Qualities of Leaders

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Leadership is not a living object or status; it is an affiliation between people, which based on honesty, truthfulness, understanding, dedication as well as the emotions and the common goal (Ciulla and Donelson 2017: 1). There has been a discussion for a considerable amount of time about what a leader is made of. This discussion has brought about two ways of thinking. One theory recommends that leaders are produced using a chosen group of people, brought into the world with a rare arrangement of authority capacities — leaders are conceived.

The other way of thinking suggests that pioneers are made, that we learn, develop and form into pioneers — leaders are made. This is definitely not a discussion, not another opening conversation question, and not another title for an article or segment in a book. Perceptive essayists regularly fence with a ‘without a doubt both’ reaction, taking note of that there are positively undeniable characteristics in pioneers but then also taking note of that there is continuous research being done to investigate this topic. So, some accept administration is principally about nature, and others fundamentally about sustainability. While we additionally support and state both when posed the inquiry, in the event that we decide to pick between the two, we accept leaders are made and not conceived.

In this assignment we will be discussing what traits are often seen in leaders, some outstanding leaders who displayed these traits and we will also be discussing how leaders are made and are in fact not born. However, we will not be discussing leadership levels as well as the concept of management as we are going to be focusing on topics related to leadership development.

Typical Qualities of Leaders

The true task of leadership includes the ability to make change happen. Essentially outstanding leaders become a fine balance between traits, abilities, behaviors, sources of power and aspects of the situation (Vojta 2009: 2). Below are some of the qualities that every leader should have in order for success.

Great communication skills – it is essential for leaders to display effective communication; powerful leaders know when to talk and when to listen. They need to be effective communicators and be able to clearly and succinctly explain to their workers everything from organizational goals to specific tasks. They need to motivate, instruct and discipline the people they are in charge of (Fries 2018: para. 7 line 1). Communication is based on a steady flow of verbal and nonverbal exchanges of ideas and information; therefore, leaders should work on being approachable and involving people from different levels (Matthews, Bruce and Atoine 2019: 2). It also important that every leader has good listening skills (Patel 2017: para. 3 line 4).

Accountability – successful leaders know how to use power and authority appropriately without overwhelming or overpowering others (Patel 2017: para. 4 line 5). Furthermore, it is important that leaders hold themselves accountable and take responsibility for their own mistakes, and they expect others to do the same.

Integrity – good leaders should be able to establish an honest connection with their peers, a relationship built on trust and reliability makes the team know that their leader is always there for them, which in turn inspires them to be there for their leader (Deen and Kuehn 2019: para. 3 line 1). Following the motto of “honesty is the best policy” develops trust within your organization (Prive 2020: 1).

Emotional Intelligence – a leader should be emotionally intelligent because it helps manage their emotions effectively, allows better social awareness, seamless communications and conflict resolution (Landry 2019: para. 5 line 5). Ultimately, emotionally intelligent leaders have a great understanding of the emotions of others and care about the feelings of others (Hasan 2019: para. 7 line 2).

Delegation and empowerment – these skills are required for successful leadership, they consist of giving responsibility to other people for the successful delivery of a task, whilst maintaining some level of control over the process and end result (Yelland 2020: para. 2 line 1). Furthermore, these skills are important as it maintains organizational effectiveness, assists in developing team members skills and overall reduces stress to the leader (Candy 2016: para. 3 line 1).

It is essential for a leader to focus on key responsibilities while leaving the rest to others meaning that leaders should empower their followers and delegate tasks to them (Hasan 2019: para. 9 line 2). This develops trust and allows you to focus on important matters.

Confidence – to be a leader, you need to take charge of situations, this includes being confident enough to lead, knowing that your plans and vision are not only viable for the team but the absolute best decision possible (Enfroy 2020: para. 9 line 1). Leaders that are self-confident automatically tend to deal immediately and directly with problems and conflicts, instead of delaying or ignoring problems and passing it to others (Chance 2013: 85). Leadership includes influencing others, and self-confidence allows the leader to be assured that their attempts to influence are appropriate or correct (Virkus 2009: para. 2 line 1).

Humility – when it comes to leadership, it can be tempting to become enamored with a new title or status, however great leadership styles focus on problem-solving and team dynamics more than self-promotion (Enfroy 2020: para. 6 line 7). In addition , a successful leader will never be effective if they are concerned with themselves rather than the well-being of their team.

Vision – great leaders always have a vision and purpose, not only do they visualize the future for themselves but share their vision with their followers (Hasan 2019: para. 17 line 1). A good leader should share their strategy and action plan to achieve all their goals to benefit everyone. They should be confident and optimistic, inspiring enthusiasm in all those around them (Patel 2017: para. 6 line 1).

Outstanding Leaders

There is quite number of distinguished leaders who portrayed typical leadership qualities and are proof that leaders are made. We’ve decided to focus on three to give a basic vision as to what we believe leaders should be.

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela

Nelson Mandela was one of the most remarkable leaders of the 21st century, he led a non-violent movement which succeeded in entirely undoing the unjust system of Apartheid in South Africa. Mandela portrayed typical qualities of a leader; he had a phenomenal amount of endurance as he never gave up the fight to end apartheid. He understood the power of forgiveness as he held no bitterness or hatred behind no matter the situation, he also believed in the power of positive thinking (Jones 2017: para.1 line1). He was a humble man; he never had any ego as he believed that all great peacemakers should be people of humility. With hard work and perseverance, he had achieved his goal of South Africa being a place free from Apartheid (Jones 2017: para.4 line 2). According to Fletcher (2018: para. 3 line 1) it is seen that Mandela is considered a person born with natural leadership, however he could have not accomplished the extraordinary things he did as a leader without the strong socialization he experienced during his formative years from his family and university, which influenced his life greatly.

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (Mahatma Gandhi)

Mahatma Gandhi was not only a hero, but also a political and spiritual leader of India as well. Mahatma brought India independence by using non-violent resistance (Disha 2008: para.1 line 1). In addition, leadership and simplicity were two major qualities displayed by Gandhi, he believed in living a simple life at all times and he was man of truth by doing everything he did and said, by practicing truth. Bravery is another quality which can describe Gandhi, he displayed bravery by doing what he believed was right, he believed that things can be done with love instead of war, which definitely brings peace (Disha 2008: para. 4 line 1). Gandhi exhibited several qualities, multiple traits things that an average person could not have. Overall, Gandhi was considered a born leader, which is consistent with the trait approach which explains leaders are born with specific personality traits that make them great people (White 2015: para. 2 line 1).

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr was a successful leader of the African American civil rights movement in the United States, he was an intelligent man in the fact that he was able to lead African Americans in a non-violent way to advancements of civil rights (The Pennsylvania State University 2016: para.3 line 1). Additionally, he portrayed self-confidence, he was confident in himself to make the right decisions at the right time. Dr King was determined to fulfill his dream of having to be treated equal one day, his drive and passion inspired other people to follow him no matter the situation. Nielsen (2020: 1) explains that Dr King was a natural born leader who set an example of a life full of service and leadership for the world, he had numerous good qualities which made him a natural leader.

Although not everyone is born to lead, they can still make a difference within their organization. All of these leaders have excelled every aspect to lead their people and accomplish their goals. Even though these leaders are no longer alive, their legacy still lives on (The Pennsylvania State University 2016: para.6 line 1).

Leaders are not Born, They are Made

Most people do not just have qualities such as confidence, honesty and accountability but rather these qualities are taught to an individual to help them become the best version of themselves and a great leader (Salvador 2017 para. 29 line 3). It is also believed that people either possess particular qualities which make them leaders or they do not, but that is not true according to Mandee (2016), the trait approach to leadership focuses on this idea that great leaders are born with the given potentials and that it is not a learned ability, however, every individual is born into this world with the ability to become a great leader. “Leadership is the art of motivating a group of people towards achieving a common goal” (Ward 2018: para. 1 line 1).

According to Amanchukwuet et al. (2015: 6) leadership includes a certain type of responsibility which directs a specific outcome and that is accomplished by using whatever resources are available. Leaders such as this should be able to execute any goals set out as well as having the ability to motivate and inspire fellow co-workers to achieve a high standard of work. In order to be a good leader, you need to make sure you have experience, knowledge and are committed – all these traits are learnt and do not come naturally (Jain and Sharma 2013: 310).

If leadership is essentially to do with a person’s nature, then leadership should not be challenging for researchers as they would be able to distinguish what traits and skills characterize the next “great man/woman”. However, this is not the case according to Mandee (2016) there have been studies done to try and capsulize the traits that make a leader a good leader such as traits like having vision, maturity, honesty, mortality, and patience. A good case in point would be to look at one of the most powerful leaders in the world, Adolf Hitler, he displayed such dedication and assertiveness, but he was missing certain traits such as morals and loyalty. A great leader can have honesty and integrity, but not all leaders have honesty and integrity (Mandee 2016).

Mariama-Arthur (2018: para. 2 line 1) mentions that one of the common traits in a great leader is effective communication which is an achievable skill set, it can be taught and practiced over time, however, it is commonly mistaken that people think that in order to have good communication skills they must be imprinted into a person’s DNA. Mandee (2016) also mentions that the trait theory also suggests that great leaders cannot be made or learned, if you are not born with specific personality traits, you are not destined to be a leader.

Serrat (2017: 329-339) mentions that most individuals question whether people are born with high EQ (emotional intelligence) or whether it is something that can be learned. It is true that some individuals are more naturally skilled compared to others, however when it comes to emotional intelligence these skills can be learned for this to happen, people must be personally motivated, practice extensively what they learn, accept feedback, and promote their new skills (Serrat 2017: 329-339). Johnsons and Sessions (2015: 109) mention the saying “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson.

According to Hopkin (2015: para. 13 line 1) there is no leader that has no flaws or imperfections and each one has their own strengths and weaknesses that they themselves know of therefore the result of being a great leader will only develop with practice.

Leadership Challenges

According to Gentry et al. (2008: 167-181) the life of a modern-day leader is not the easiest, in the organizations that they lead they need to face and motivate a diverse group of people, they have to work through organizational boundaries, better the efficiency and gain growth. In the environment there are a lot of cultural differences that leaders must deal with in their organizations in order to be effective. They must be acceptive of different beliefs and personalities in order to get the work done (Gentry and Sosik 2010: 266-278).

There are common challenges that leaders have across the seven countries. The challenges of developing managerial effectiveness, this is the challenge of evolving the required skills such as time management, prioritization, strategic thinking, decision making and speeding up the job to be more effective (Yuki 2006: 1). Furthermore, leaders also face a challenge of growing others, including topics around mentoring and training. Leaders also often a challenge of leading a team, they face a challenge when it comes to team building, team development and managing of teams (Ferris et al. 2013: 126-152).

In order for leaders to overcome these challenges they must set goals for themselves and deadlines on when those goals must be achieved (Atkinson and Mackenzie 2015: 42-47). According to Ganta and Monukonda (2014: 1183) a leader should focus more on tasks that will add more value to them, this means that out of all the tasks in an organization there should be tasks that are a priority that only a leader is responsible for them this will help improve the organization which one is leading.


Leaders are indeed not born but made. Being a good leader also requires one to be motivated in order to motivate others and be of good influence. There are many different skills that a leader must be taught and very important qualities they need to possess. Being a leader is shown in willingness to learn all these important skills.

When one is to be in such a position of being a leader, challenged are inevitable. Hence it is very important for them to possess certain traits and skills to help them cope and function properly. Some of these challenges may include being expected to please and meet everyone’s expectations and having to work through certain organizational boundaries at times. Good leaders are not perfect human beings, they do encounter a lot of challenges but it takes a skilled and well-trained one to keep the focus achieving their goals.

Cite this paper

Qualities of Leaders. (2021, Nov 24). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/qualities-of-leaders/

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