If you go to the crux of it, what is leadership all about? Is it about the leadership styles or strategies that the wise old men teach you in B-schools? Or is it something which is pretty much ingrained into you during your lifetime? Or is it something you're born with? What are the qualities that you need to have in order to be a true leader, and how do you get them?

What Makes a Leader
Enough questions! It is time for some answers now. A leader has the ability and the vision to set a goal for his team, and make sure that the team is able to achieve it. He or she is someone who sets such a persuasive vision that the team internalizes and fights to achieve. A leader is someone who guides his team in times of crisis, and mentors them when one of the players has self-doubt. He needs to have the right leadership traits.

Tried and True Skill Sets
For effective leadership and management, one needs to have quite a few qualities and skills.
  1. Vision: This quality, more than any other, sets a leader apart from the followers. Followers blindly align themselves to the vision and goals of the leader, and help accomplish them. But without an envisioned leader, the team will be a directionless group.
  2. Ability to Change: The external business environment is becoming more and more dynamic, and a leader should be able to change with the times. He should be able to align his vision with what the market wants.
  3. Set a Benchmark: He should be able to set a performance benchmark and be what he expects the employees to be. He himself should display the set of qualities which he expects from his team.
  4. People-Skills: Whatever the monetary and non-monetary rewards, employees will only be really motivated to work if they know what it is that is motivating the leader. So, he or she should be able to communicate his strategies and vision to the rest of the team, in a way that the employees too feel, 'Yes! This is what we want too!'.
  5. Listening and Not Just Talking: A lot of employees complain that their boss doesn't listen to what they have to contribute, and is not open to suggestions. If the leader chooses to listen to what his team has to say, they may be able make valuable suggestions to make a process more effective. Hence, listening too is one of the most important practices for good leadership.
  6. Solving: The path to a goal is often strewn with traps and obstacles. Hence, a leader should have good problem solving and analytical skills, which will help him and the team overcome any problem in the path to their goal.
  7. Ability to Motivate Others: He or she should know how to get the work done from his team. He should be able to motivate his workers with monetary and non-monetary rewards. He should be able to make his team a part of his vision. A leader should be able to coach his team, so that they can give their best performance.
  8. Discipline: A leader needs to be well-disciplined himself, and should be able to imbibe qualities like professionalism and hard work in his team.
Remember, a leader should exemplify the skills and behavior he wants his team to have. In short, he should be a role model for the rest of his team.