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Qualities of a leader
Good leaders are required in all walks of life - right from an organizational setup to run a firm to a political platform to set the national agenda. But how do you to determine who a good leader is, or what is it that makes a leader a good leader.... an exceptional leader? Everybody has an opinion as to what qualities they expect to see in their leaders. A student of management studies would come up with a considerably lengthy list of qualities of a good leader - characteristics which, according to him, make an individual an exceptional leader.

There exist some obvious qualities that make a person a good leader; competitiveness, communication skills, discipline, etc., are a few to name. While these leadership qualities are important, some of the basic qualities of humans - such as honesty and empathy, can also be counted as assets when it comes to leadership. You come across leaders from different walks of life, but you only remember those with whom you tend to connect. This connection is established when one of the striking qualities of that person appeals you.

Qualities of a Good Leader

Just being a good visionary is a thing of the yesteryears! Today effective leadership includes lot more than just being a good visionary or a good orator. Not to be left out of the discussion on who a good leader is, we decided to compile a list of leadership traits that we would like to see in individuals aspiring to lead us to success and came up with a list of must-have qualities of a leader... a good leader to be precise.

Communication Skills
Effective communication skills undoubtedly top the list of most important leadership traits - irrespective of which field is being taken into consideration. An individual shouldn't just have ideas, but should also sport the means of communicating these ideas across the table in an effective manner. The concept of effective communication is not just restricted to the act of delivering speeches from the stage or addressing a gathering of people, but also include communication with individuals at the grass roots and taking their feedback. As a CEO of the company, you might address several board meetings with people at the managerial level, but ignoring those at the other end of the spectrum is bound to cost you dear.

Competency
A person thriving to become a good leader should be competent enough to take on any odds he is likely to face. Decision making matters a lot, but it is important that these decisions are based on rational thinking and not emotions. This is where the person's competency as a leader comes into play. Giving up is a sign of weak leadership, which doesn't just affect the individual but also hampers the morale of the team. Obviously, decisions are to be made by the leader, but not without taking into consideration the opinion of the other people in the unit.

Honesty
Honesty is one of the most important quality, not just in case of leadership but also in the list of positive traits of human beings. The person has to be honest to himself, his team as well as his goals. Deceit will only call for ire from the team, and that, in turn, will affect the output. The accountability factor makes it all the more important for a person to be honest and set realistic goals in professional life.

Team Player
A leader without his team is as good as a king in a battle without his soldiers. It is but obvious that a team has to stay together as a closely-knit unit, and that is only possible when all the members of a team - including the leader, bond together. In fact, the leader has to play the key role in ensuring that his team doesn't fall out over differences within the members.

Intelligence
Intelligence is bound to reflect on the performance of the leader as well as the team that he is leading. Other than logical thinking and common sense, being updated about the ongoing trends is also a definite advantage - especially when it comes to opportunities of climbing the hierarchy ladder.

Discipline
Laid-back attitude is meant for losers, not leaders. Discipline in both professional and personal life is one of the best leadership qualities a person can inculcate in himself. More importantly, discipline is also one of the simplest measure to achieve success in various walks of life.

Courage
A successful person is the one who takes a calculated risk when everybody else backs off - and that person can make a good leader. The leader should be courageous enough to identify opportunities, and strike gold whenever possible. At the same time, he has to raise the bar and continuously thrive for better. That being said, a good leader should also understand the difference between courage and foolhardiness - and that perhaps is the most important traits of them all.

Goal Oriented
As we all know, a good leader has to be a good visionary. He should be able to set long term goals and, more importantly, implement all the measures required to achieve these goals. In leadership, achievements do matter, and the greater they are the better. But again, as we said earlier, it is very important to set realistic goals - and not give in to temptations, as the latter is a perfect recipe for disaster.

Inspiring
A good leader motivates his followers and team to achieve bigger dreams. He should be inspiring - a person worth idolizing for his team members. Not just his words, but even his actions have to motivate the people around him. The team as a unit is likely to face difficult situations time and again, and that's where the morale boosting ability of the leader would come into picture.

Broad Minded
Being broad minded is as important as being an inspiring force for the team. As a good leader, one has to be open to ideas and suggestions, even when they come from his juniors - which is most likely to be the case. It is very important for him to understand that unnecessary hassles and ego problems are best avoided for the sake of overall success.

Dedication
A good leader will be highly dedicated to his team and his professional life - but not at the cost of his personal life of course. Even though it's important to draw a line between one's professional and personal life, the onus is on him to make sure that he does justice to both. As an efficient leader, his aim should always be to perform better than the previous occasion, and that without letting the target go out of his sight.

Humor: A Bonus
Although it isn't considered one of the most popular leadership characteristics as such, humor always comes as an added advantage alongside the aforementioned qualities. Being the best way to relieve stress and/or to counter hostility, it comes to our rescue time and again in different situations in life. A good leader should simply know how to use humor to boost the morale of his team and/or solve conflicts within the team members.

Other than all these qualities, the determination to cover that extra mile is also of great help. In the end, it isn't just important to have all these leadership traits if you can't strike the right blend of them all. It is the combination of all these qualities and the individual's efforts that brings out the best in him ... so should we say the leader in him!