The quality in leadership
Leaders, whether born or not, will always show distinctive leadership traits.
It’s true that leadership is a skill, like any other technical skill. The vast majority of companies (98 percent) state that their most valuable asset is their staff. We should, therefore, invest heavily in this asset to develop world-class leaders and grow and enrich our businesses.
There are numerous leadership theories; the trait and behavioural theories being the most recognised.
The trait theory suggests that people are born with inherited traits, some of which are suited to leadership; those with a sufficient combination of traits making good leaders. The behavioural theory suggests that leaders are developed; leadership therefore, is a skill which can be taught and learned.
By using a combination of these one can seek to find and develop people with relevant inborn traits while teaching them about what effective leaders do and how they do it.
But research has proved that there is not one set of qualities that will determine whether a person is, or will be, a great leader. However, research has also shown that leaders capitalise on their own strengths when performing their leadership roles.
The “best of the best” leaders are outstanding because they have fully developed and fully applied their strengths and talents.
Aspiring leaders constantly analyse themselves, identifying areas of strength and weakness and take steps to develop the weak areas and to build on their strengths.
There are numerous leadership qualities which are important and can be used to identify the required areas of development.
• Charisma – the ability to draw people to you – a developed trait;
• Commitment – attracting people requires conviction;
• Communication – a developed trait covering all aspects of a person’s life;
• Competence – follow through with excellence and accomplish more than expected;
• Courage – do something you think you cannot do;
• Discernment – find the root of the matter with intuition and rational thought;
• Focus – prioritise and concentrate;
• Initiative – constantly look for new opportunities;
• Listening – a lack of this ability makes up 60 percent of management problems;
• Passion – the first step to being a great leader, just look at Gandhi, Winston Churchill, Martin Luther King Jnr,
Nelson Mandela, and Bill Gates;
• Positive attitude – essential;
• Problem solving – see the big picture, and not to give up on big goals;
• Relationships – add value to friends and colleagues;
• Responsibility – if you want to be a leader, you have to produce;
• Self discipline – focus and see issues through to the end;
• Servanthood – great leaders desire to be of service to others;
• Teachability – learn and grow – growth determines who you are, who you are determines who you attract;
• Vision – see the big picture. This leads the leader and leads to motivation.
Jannie Koegelenberg is passionate about promoting positive customer experiences. He runs the EDGE Training Consultancy, a leading provider of world class training and development programs that meaningfully change and impact on people’s lives. He has a 38-year track record in the motor industry, having worked at Mercedes-Benz distributor United Cars and Diesel Distributors, Ford Motor Company SA and Toyota SA Marketing.