by Junaid Tahir
It's quite some time I have been pondering on what exactly is the meaning of True Leadership; How to define it and how to achieve it? In my curiosity to understand this concept in detail, I subscribed to several professional groups on LinkedIn / Facebook and read so many books and articles at different forums. As a result I have learnt that Leadership is to possess some unique and exclusive qualities in your character plus the consistent demonstration of such traits.
In this Leadership assessment guide I have tried to compile such qualities along with their basic elaboration so as to give you the bird eye view of each trait. The intention is to ease out the process of self-audit and eventually improve and/or acquire the skills which you do not have or which you lack in.
Aggression is to set the attitude to achieve the target as soon as it is brought into your notice or assigned to you. You must be consistently aggressive in doing that. This means to fuel the teams to produce extremely swift results. This means to set tough goals (BHAGs), stress on their importance and insist your teams in endeavoring to achieve them.
You must adapt yourself according to the situation by analyzing it fairly & Logically. Though you need to be tough when it comes to achieving goals, though flexible enough to tweak the strategies according to the market demands, circumstances, budget constraints etc.
You must consider positive, negative, emotional, financial, social, private and empathical angles while making decisions. Analyzing a situation also means to break big project into small tasks. Use the tools such as WBS, Fishbone, SWAT, Cause-Effect diagram and Excel Pivots for empowering your analytical skills.
You should be brave enough to face the circumstances once you have made a decision based on logic and fair assessments of the situation. Brave enough to protect the mistakes of your team members; brave enough to avoid emotional break-down to avoid any further damage to yourself, the team members and the project.
You must think out of box. New ideas of making things happen more swiftly will give you the edge on your competitors. Innovation is the key to success now a days. Considering millions of businesses already established and successful, you must have a unique product or service which makes you stand tall in the market
Unpredictable and unstable people don't fit in the class of true Leaders. You must be consistent in your habits and actions. Frequent Mood Swings are an indicative of your unstable personality which cuts your marks in your Leadership exams.
Once you decide something, you have to make sure you complete it by all positive and logical and fair means. Committed people makes thing happen. A weak approach to any project means you are already half lost.
I am competent enough understand the role of each of my subordinates. Its your ability to complete the job with a set of behaviors which are positive, fair, logical and efficient. Keep learning new things, keep observing other people, keep evaluating the market to become more and more competent.
Nearly all skills are closely linked with your communication skills. You can only make a convincing impact if you are a great communicator. No matter how genius you are, you will only be successful if you communicate in effective way. Learn the art by watching relevant videos, reading forums and improving your vocabulary. Consider Barlos Model of Effective Communication
Deep thinking means considering the back-ground, stake holders impact, facts and figures and market study. Deep thinking will improve your analytical skills too. Consider using Mind Mapping tools to enhance this ability
Winning people is highly important because they are your real wealth. Right skills without mental happiness of your team members will not generate fruitful results because of low efficiency although high availability of staff. You need to consistently judge the emotions of team mates to create an environment which promotes friendliness and high ethics and eventually ensures high potency success.
Focus means looking in the 'eyes of the target'. Running continuously in a direction without knowing the actual target will take you nowhere.
Shortcuts are short term gain but seriously long term pain. An honest approach will enhance your chances for long term success. If you are honest, I don't have to remember what you have said. Because you are transparent in what you say and what you speak.
Taking initiatives indicate your confident personality. Being confident is the major trait of your leadership character. If you are a deep thinker and and innovator, you tend to take initiatives with more confidence and trust in your abilities.
Knowledge gives wisdom, improves the thoughts process, enhances your horizon and gives you vision. I must learn the knowledge about different aspects of my work to make better decisions. I must learn something on daily basis
If you are not a good listener, you are on the risk of losing great advices from your well wishers. Empathic listening is the key to understand someone's perspective. Develop this habit.
Being organized avoids any mishaps, speed breakers. I must be organized from personal level to office level to company level.
Passion is your deep desire to get something. Are you passionate about success? Do you strive for making things happen? Does your brain thinks about your target all the times?
Thinking positive keeps you away from politics, helps you stay focused, avoids negativity hence encourages you to work on things which matter the most.
Problem solving requires deep analytical skills. You must consider the associated stats of given situation, back ground, economical and humanity factors and WBS techniques to break down big problems into small problems and then address one by one.
Successful leaders are risk takers. When I doubt, you can take next small step to determine if you are wrong or right. You can always undo if wrong else move ahead with your next task towards your destination.
While you are aggressive in nature being a great leader, you must have the patience to absorb, judge and fix any situation. Being an explosive personality sometimes result in irreparable losses.
Responsibility means to understand your role and take it seriously. Your carefree attitude will generate a ripple effect of carelessness in your organization which will cause deficiency in the work and failure of the projects
Rewarding my team mates is like fueling them to go extra mile. I must have a fair approach to reward those who put their efforts in my cause. Employees are like batteries; Learn the techniques to charge and recharge them for maximum efficiency and throughput
Others will follow your legacy if you are self disciplined. Being organized and punctual are great traits of a true leader.
The quality of a good leader is to produce more leaders instead of more followers. This can be done with consistent teachability and spreading wisdom around yourself. You must be a knowledgeable person to develop this trait. For this you must learn a lot on daily basis. Dedicate some of your daily time to learn something.
Being trust worthy helps wining people. Winning people is more important than winning targets because people will ensure success in your next tournamnets not only the current one. Trust is developed by consistent honest, friendly, encouraging behaviors demonstration.
At the end of the day, its not your success its 'ours' success. You have to make sure that each employee contribute to the cuase. You must have the ability to perform as a team member however when required, you should be able to work alone and still demonstrate excellence.
Judgment should be fair and not biased. Fair Judgment requires honest approach along with analytical skills covering all aspects of the situation. A lot of feedback, stats and background is required to be considered while making conclusions about projects or people.
If you are a fast running horse, you must ensure that you are heading in the right direction since several other horses are following you. Your success is their success and your failure is theirs. Being visionary also means that you can see and sense the future and strategize things to gain maximum benefits and reduce the tragedies to the minimum.
While I have made this guide, I truly understand that leadership is a huge sea full of knowledge, wisdom and experience; I being a young professional of 34 years of age cannot cover all aspects of leadership in true sense. Being a novice I have tried to make the foundation for learning the wisdom of leadership and improve the associated paradigms to become a great leader. I would highly appreciate your kind feedback on this guide so that I can improve myself and eventually the rest of the readers of my blog.
If you would like to receive the Microsoft Excel version of this guide which gives you the opportunity to evaluate yourself against all these traits and finally calculate the percentage of your Leadership index then drop me an email at mjunaidtahir – at – gmail – dot – com
Junaid Tahir, a telecom engineer and a blogger, writes articles on wisdom, happiness and stress management. His personal blog can be read at Here