Key Traits of a Great Leader

Although each scientist explores leadership in a certain direction (therefore, the theories differ so much), it is possible to define some general points of becoming a real leader that could be useful in any situation, in any area. 

  1. Being Visible. A leader is the person who does not look like other people. He always stands out of the crowd. Regardless of his status, the leader remains close to ordinary people and their concerns. He communicates with people, while going to work, in social networks, answers mail. The leader is accessible and real. He supports people and helps them when they need it. 
  1. Charisma. Charisma is that uncommon trait that distinguishes a person among the others. The first impression plays a significant part. Dan Reiland, the Vice President of Leadership Development of INJOY, once said: “How can you have charisma? Be more concerned about making others feel virtuous about themselves, than you are making them feel happy about you” (Crandall, 2007, p. 302). People tend to follow charismatic individuals. Moreover, people trust them and believe in their unlimited opportunities. 
  1. Self Awareness and Strong Character. The term “self-awareness” means having a deep understanding of one’s feelings, strengths, weaknesses, drives and needs. Those people who have self-awareness are not too pessimistic or too dreamy. Rather, they are honest with themselves and others. Such people realize how their emotions affect their actions, and the actions of the other people. Therefore, the person that begins to panic in the conditions time makes appropriate plans and gets things done in advance. It is extremely crucial to be aware of all the weaknesses and strengths. Before teaching, helping and motivating other people, the leader should feel safe and confident. If talent is considered to be a gift, a strong character is the result of the person’s choice and efforts. Strong character is a key to successful leadership. 
  1. Dream Creation. The leader is always future-oriented. He makes the long-term plans, conducts long-term decisions. The strategy and strategic decisions are his priority. He thinks of the results and then develops a set of steps to achieve them. He is 100% sure about his goals and plans and willing to break the rocks to implement them. He is ready to run any risk to achieve his dream. The leader inspires other people, and they help him. He makes those people believe that each of them has unique skills that no one else has. He knows how to associate their work with more global and significant goals. 
  1. Integrity. Integrity is an indispensable principle for the real leader. The leader has integrity in his interaction with himself and the other people. The concept of integrity means that the leader always keeps his promises and does what he says he will do. He treats the other people with an honor and never tells them lies. The leader is true to his followers, sticks to the facts and tells the truth even if it is not what the people wanted to hear.
  2. Priorities and Concentration. The leader who has priorities, but lacks concentration, knows what to do, but fails to implement his plans. When the leader has concentration only, he achieves some results but does not move forward. 
  1. To be efficient, the leader has “to focus 70% of his time and energy on developing his strength, 25% on new things (changes lead to growth) and 5% on eliminating weakness” (Sashkin, Rosenbach, 2005, p. 67) 
  1. Commitment. Commitment makes people implement their plans and ideas. It is the thing that makes a difference between a dreamer and a doer. Commitment is the power that makes a politician participates in the election after the previous failure. Commitment makes an owner of the bankrupted company start another one. The real leader has to be ready to do anything to achieve his goals. Showing own Example. Leaders should not expect from people anything they can not do by themselves. They have to learn and improve their knowledge and skills all the time, exceed in what they do and inspire others. 
  1. Leaders are role models for their followers.  The way they do things inspires the people, and they try to act like their idols. Leaders always convert their words into the real actions. They create their own vision of the world, goals and the ways of achieving them. People do not tend to trust anyone, but the situation changes when they see results of one’s words, implemented in his actions. 
  1. Developing People and Building Teams. People get even more involved when they see personal development and personal growth prospective. It is necessary to provide them with certain courses, classes, lectures, give them ability to travel or just to spend a vacation abroad. Promotion at work is also extremely valuable. The real leader should encourage his people to contribute to the decision-making process. Leaders are focused on building a strong team with friendly relationships inside. Therefore, they often gather the people together to discuss critical issues or some controversial questions, review the progress, and determine the way forward. They pay attention to each unique traits and needs, and make lots of efforts to match them. They perceive mistakes as undiscovered opportunities and believe that failure is not an option. 
  1. Encouraging and Supporting. William James considers the need of being appreciated to be the most deep human need.  Each person needs to feel important, to feel that his actions will influence somebody’s life, and all his activities are worth something. Leaders always pay attention to people. They are grateful to them. They praise people and say thank you, use different means to inspire and motivate them. They listen. Leaders cultivate the common trust. They make people feel being assessed by their actions, suggestions and contributions. People need to feel safe, and that somebody takes care of them. Leaders encourage them. They make them feel like an important link in the whole system (not an ant in a large world). The leader has to think in a positive way, because his emotions spread rapidly among other people. He does his best to eliminate any uncertainty. 
  1. Communication. The leader should know how to simplify the message, to care of the audience, tell the truth and seek the response (the main purpose of communication). 

Communication is one of the key points of leadership. There’re different ways of communication. It is possible to catch one’s attention using logics, but sometimes that will not work. The same thing is with emotions and values of people. The real leader spends plenty of time communicating with people and knows how to combine all three instruments in various situations and circumstances. 

Simplicity is also extremely influential and involves the ability to present the whole situation in a few words. The way of such presentation also ought to be comprehensible for understanding. Another pivotal moment is that it is essential to know the audience. The real leader always knows what information his people will hear, and what kind of information they will not listen to. 

Communication contains not only words, but also actions, decisions and behavior. "Your behavior, your actions, and your decisions are also ways of communicating, and leaders have to learn how to create a consistent message through all of these. It has been said many times, but leaders lead by example," says John Kotter (Sashkin, Rosenbach, 2005, p. 98). 

This list can be continued indefinitely. The real leader should also be logical and consistent in his actions, caring, self-confident, pay attention to the problems of his people and give them the opportunities, sharing their values and beliefs. Such factors as power, vision, adaptation, coordination, and servant hood, ability to solve problems, positive attitude, self-discipline, security, responsibility, positive attitude, passion and initiative are significant. 

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Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu considered that “A leader is the best when people barely know that he exists, not so good when people obey and acclaim him, the worst when they despise him. Fail to honor people, they fail to honor you. But of a good leader, who talks little, when his work is done, his aims fulfilled, they will all say, “We did this by ourselves” (Crandall, 2007, p.132). 

Mahatma Gandhi’s Leadership Model

Mahatma Gandhi is a renowned spiritual leader of India as he delivered the country from the British rule. This leader did not preside over any company, a party or a large international corporation, but he was able to lead the Indians fro the jaws of forced labor. Thus, he was considered as a leader of a nation by his people. Mahatma Gandhi concentrated all his energy and efforts to focus on the non- violence and non-cooperation with all self sustainability to channelize public discontent into a constructive without force but with love. His leadership style was full of love as he loves all friends and foes. Mahatma Gandhi used the revolutionary method to take on the British because his splendid force with moral belief was encountered by the British. This was after mahatma Gandhi saw how the Indians and the African were treated by the British he was determined to lead the Indians for their own good. This depicts how the leader was a less selfish leader than the others. 

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Mahatma Gandhi was an honest leader. This character trait is depicted during his times in prison. When his wife came to visit him, the couple did not talk and when he was questioned by the guard regarding their silence he honestly replied that it was against the law for them to talk as per the laws of the prison. He was also a reasonable leader as depicted by his statement that India was not to be partitioned. He reasonably realized that the portioning of the country was inevitable, as it was the only solution to the divide of Hindu and Muslims thus accepting partitioning. 

Mahatma Gandhi has been depicted as the master of strategies and exemplary leader as his ideas tactics corporate the Indian nation has emulated. His reign vented the rule of his game in a manner that enabled him to tackle difficult situation where other means had failed. His understanding of the notion that, it was not possible for him to fight with the British through the use force. 

His game was fundamental through the unleashing of the ordinary people of both inspired men and women to fight under the same true goal. He was never bothered the constraint of resources as his objective was a common agenda of motivation. His leadership was follower centric as he accounted for condition to determine his next strategy to apply. His leadership was dependent of conditions and circumstances as he had protested in South Africa in a suit, but, in India, he was khadi launching a non-violent protest. This leadership was situational. 

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Gandhi was an inspirational as he was the perfect case of adoption of style that suit the culture. There was never a leader like him in India and will there be in the future is still a riddle. He was able to bring the public to the streets in demanding that which that belonged to them rightfully. This was a leadership style at its best of utilizing the available resources intelligently that was endowed by him. The leader took his follower to match which stirred the imagination of time to create an impact as he knew silence would not have an impact. His understanding of human psychology helped him together with his skills of public relation. He empowered everyone connecting them toward their goal of independence, making sure that the cause was connected to the objective. 

It is of utmost significance to note that leadership is all about the followers not the leaders, and thus they should be able to make their followers to feel proud and as part of the team as it makes them feel the essential part of the team. 

Conclusion: Leadership is Action, not Position

Leadership is a complex process of encouraging people to action that will lead to attainment of the specified goals. The person that leads people is a leader. It is essential for each politician, businessmen or just manager to be a successful leader. The process of becoming a real leader requires lots of efforts. This issue was explored by many outstanding scientists. Each of them offered his own point of view on the basic leader’s qualities. Their positions are quite different because of various research areas, but it is possible to define the most prominent leadership tips. They involve being visible, communication, building teams, commitment, charisma, integrity, dream creation, own example, encouraging and developing people, strong character and others. It does not mean that each leader has all of them, but there always remain some space for the self-development. The more leadership qualities a person acquires, the obvious results he receives. The real leaders always have followers. They pursue the idea of changing the world and implement it. Mahatma Gandhi is a bright example of the people that worked a lot to become successful leaders. His leadership style is admired and inspired by many people up to the present days.



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