Leadership is the ability to lead a group of people towards achievement of a common goal. Leaders are sometimes creation of circumstances. Leadership qualities always get polished by circumstances. But, no leader can survive without certain qualities.
Now, let us examine what are the most crucial qualities for a leader.
For a leader to be successful, ‘I, me, my and mine’ are the words to be eschewed. Here, I am trying to define 5 pillars of leadership in “I” terms.
Integrity: 1st pillar of leadership
When the thoughts, words and actions of a person are in harmony, then he possesses integrity. It is easy for people to trust him blindly as they don’t have to search for the hidden meaning of the words of the leader. When an atmosphere of trust is created, it becomes easy for the leader to guide the people. For the followers, the leader will be consistent in his words and deeds. Creation of an atmosphere of trust is the single most crucial factor that decides the success of a leader. A true leader should always “walk the talk”.
Interaction: 2nd pillar of leadership
Two way communications is the backbone of any organization or institution. Unless a leader communicate the ideas clearly to the members of the team and collect feedback from them to fine tune the idea, he cannot take a united team to the pinnacle of success. When an opportunity for feedback is provided to the team members, each member considers the achievement of goal as his own achievement. The leader who encourages two way communication is keeping his grip over all levels of the organization as the members are confident of sharing even minute happenings at various levels. But care is to be taken to stay away or discourage gossips. While a leader interacts with his subordinates, it should be ensured that he is not taken for granted or is unnecessary dragged into internal politics. The only way to ensure this is to treat all with equal respect.
Insight or intuition: 3rd pillar of leadership
Insight is nothing but the manifestation of past experiences. The experiences we learn are automatically stored in our subconscious mind. When a challenge pops up, subconscious mind gives the insight as to how to tackle the situation. What true leaders do in such circumstances is remaining cool and listening to their inner voice. Idea generation and innovations take place by the guidance of subconscious mind and by following insights. Mahatma Gandhi was a leader who practiced this quite often.
Instill confidence: 4th pillar of leadership
A person becomes a leader only when a team listens to his ideas and follows him. As already discussed, the duty of a leader is to channelize the talents and potential of the members of the team to a common goal. This is done by instilling confidence in each members of the team and encouraging them to be contributors. A true leader always gives topmost priority for interpersonal relations and building intentional networking with both those who are inside the organization and outside the organization.
Inspire: 5th pillar of leadership
A team consists of people from different back grounds, with varied learning and experiences. A true leader invests in his team to enhance the potential of each individual. This is done by identifying the good qualities in each person and providing training to develop the skill and also by providing them suitable opportunities. The success of a leader is in inspiring his team to perform even in his absence. He should instill confidence and inspire the team to take calculated risk and develop themselves to become leaders thereby creating a win-win situation for himself and each member of the team. An inspired team comes out with better ideas and innovation. Thus the leader is influencing them to be creative.