The 8 Essential Qualities of a True Leader

Wednesday 29 January, 2014
We're all familiar with the stereotypical leader. First of all, he is a he. He's aggressive, forward, results-driven and asserts control by rising to the top of a hierarchical organisational model. Over the last decade however, it is clear that the hierarchical structure is adapting to a flatter model. And the leader on top of it all has evolved to meet the skill set that is quickly becoming the norm for all managers. So today's leader needs a whole new set of qualities to stand out and become a success. Here are the top 8 essential characteristics of a leader:

Be a role model

Lead as you'd want your own leader to. The first real thing that differentiates a good leader from a bad one is how they understand the concept of leadership itself, and how they use it to benefit the company as well as the employees. As a leader, your role is to lead a team of people to achieve results that will ultimately enhance and better the company. Image Photo Credit:

Keep your ego in check

Be aware of your own biases and focus on the present as on the future. You need to manage the egos of team members by rewarding collaborative behavior. There will always be the need for decisive leadership, particularly in times of crisis. I'm not suggesting total democracy. Image Photo Credit:

Work the hardest to set the example

Being a leader does not make you exempt from hard work. Quite the opposite, in fact. Successful leaders, whether they run international corporations or smaller firms have to understand this concept which is the importance of working the hardest to set an example. Image Photo Credit:

Put your employees first

Leaders have to make decisions all the time. Good leaders consider the wellbeing of the company, as well as that of the employees. While this clearly isn't an easy task, a responsible leader will look for decisions that will benefit both the company and the employees. Image Photo Credit:

Reward collaboration and teamwork

Leadership is fluid and flexible so integrity and character matter more than you think. Everyone knows about the culture, subscribes to it, and recognises its passion and its nuance. When you create a culture of teamwork and collaboration, the end result looks more like a harmonic orchestra than an advancing army. Image Photo Credit:

Expressing yourself the right way

It's sometimes difficult for leaders to accept that they are filling a role that requires certain skills they may not even possess yet. We all express ourselves differently but when it comes to talking to different people in and out of the company, for example, employees or clients, you'll have to adopt a completely different tone from the one you use with your friends. Image Photo Credit:

Be ready for roles and responsibilities to change

One of the big mistakes new bosses make is they don't act fast enough. Markets and needs change fast. Now there is a focus on social, global and environmental responsibility. Hierarchies make it hard to adjust positions or redefine roles. The beta culture gets it done. There is a growing consciousness or awareness of social, environmental and global responsibility which makes thecurrent business environment susceptible to change. Image Photo Credit:

Keep your promises.

Do what you say you'll do. With limited resources, it's not always easy to keep the promises you make to employees but it becomes clear very quickly when an employee is dissatisfied because that's when they stop performing. However, don't be afraid of making these promises as long as you're willing to commit to them and deliver. Image Photo Credit:
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