Leaders exist in so many fields of personal, social and professional life that it is difficult to list the individual qualities that everyone should possess. For example, a leader of a bankers' group has different virtues from a military leader or a sports captain. However, the long list of leadership qualities can be grouped in four categories, regarding the leaders' image, knowledge, communication skills and perception.
Members of the group must see their leader as an example, as how they should become following the leader's guidance. For this reason, leaders must show integrity and become the personification of the team's values and principles. In addition, leaders must always set the example, reminding everyone why they are in charge and prompting members of the group to imitate their determination and hard work. As role models, successful leaders are always a step ahead of the group.
Deep knowledge of their field of specialty is essential for every leader. As leaders are the main decision makers, lack of expertise and experience can mean the failure of the whole team. In addition, members of a group can lose confidence in a leaders' skills, when he or she shows signs of weakness. On the same basis, leaders who know what they can do are also aware of what they can't, which makes them more open minded and ready to consider new ideas.
A key element of leadership is the ability to communicate with members of the group to clarify objectives, make suggestions or warm against dangers. It is important for leaders to be authoritative during interactions with members of group, but also ready to listen to their concerns; after all, listening is also part of communication. Furthermore, a just leader must also magnanimity -- give credit to successes of individual members or the group in general.
Competent leaders know when its their own decisions that led to a success or a failure. In the latter case, they must be able to take full responsibility for their erroneous guidance. Leaders have the duty to constantly evaluate their qualities and make the brave decision to step down when their are no longer in a position to inspire the group.
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