21 Indispensable Qualities of A Leader (Part 1)


Who is a leader?

Are leaders born or made?

21 qualities of a successful leader


Who is a leader?

A leader is:

1- A person who influences a group of people towards achievement of a goal.

2- Someone who sets a good example for people in a group (a company, family, community, religious setting).

3- A person who does the right thing (which often determines success of a business or undertaking) as opposed to a manager who does things right.

4- A person who creates an inspiring vision of the future.

5- A person who motivates and inspires people to engage in his or her vision.

6- A person who coaches and builds a team towards achieving a vision.

Are leaders born or made?

Some people are naturally charismatic, influential, inspiring individuals and naturally predisposed to leadership.  Are leaders born that way? Or is it possible to cultivate the skills necessary for leadership? Are leaders made? A legendary American football coach once made a statement that has stood the test of time “Leaders aren’t born, they are made, and they are made just like anything else, through hard work”.

So regardless of whether you are born “talented” or not, to be a leader you must work to develop and refine certain characteristics that make people great.

21 qualities of a successful leader

If you can become a leader first on the inside, you will become the person you want to be on the outside. Then you become an influencer and people will want to follow you. These are 21 qualities of a successful leader:

1-Be a man or woman of CHARACTER: What actually is character? In simple lay man terms character is what you are in the dark. Character is what you are when no one is looking at you. Character is doing the right thing regardless of whether you are rewarded for it or not. Character is not just doing the right things, it is doing things right. Your actions are the real indicator of your character. Talent or ability may be a natural endowment, a gift but character is a choice. Good strong character is the foundation on which to build lasting success.

2- You must have COMMITMENT: Commitment separates the dreamers from the doers. To be committed to someone or something like a cause is to be loyal, steadfast, and resolute in the face of daunting challenges. It means to keep keeping on and to keep going on. How can you test how committed you are? Simple, just look at how you spend your time. Do like the great inventor Thomas Edison, make your plans public which will force you to remain committed till the task is done.

3- You must develop COMPETENCE: What is competence anyway? It is the ability to think, say, plan and do something in such a way that others know that you know how and know that they want to follow you. You must be seen to truly work conscientiously every day and come prepared for work and to work. You must keep learning, growing and improving. You must strive for excellence. You must try to accomplish more than is expected of you. You must inspire and motivate others.

4- You must have COURAGE: Courage is simply doing what you are afraid to do. It is doing what you have to do in spite of fear. Every time you act courageously, you gain strength and confidence as you overcome your fears.

5- You must have DISCERNMENT: Smart leaders believe only half of what they hear while discerning leaders know which half to believe. To have discernment means to be able to pierce through the fog of unreality to reality, it is to know not just what has been said or spoken, but to also know what has been left unsaid or unspoken. To be an effective leader you need discernment.

6- You must have FOCUS: To focus means to give your undivided attention to something, some cause or someone. The sharper your focus is the sharper you are. 2 key elements of focus are Concentration and Priorities. If you as a leader know your priorities but lack concentration, you will know what to do but never get it done. On the flip side if you concentrate but have no priorities you will have excellence with no progress. But when you harness both, potentially you can achieve the impossible. The question is how should you focus your resources of time and energy? A great guide is to focus 70% of your resources on your strengths (develop them to their fullest possible potential), focus 25% on new things (learning), for growth is positive change while lastly, you focus 5% on your areas of weakness (minimize them as much as possible and/or delegate).

7- You must cultivate GENEROSITY: People are honored for what they gave not for what they received. Whatever is freely given is never lost. Always be grateful for what you have. Put others first. Don’t be controlled by the love of possessions. Regard money as a resource and cultivate the habit of giving.

In conclusion, these are the first 7 qualities of a leader: Character, commitment, competence, courage, discernment, focus and generosity.