All good leaders keep people first and think about their growth and development. A good leader leads from the front and works for the betterment of his followers. He priorities the welfare and wellbeing of his followers ahead of his own.
A good leader does not believe in the ladder of hierarchy. They don’t put themselves at the top. Instead of being authoritative, they display democratic values.
Before we delve into the details about why “the growth and development of people is the highest calling” of leadership, let’s throw light upon the qualities of a good leader.
What is Leadership?
Before we discuss the qualities/characteristics of a good leader, let’s acquaint ourselves with some of the popular definitions of leadership.
We may explain leadership as “a process of social influence in which one person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task.”
The New Oxford Dictionary of English defines leadership as: ‘the action of leading a group of people or an organization.’
As per another definition, leadership means to organize a group of people to achieve a common goal.
Peter Drucker, an Austrian-American management consultant, author, and educator opines that “The only definition of a leader is someone who has followers.”
Warren Bennis, an American scholar, author, and organizational consultant has his view on this: “Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.”
John Maxwell, an American pastor, speaker, and author said: “Leadership is influence – nothing more, nothing less.”
Qualities of a Good Leader
A good leader should:
- Have a clear and specific vision for the future
- Possess great interpersonal communication skills
- Have an open mind to ideas and listen to others
- Possess humility that makes others easily accessible to common people
- Work for the growth and development of his followers
- Have creativity in all aspects
- Have the quality of inspiration
- Do conflict resolution when and wherever it is required
- Problem-solving capability at every stage of action
- Keep people first
- Be very flexible in their thought, plan of action, and execution of plans
- Be positive and spread positivity among the followers
- Be strategic & possess critical thinking capabilities
- Be an independent thinker
- Strive for continuous improvement
- Have authenticity & self-awareness
- Be responsible & dependable in their actions
- Have patience & tenacity
A Good Leader Keeps People First & Work for their Growth and Development
Leadership is more than authority; rather a leader thinks of him as a part of the team. He works holistically for the growth and development of his team towards achieving common goals and targets.
A leader takes care of team members’ capacity building, and skill enhancement, and makes them easy to work and function. When his team members or targeted people are strengthened, it makes a leader achieve the overall goal very easily.
We have seen the lives of different leaders hail from versatile fields like political, social, technological, and corporate. All good leaders put the requirements and plights of the followers rather than thinking about themselves.
They are quite aware that when the whole team is capacitated, energized, and advanced that makes them easier to manage teams, and function well to achieve the overall goal that they have.
Example of a True Leader
A true leader does not do different things but he does things differently.
Mahatma Gandhi became a leader when he listened to the plights of common people initially in South Africa and later in India. He never thought and displayed that he is superior to others. He used to eat, live, and practice very simple things that his followers can replicate. He used to wear a dress that was common to his followers.
Mahatma Gandhi went to jail several times for the cause of the common people. He used to keep people first and listen to them carefully. He never put the common people into trouble. He had sacrificed his positions in the Congress party many a time so that other leaders get a chance to lead the organization. Common people were his strength. He staged dharnas, picketing, and peaceful demonstrations along with his followers.
Even when India was on the verge of getting independence, he allowed other leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru to lead the party. Till his death, he was always with the people. He had demonstrated what a good leader could be.
So you can understand how good leaders always keep people first before thinking about themselves. They recognize that the people’s/followers’ strength is their strength. They always strive for the growth and development of the people/followers. They know if their followers are developed that would make them easier to achieve their overall goal.