Leadership is a topic that has always fascinated philosophers, academics as well as lay man throughout the centuries. Different theories have been put up to explain the type of leaderships and the qualities that a leader must possess.
At the most basic level, a leader is someone who motivates a group of people to reach towards their desired goal. There are political leaders like Mahatma Gandhi as well as spiritual leaders and business leaders.
However, what sets a leader apart is not the number of his followers but the number of leaders he can create. Several researches in the field of leadership have revealed certain basic qualities that a leader must possess to nurture more leaders rather than just increase the number of followers.
Some of these qualities are described below.
The Unique Vision of the Leader
Leadership is all about influencing others towards the vision, which may be a cherished goal for everyone. A leader has a clear picture of what needs to be accomplished.
Whether it is the independence of a nation, winning a match involving national pride or leading people towards a desired state of prosperity, a leader does not mistake the woods for the trees. He can see the goal which he aspires to achieve collectively.
Acceptance of People Without Being Judgmental
One of the most important qualities that a leader displays is the quality of acceptance. A leader accepts others as they are whatever may be the weakness or shortcoming of the person. He does not show any prejudices that one harbors inside oneself.
The prejudices are a part of one’s upbringing. These are rooted in the kind of social, religious or political belief that one has acquired over the years. A leader overcomes such prejudices and welcomes all.
Compassion for Everyone
A great leader is compassionate towards his team and those whom he intends to serve. Most leaders, who successfully led their armies, were able to do so because they were sensitive towards their people.
A leadership without compassion becomes tyranny. All the dictators and ruthless leaders down the ages who lacked compassion, turned out to be monstrous and evil in their disposition. Such leaders only require followers who will do anything they are commanded.
History, past and present is replete with such examples, where although such leaders commandeered great followings, they never won the respect and devotion of the masses.
Inspire by Setting Personal Example
A great leader is one who is able to inspire people. This is achieved not by rhetoric or words; but by setting personal examples.
In the history books, all great leaders have been shown to have endowed this quality. Great leaders, who conquered great territories and armies, did so by leading from the front.
Setting personal examples of sacrifice and dedication helped them inspire their followers. Their inspiration influenced people to follow them willingly and even lay their life for the cause.
Great leadership is achieved not by increasing the numbers of followers, but by the ability to create more leaders who can take up the cause. Influencing people to become followers is what every leader achieves.
What sets a great leader apart from others is the ability to create more leaders. This is possible not through the sheer brilliance or personal charisma that a leader has; but through certain personal qualities and traits that the leader must have within him.
All great leaders have displayed these human qualities. Even today great business leaders, who have acquired the status of icons, continue to do so.