What Makes a Leader


Effective leadership is an essential requirement in the present business world. Leadership can be described as the process through which an individual, in this case a leader, influences a group of people towards the realization of a common objective. Leadership is based on the principle of social interaction, meaning that it focuses on influencing individuals, understanding the various roles that distinguish leaders from followers and most importantly ensuring cohesion members of an organization with the aim of realizing a common goal. Leaders are primarily responsible for the establishment of organizational mission while leaders are responsible for the implementation of the established missions. The basic structure of effective leadership entails a leader providing a direction for his followers. This paper attempts to investigate the distinctive characteristics that a leader must possess so that one can be termed an effective leader.

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Successful leaders have distinctive traits from ordinary people. One of such traits is that a successful leader is charismatic and transformational. A charismatic leader can achieve persuasion from their followers; aims at more than just extrinsic rewards and focuses on transformational benefits. Having a loyal following is imperative in ensuring that the outlined vision of the leader is adhered to; this is significant in the business environment, workplace and the corporate world. A successful leader uses transformational style of leadership; implying that a successful leader appeals to his followers and inspires them towards a given direction. A following will only adhere to the vision of the leader only if the leader appeals to them. This is achieved through the deployment of a leadership style that puts the needs of the other people and the organizational needs first rather than prioritizing the personal interests.

It is vital for leaders to understand that authoritarian and transactional styles of administering leadership do not work in the present business and corporate environment. Therefore, leaders should not entirely rely, on those under them, to help the organization move forward; rather they should participate collectively with their subordinates towards the realization of the organizational goals and objectives. Successful leaders should tend to show respect and dignity when around their subordinates or followers. They should treat those around them in the same capacity they would expect to be treated. Leaders demonstrate this through how they communicate to their staff. Respect and dignity helps to build loyalty of the workforce to both the business and the leader.

The second distinctive element that makes a successful leader is motivation. Becoming a motivational leader comes from within and you must motivate yourself before motivating other people in an organization. Self-motivation entails various variables such as a commitment to the realization of the organizational goal, at the same time putting into consideration the needs of the members of the organization. One can only become a motivational leader through leading in such a way that others would always wish to emulate and provide required support towards the realization of the individual and organizational goals. Therefore, it is the responsibility of leaders to take control of their personal traits, and use the positive traits to ensure that the organization moves towards the stipulated direction. Motivational leadership entails the need to have self-confidence; this means that they trust their own abilities to accomplish tasks.

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A practical example is a situation whereby a leader undertakes the duties of his followers irrespective of positional rank. In doing so, the successful leader appeals to his followers. The effective leader needs to appeal to his staff through issuing of individual roles; this is aimed at tapping the individual proficiency in everyone's area of technical expertise. Coaching facilitates the development of healthy working environment and relationships. It is also aimed at streamlining the behavioral traits of the employees to be in line with the organization's goals and objectives. Effective leadership involves integration of technical skills with improved personal relationship in order to maintain a competent and satisfying staff that is capable of achieving the organizations goals and objectives.

A leader must have the ability to empower people under him. Empowering people entail motivation of individuals who have already accepted responsibility towards the realization of some goals and objectives. In a business environment, majority of the workforce want to have an influence on the decision-making processes that relate to their areas of technical competence. Global leaders can achieve this through giving employees an opportunity to be leaders in their various areas of technical expertise (Heifetz, 1994). Efficient leaders must be able to create an open, working environment where there is open sharing of information and communication. It is thus the obligation of the successful leader to give opportunities to his staff a chance to be involved in the actual decision making process. It requires putting the business goals and objectives rather than more than just personal interests. One of the ways of empowering people in an organization is through building their confidence (Gortner, 2001). It is the duty of the leader to provide a beneficial environment, through which sustainable growth and personal confidence can be realized among the workforce. Confidence within employees can be demonstrated through their ability to make their own decisions and act upon them accordingly.

Successful leaders are flexible, implying that they can adapt to the changing needs and situation of the organization and individuals of the organization. Successful managers are aimed at ensuring the task is done efficiently while ordinary managers ensure that the right task is done rightly. Successful leaders have cognitive abilities; they can interpret large quantities of information and offer directions accordingly. They are also honest and have integrity, which means that they are efficient, open to criticism and suggestions. Dynamism is one of the important aspects of leadership that a leader should embrace in order to administer service effectively. Future leaders have the challenge of managing the business organizations and enterprises in a nonhierarchical and a multidimensional approach. The present business environment is never the same; therefore, a leader should be able to develop multicultural approaches to leadership in order to accommodate the various diversities in the business environment.

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Demonstrating integrity is a fundamental trait that makes up an effective leader. Integrity is one of the requirements of global, effective leaders. Effective leader should not only say right things but also implement the thing in a right way without violation of the ethical principles. In order to achieve these high levels of integrity, successful leaders must be transparent and specific about their values and principles; whether they are self-directed or other-directed. It is the obligation of the successful leader to ensure that ethical behaviors based on high standard moral principles are observed throughout the organization. Precisely put, the organization should practice its well-laid policies. The leader should ensure that the organization's mission, vision and principles are clearly understood and observed by the workforce.

In conclusion, the significant characteristics that are imperative for leaders to have includes demonstrating integrity, flexibility, the ability to empower people, deploy a charismatic and transactional style when leading and ultimately the ability to motivate those under them. A combination of the above characteristics ensures that a leader is successful.

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