|Essential Leadership Traits|
|Written by Ashim Gupta|
|Thursday, 30 October 2008|
Essential Leadership Traits
The trait approach to leadership is undeniably the oldest; society and organizations were always able to identify certain traits in individuals that made them better leaders. Below are the three traits that are on the top of the list, others traits can be seen as derivatives of these.
Ability to Inspire and motivate others
Leader must have ability to move the masses; it’s not just true for political leaders, but also organizational leaders. Simply lead with your heart and show that you actually believe in the purpose of what you stand for. If a leader can make his employees believe that their work has a deeper purpose, the results and productivity of these employees will vastly exceed those who are just doing their jobs. Being upbeat, positive and optimistic about the future, raises the enthusiasm and hopes, produces better results for the same content of work.
Emotions are contagious, both that of optimism & pessimism and must be guarded in public. Even in crucial and uncertain times, it’s important to keep positive emotions. While it is important to communicate reality, it’s equally necessary to give sense of hope.
Leaders must encourage a culture of pride in the employees; they should be able to harness the collective creative energies of an organization. A leader must have the ability to bring out the best in others, to enable others to act. When the employees feel that they “only work here”, the leadership has typically failed.
Credibility is single most important quality of a good leader; it is the foundation. A foundation that is build with honesty, integrity, and self-discipline. Employees look up the leaders as the role models, or simply the person who brings meaning to their daily job. If the leaders can’t practice the solid values they preach, their ideas will be shrugged off, or simply be obeyed because of their authority. Every leader must realize that employees are constantly observing and analyzing their actions, evaluating consistency between their work and their deeds, judging their integrity. Leaders must exercise self-discipline by suppressing their own personal egos or emotions and by taking appropriate actions.
Long lasting relationships
In today’s era on communication, relationships are not only important but crucial. Opinion of every person counts, since it’s so easy to post one’s opinion about a corporate leadership on the web and others to search it. Many of the leaders don’t realize the power of internet and its influence on not only politics but also on corporate. A leaders job is not only limited to planning , creating strategies and organizational structure, but to make sure that they are establishing the kind of personal relationships that employees wish to seek. Employees must find their leaders accessible, they like to hear from them first hand rather than through their managers. The open door policy should not be used as a mere buzz word.
Most leaders resist being too close to their employees due to several reasons
The art of communication is key to either establish relationships or being motivational. Leaders are generally articulate and good orators, it is the reason for their charisma that attracts the followers. People try to judge a leader by how he uses the words in his speech, how convincing his arguments and promises appear to be, all of it gives them a sense of his underline credibility. It is often found that people are more easily swayed by leaders with good orator skills when compared to leaders with good records. However the advantage of good communication must be supported by actions that proves one's credibility, otherwise their growth is only temporary.
In organizations, it's usually the most eloquent employees that are perceived as candidates for management positions when compared with other employees who might have better job knowledge. This is usually a hindsight since good leadership is much more complex than ability to communicate better, subsequent articles discusses leadership in detail and will substantiate this point.
Strengths of traits theory
Criticism of traits theory