… I would like to follow your blog…..
    Really impressed that you have written about 700+ articles till now..
    Really great job!!!!!

    Hope to hear frm you!! 🙂

    vishal

    1. Hi Vishal,

      Welcome to the blog and I’m so glad you liked the tips!

      It’s great to meet you and connect with you. 🙂

  16. The nature of communication in the group also plays a significant part in determining what kind of person will be an effective leader. An individual will usually be regarded as a group leader when he has a central position in the communication network (Goldberg, 1955). In less highly structured groups, persons who initiate the most communication are likely to emerge as leaders

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