Qualities of a Good Leader

Qualities of a Good Leader

Dr. Avis Joseph



The following is a list of the Qualities of a Good Leader

1. Integrity

2. Dedication

3. Magnanimity

4. Humility

5. Openness

6. Creativity

7. Fairness

8. Assertiveness

9. Sense of Humor





Integrity- is the integration of outward actions and inner values. A person of integrity is the same on the outside and on the inside. Such an individual can be trusted because he or she never veers from inner values, even when it might be expeditious to do so.

A leader must have the trust of followers and therefore must display integrity.

Honest dealings, predictable reactions, well-controlled emotions, and an absence of tantrums and harsh outbursts are all signs of integrity. A leader who is centered in integrity will be more approachable by followers.






Dedication- means spending whatever time or energy is necessary to accomplish the task at hand. A leader inspires dedication by example, doing whatever it takes to complete the next step toward the vision. By setting an excellent example, leaders can show followers that there are no nine-to-five jobs on the team, only opportunities to achieve something great.





Magnanimity- means giving credit where it is due. A magnanimous leader ensures that credit for successes is spread as widely as possible throughout the company. Conversely, a good leader takes personal responsibility for failures. This sort of reverse magnanimity helps other people feel good about themselves and draws the team closer together. To spread the fame and take the blame is a hallmark of effective leadership.





Leaders with humility- recognize that they are no better or worse than other members of the team. A humble leader is not self-effacing but rather tries to elevate everyone. Leaders with humility also understand that their status does not make them a god. Mahatma Gandhi is a role model for Indian leaders, and he pursued a “follower-centric” leadership role.





Openness -means being able to listen to new ideas, even if they do not conform to the usual way of thinking. Good leaders are able to suspend judgment while listening to others’ ideas, as well as accept new ways of doing things that someone else thought of. Openness builds mutual respect and trust between leaders and followers, and it also keeps the team well supplied with new ideas that can further its vision.





Creativity- is the ability to think differently, to get outside of the box that constrains solutions. Creativity gives leaders the ability to see things that others have not seen and thus lead followers in new directions. The most important question that a leader can ask is, “What if …?” Possibly the worst thing a leader can say is, “I know this is a dumb question …”





Fairness- means dealing with others consistently and justly. A leader must check all the facts and hear everyone out before passing judgment. He or she must avoid leaping to conclusions based on incomplete evidence. When people feel they that are being treated fairly, they reward a leader with loyalty and dedication.





Assertiveness- is not the same as aggressiveness. Rather, it is the ability to clearly state what one expects so that there will be no misunderstandings. A leader must be assertive to get the desired results. Along with assertiveness comes the responsibility to clearly understand what followers expect from their leader.

Many leaders have difficulty striking the right amount of assertiveness, according to a study in the February 2007 issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, published by the APA (American Psychological Association). It seems that being under assertive or overassertive may be the most common weakness among aspiring leaders.




Sense Of Humor

A sense of humor is vital to relieve tension and boredom, as well as to defuse hostility. Effective leaders know how to use humor to energize followers. Humor is a form of power that provides some control over the work environment. And simply put, humor fosters good relationship.

Intrinsic traits such as intelligence, good looks, height and so on are not necessary to become a leader. Anyone can cultivate the proper leadership traits.





Self Examination


Self-Awareness is the basis for all the others and is, therefore, considered the most important for developing Emotional Intelligence.

-Self-Awareness: Recognizing who you are and who you want to be. -Self-Management: Learning to control and manage your behavior to make the most of your strengths and minimize your weaknesses. -Social Awareness: Moving out of your personal comfort zone to apply your new personal knowledge and understanding to understanding others. -Social Skill: Developing relationships to support Leadership.




Self Examination

Ability to recognize and understand your moods, emotions and drives as well as their effect on others.

Self-awareness means having a deep understanding of ones emotions, strengths and weaknesses, needs and drives….People who have a high degree of self-awareness recognize how their feelings affect them, other people, and their job performance.




Self Examination

Once you understand yourself, it is then possible to begin the development necessary for controlling your feelings and managing the way you behave and relate to other people.  That is Self-Management or Self-Regulation, which has been defined as the “ability to control or redirect disruptive impulses and moods.” It includes “the propensity to suspend judgment, to think before acting.”



Self Examination

As you are developing your Self Management/Self-Regulation competencies so that you can deal with other people in a way that facilitates good interpersonal relations and Leadership, you should also be thinking about building your Social Awareness or your knowledge and ability to understand people and what motivates them.




You Will Also Need To

Effectively delegate tasks in ways that empower and enable followers,

Develop people through feedback and guidance,

communicate effectively,

Manage conflict and,

Build relationships which create bonding and teamwork.





People Skill

The higher up you go, the more your problems are behavioral and interpersonal. Your people skills are what set you apart, and changes in your behavior are the most important changes you can make.

All other things being equal, your people skills (or lack of them) become pronounced the higher up you go. In fact, even when all other things are not equal, your people skills often make the difference in how high you go.




Leadership is about people.

Here are some suggestions:

remember names

listen well

become genuinely interested in people


talk in terms of the other person’s interests

make the other person feel important




What “lights the fire within” people “inspires them” is the opportunity:

Maslow Hierarchy of Needs

Self Actualization: To Leave a Legacy: spiritual and holistic meaning and integrity

Esteem Needs: To Learn- mental and intellectual development and use of talent.

Belonging Needs: To Love- Social and emotional kindness and respect.

Security Needs: To Live- physical and economic fairness and security.

Physiological Needs

But, as Maslow’s pyramid emphasizes, this is a “hierarchy” of needs. As Martin and Shell say:



Maslow Hierarchy of Needs

Maslow arranged these needs in a hierarchy, with the lower needs taking on predominant importance; once satisfied, the next level of needs assumes greater importance.

Once peoples physiological needs are met at home and in society, when they come to work, people will not respond and be motivated by their higher level needs (or wants) until their lower level “security” and “ belongingness” needs have been met. These are foremost on peoples’ minds and apparent on a daily basis in the workplace. In that regard, Frederick Herzberg found that there are, indeed, two categories of needs: “hygiene factors” and “motivators” and people respond to them differently.





Maslow Hierarchy of Needs

Frederick Herzberg found that there are, indeed, two categories of needs that people respond to them differently.

-Hygiene Factors = job security, working conditions, policies and procedures, supervisors, co-workers. These fall into the “security” and “ belongingness” needs near the bottom of the Maslow pyramid. -Motivators = the job, achievement, recognition, responsibility, advancement, growth, which equate to the “esteem” and “self-actualization” wants at the higher levels of the Maslow pyramid.




“ “Hygiene Factors” or environmental factors such as:

…an annoying boss, a low salary, an uncomfortable workspace or stupid rules.

Managed badly they make people miserable and they certainly can be demotivating. But, even if managed brilliantly, they don’t motivate anybody to work harder or smarter.





While hygiene or environmental factors are what people complain about, when you fix them, it will only stop them from complaining. It will not motivate them to improve their performance.

Only the “Motivators“ will stimulate people to higher performance.

People are motivated, instead, by interesting work, challenging and increasing responsibility.

These intrinsic factors answer peoples’ deep-seated need for growth and achievement.




Four Gifts

Four gifts a Leader must bestow on the people of the organization to meet their higher level needs:

Love: A sense of caring that stems from listening, understanding and accepting.

Authorship: The authority for subordinates to solve problems on their own.

Power: The opportunity for subordinates to affect change in the organization.

Significance: The feeling of pride from contributing something to the organization.




Today’s Generation

Today it is commonly considered that the generations that make up the American population are:

The Silent Generation: The children of the Greatest Generation (which has almost totally died out) who are now in their 70s and aging.

-The Boom Generation (Boomers); now in their 50s into their mid-60s.

-Generation X (called by Strauss and Howe “Thirteenth”); now in their late 20s and into their late 40s.

-Generation Y (called by Strauss and Howe and others “Millennial”); some now in their 20s and others still in school who will be the employees of the future.




Today’s Generation

These generations are not all the same size. Because of the Baby Booms after WWII, the Boom generation is the largest generation.

They constitute about one-fourth of the population.

Inevitably, they have created a kind of bottleneck, in the work world, in politics, in power. The frustration this poses for the young and talented should be obvious.




The Next generation

The next generation in line Generation X— is only about half the size of the Boomer generation. Generation Y or the Millennial, the children of the Boomer generation is almost as large as the Boomer generation.




The Next generation

Thus, today the workforce consists of Boomers —those in their 50s into 60s occupying their senior positions. Generation X, those in their late 20s and 40s representing the experienced cadre; and a growing number of Gen Y/Millennial, those in their 20s and younger joining the organizations.

The Next generation

The combination of Generation Y eagerly advancing up the professional ranks and Baby Boomers often refusing to retire has, over the course of a few short years, dramatically shifted the composition of the work force; each of these generations is roughly twice the size of Generation X which lies between them.




The Next generation

Today, the Next Generation, Millennial, Generation Y or Digital Natives or the group of young people born between 1980 and 2000 there is a widespread consensus among educators, marketers and policymakers that digital technologies have given rise to a new generation of students, consumers, and citizens who see the world in a different way.

Growing up with the internet, it is argued, has transformed their approach to education, work and politics.




The Next generation

The best educated, most technically literate of any generation of Americans. You know no limits. You feel like you’re entitled to everything. You are highly creative and technologically advanced. You believe anything and everything is possible. You crave teamwork, you crave fun, and you demand social relationships with everyone to include your boss.




The Generations now of working age value essentially the same thing

…Here are 10 intergenerational truths:

1. All generations have similar values.

2. Everyone wants respect.

3. Leaders must be trustworthy.

4. People want leaders who are credible and trustworthy.

5. Internal politics is a problem at any age.

6. No one really likes change.

7. Loyalty depends on the context, not the generation.

8. It is as easy to retain a young person as it is to retain an older one.

9. Everyone wants to learn.

10. Almost everyone wants a coach.





Gender Leadership

In terms of gender stereotypes, the masculine leadership is assertive, competitive, authoritarian, and focused on commanding the behavior of others. The female style is collaborative, participatory, integrative, and aimed at coopting the behavior of followers. Leadership reports the increased success of what was once considered a “female style ” of leadership




In summary

While men and women are all alike in terms of their basic needs and higher level wants that will motivate them to improved performance, they are also different in important ways that Leaders must understand as they interact with people in the organization.

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