14 Inherent Leader Attributes: The Traits and Skills of an Authentic Leader
Leadership is a broad subject that covers a multitude of dimensions.
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The attributes, manner, circumstances, and mixes necessary to demonstrate leadership capabilities are assorted and plentiful.
Hence, in this article, I have opted to convey my opinions and breakdown a few attributes that I find indispensable for one to evolve into an authentic leader.
What You Will Learn:
- What is Leadership?
- Leadership Characteristics
- Most Essential Leadership Qualities
- #1) Dedication, Commitment and Determination
- #2) Leadership is a Passion
- #3) Ability to Take Lead in Unforeseen Situations
- #4) Being Bold and Leading
- #5) Hard Work
- #6) Finding Opportunities
- #7) Having Clear Vision
- #8) Walking the talk
- #9) Leader is a Mentor
- #10) Taking Ownership
- #11) Setting an Example
- #12) Quick Decision Making
- #13) Influencing People
- #14) Leadership is Being Fair and Unbiased
- What Makes a Good Leader
What is Leadership?
Leadership may be described as the array of characteristics, actions, and styles that individuals showcase daily through their thinking, speech, and actions.
The list of beneficial characteristics, behaviors, actions and thoughts pertaining to leadership is extensive, and it isn’t plausible to anticipate any one individual to embody all of them.
Nevertheless, I am of the belief that every person might find themselves in a leadership role somewhere in their lifetime when confronted with a obstacle or challenge requiring them to take command. In such scenarios, they are left with the only option of manifesting leadership traits and skills.
When an individual embodies numerous traits from the exhaustive index of leadership characteristics and consistently demonstrates these through their thinking, speech, and actions, they can be deemed a ‘Leader’. In my belief, there is no unique terminology for a female leader.
However, there are circumstances where resolving a challenge necessitates a joint effort from a group of individuals rather than a single individual. In such instances, leadership involves a team or a group collaborating, with each member executing specific tasks and exhibiting leadership qualities.
Thus, it is vital for a leader to surround themselves with talented and motivated individuals passionate about their work, possessing a ‘can do’ attitude, and having the capability to work as a part of a team.
Identifying the correct talent, delivering coaching and mentoring, and extending training to ensure successful task completion are also essential leadership traits.
Most Essential Leadership Qualities
Leadership skills and traits hold a pivotal role in the life of a leader.
#1) Dedication, Commitment and Determination
Dedication, commitment, and determination to successfully fulfil tasks and confront challenges head-on are essential leadership attributes.
I can recount a personal experience that epitomizes this leadership quality. Once, when installing a CSR client on my client’s laptops, I accidentally crashed three laptops containing critical live data, much to the annoyance and anger of my client.
Despite this lapse, I didn’t quit. I committed my entire night to debugging and finally managed to install the client on 15 laptops. This incident illustrates the importance of facing challenges with dedication and commitment, which constitute essential leadership qualities.
#2) Leadership is a Passion
Leadership embodies a passion that includes thinking innovatively, stepping beyond the conventional boundaries, and defying the norm.
Another instance from my own life is when I chose to earn a degree in Civil Engineering during the mid-80s, an era where very few women were stepping into engineering careers.
Despite being advised by friends, family, and even the college staff, including the principal, to select a different field, I held onto my determination to pursue civil engineering. My goal was to defy the stereotype that a woman couldn’t manage construction work. This fervor to contest social norms and reach my goal epitomizes leadership as a passion.
#3) Ability to Take Lead in Unforeseen Situations
There are circumstances where we can foresee and plan for leadership roles, and others where we find ourselves thrust into a crisis situation that necessitates us to take control immediately.
In ‘The Professional’, Subroto Bagchi narrates the story of a boy who took on a leadership role during a crisis situation on a bus.
During a picnic, the bus carrying his group was attacked by villagers because the bus had accidentally knocked over their livestock. The villagers were enraged and prepared to harm everyone on board. Everyone inside the bus was fearful and incapable of doing anything to mitigate the situation.
However, one person took charge and expertly placated the enraged villagers, saving everyone on board from injury. This spontaneous act of leadership in a challenging situation demonstrates the ability to take the lead in unforeseen circumstances.
Whether leadership traits are inherent or accumulated through learning is a complex query that does not have a clear-cut response.
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#4) Being Bold and Leading
A “leader” often becomes discernable from a young age due to their attributes and activities.
In my view, it holds true that individuals need to possess certain ingrained traits that foster leadership skills subsequentially in life.
Positive attitude, an eagerness to learn, taking risks, having boldness, taking ownership, and guiding others are some crucial leadership skills.
When observing a group of children at play, it often becomes apparent that one child emerges as the leader, guiding the rest of the group and providing instructions. This underscores their leadership potential.
Leadership traits cannot be entirely taught in a classroom environment. Instead, they begin to develop during childhood and mature through encounters with life, obstacles, and lessons learned.
Real-life experiences are invaluable and cannot be compared to academic knowledge derived from books in preparation for a leadership role. I perceive these experiences as opportunities. Without facing such scenarios in life, individuals cannot demonstrate their leadership capabilities.
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#5) Hard Work
The biographies of leaders often disclose the struggles they had to bear to reach their positions of influence. They were not privileged by birth.
Their hard work and determination played a pivotal role in their success. Every effort and sacrifice they made culminated in fruitful results in the end.