Any organization or group needs a person to guide its members to achieve their common goals. The leader is given the authority to make decisions or take actions in the organization’s behalf. Material and human resources of the organization are also made available at his disposal and use in order for him to accomplish his mission. The leader is the most important person in the organization because its affairs revolve around him. He is the embodiment of the organization that he represents, and he is held primarily responsible for its performance.
In their adult life most persons exercise leadership in one way or another as they go about their livelihood activities. A person who establishes a business has some employees to exercise leadership on. Military officers and public or private individuals by virtue of their educational attainment and positions have also to exercise leadership to get their jobs done. There are people who because of their personality are natural leaders. But other people can learn the art of leadership through formal education and application of its principles while on the job.
People who exercise leadership have different degree of effectiveness. Some leaders are good. Others can be rated as passable while still others are ineffective. With my observation of different people such as military officers, businessmen and even professionals, I have noticed some common qualities that have made them effective leaders who made valuable contributions to the success of their organization.
Those effective leaders are:
1. Honest. This characteristic is necessary not only for the leader but also for his followers. People gauge one’s character on his honesty. The leader’s lack of it means a loss of trust and confidence on him. He cannot work effectively once his credibility is lost.
2. Knowledgeable. Subordinates have a high regard for a leader whom they perceived as very knowledgeable in the field he is in. In addition he cannot effectively lead his men to do a job in which he has insufficient knowledge of. In this regard, a leader should always strive to improve himself. He should continuously update and increase his knowledge through formal and self education.
3. Positive thinking. All successful leaders are positive thinkers. Positivity of a leader also creates an atmosphere of high spirit in the organization.
4. Proactive. A leader should make thing happens for the good of the organization and to accomplish its goals. He should also take measures to preclude the happening of unfavorable situation or to mitigate its effects if it ever comes at all.
5. A team person. A leader should make an effort to make his men a cohesive group that can work together as one. He should not allow mutual animosity between them to stand in the way in the accomplishment of tasks. He should foster a spirit of camaraderie and cooperation in the group so that team work could be achieved.
6. Devoted to the well being of his men. Human resources are the leader’s greatest asset. People unlike machines have emotions and feelings. Too lenient dealing with them may create an impression that the leader is soft. Strict handling of them may make subordinates resentful and even rebellious. A leader can be authoritarian or democratic when situation demands it or he may adapt a leadership style that is effective to him because it suits his personality. The well being of the men should be one of the leader’s utmost concerns to keep their morale high. Motivated employees are responsive to the leader’s desire to accomplish his mission.
7. Energetic. A good leader is relentless pursuer of achievements. He is a man of action, and he is full of physical energy. However, he need not be the busiest man in the organization. He can carry out his task through his subordinates. The task that he is expected to do most in the organization is supervision.
8. Taking full responsibility for his actions. In his organization, the buck stops at the leader. He is the one primarily responsible for what his organization has done or failed to do. He may delegate his authority to a subordinate but doing so will not relieve him of his responsibility as the leader of the organization.
9. Taking calculated risks when opportunity presents itself. In a certain situation in business, military or other endeavors a leader should take daring steps to advance the interest of his business or organization when there is opportunity to do so. Failure to act means a lost opportunity. Failures are undesirable experience, but doing nothing will also result to nothing.
1 Establishing a network of good working relationship with other people or organization. Some leaders work in a large company so that his organization is under another bigger organization. In that case, a good leader has the ability to be always in the good graces of his superiors to make the accomplishment of his mission easier. If need be, he should also connect with people outside the organization if doing so will help him do his job better. His network of people whom he has working relationship with will make it easier for him to accomplish his missions.
1 Charismatic. There are people whose personality is like a magic so that people like them. Charisma is definitely a boost to one’s leadership ability. And a leader is lucky if he has it. Some people have less or lack that attribute. Fortunately, the art of effective leadership can be developed. Just being charismatic is not an assurance of successful leadership because other qualities of leadership are also equally or more important.
Application of leadership principles has the same effect whether a leader is in a big or in a small organization, in the civilian or in the military establishments or in a non-profit or in a business organization. Leaders who displayed those above mentioned qualities have proven to be successful in the accomplishment of their mission.