What Makes A Good Leader?

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Leadership is a social influence on a group of people while accomplishing a common task. A leader is an individual whom other people follow. A high degree of emotional intelligence is a common thing among all good leaders. It includes five of the following components: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills.

Emotional intelligence plays the paramount role in successful leadership. This mechanism drives a team together, synchronizes its work, keeps the team united and motivated enough to achieve the aimed result. A leader’s mood is contagious, as it usually spreads quickly and inevitably among the team members. A leader’s primary task is to obtain emotional leadership. It is not enough for a leader to feel optimistic, confident, energetic and authentic; he/she should make every possible effort for his team members to feel the same. Managing other people’s emotional state is not an easy task, especially when it comes to feelings of people who would rather not be open and sincere with you. Every day is not enough, an effective leader has to analyze the emotional atmosphere within his/her team, all the deviations of it and adjust his/her behavior accordingly.

A leader cannot have a bad day or a bad week because his primary responsibility is to keep a team in a high spirit. Naturally, it does not mean that a leader should behave like a clown and retell jokes every time he/she sees that someone is gloomy. The main thing a leader has to do with his mood is to keep it personal and teach his/ her team the same, possess a self-deprecating sense of humor and keep realistic attitude at all times. A conversation about a manager’s mood or moods he/ she creates in his/her employees is an invasion of privacy, in a way.

Great leaders do not necessarily need experience. Unfiltered leaders think differently, they are not accustomed to a certain way of doing things. However, this can be dangerous becuse such people have equal chances to high rewards, as well as to great losses. The main thing is that in the extraordinary risky situations, only unfiltered leaders can control the course of events and get the profit out of danger they face. They adapt to extreme and sudden changes easily, they do not need stability to think and act rationally and to make right decisions. They always feel as outsiders in a way that is why they have to put fewer efforts to look at the situation impartially to find the best way out of it. Experience and knowledge can be drawbacks for a leader who faces the change. For him/her, it would be difficult to find a new approach for the situation and make new decisions. The best example of an unfiltered introvert leader is Abraham Lincoln. He lost Senate races twice and was out of the system so often that many newspapers did not include him on the list of top-ten Republican presidential candidates. Still, only Lincoln developed the attitude that made the South fire the first shot. If it was not for Lincoln, the North would have lost the war, if there even was a war.

A good leader is not afraid to lose because he/she looks at a failure as on a way of gaining valuable experience. He/she remains committed to his/ her occupation no matter what, trying his/her best at solving the problem until he/ she succeeds. They understand that the fear of failing is usually the only thing that prevents people from trying to strive for the better, makes them underestimate their qualities and abilities and depreciates their former success. A good leader will never let fear stop him/her and his/her team from taking opportunities, stepping towards progress and moving forward. Failure is only a matter of perspective to true leaders, they understand that those who are cautious all the time, get nowhere at the end. Seeing the failures as the end of the world is nothing but a sign of childishness and inadequacy, whereas seeing failures as lessons for personal and professional growth keeps people from making the saame mistakes again and helps them to scale new heights easier.

Effective goal setting is another skill of a good leader. Goals define where one wants to go and help the team to keep moving forward. As big goals are overwhelming, a skilled leader should divide them into small goals that are slightly challenging, but are never overwhelming. It is important to focus on the next step instead of the big picture and the long-run objective.

There are different personality types that influence a leader’s behavioral patterns and success. As a rule, people tend to associate effective leadership with extroversion, rather than with introversion, mainly because the latter have little or no charisma. However, introvert leaders possess inner caution that can be one of the precious features of a leader. Before making decisions, introverts usually step back, think over the situation rationally, and consider the solutions in solitude. Though introvert leaders appear to be less sociable, they are less aggressive; their character is strong and consistent. Outgoing leaders are usually lower on the list, compared to a self-aware introvert leader. Introverts can make the best leaders not only because they think first and talk later. At times of crisis, they remain calm and reassuring. As the mood of a leader is contagious, the peace of mind of a reliable leader is likely to transit to the whole team and find a way out of a complicated situation with united powers.

A good leader is not someone who possesses a preset selection of qualities and skills. It is someone with an extraordinary way of thinking, someone who is not afraid to face difficulties and fail many times before he/she succeeds, someone who embraces the change and new ways of doing things. A person with a strong character, developed communication skills and ability to read people well is a good leader, who is able to lift a team’s mood under any circumstances and move on no matter what.

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