Some people might answer the question, “Why aren’t there more good leaders?” by saying that there are not enough individuals who are born as leaders. However, leadership is not something a person is born with, rather it is something that is learned.
A good leader is someone who inspires and guides others. So, what does it take to become a good leader? There are five traits that all good leaders possess.
What does this mean? It means that if they ask someone to behave a certain way, they are willing to and behave that same way. If they ask someone to do something, they themselves would be willing to do the task if they had the skills. In other words, good leaders exemplify the behaviour they ask of others.
Being a strong communicator does not necessarily mean that one is an eloquent speaker. It means that the individual can share their perspective in such a manner that it is well understood. Whether it’s through written or verbal instructions, good communication skills are essential to be able to inspire and guide others.
Humility is difficult for many who call themselves leaders. Some who are given leadership roles are hesitant to admit when they make a mistake. Have you ever noticed a strong leader, like a coach, of a sports team?
These are the individuals who take personal responsibility for the team’s failure when they themselves have made the mistake. They do not blame the failure on something or someone else. Good leaders are not afraid to admit when they have made a mistake and use these mistakes as opportunities to learn.
Leaders are not necessarily the smartest people. Being smart simply means that one is clever, bright, or intelligent. However, being wise means having or showing experience, knowledge, and good judgment. There are plenty of smart people who do not demonstrate good judgment. The key phrase in the definition of wise is the concept of demonstrating good judgment. Good leaders demonstrate good judgment. They know how to handle difficult situations and help others to do the same.
Trust is a foundational element of any relationship between two people including between a leader and those they are leading. Without trust, leadership is not possible. Leaders who are honest will tell the truth, regardless of how difficult it may be to share. A good leader uses their strong communication skills to share the truth in an effective, caring, and genuine way.
These five leadership traits are not difficult to explain and define. On the surface, they seem simple and straightforward. So why aren’t there more good leaders? This question can be debated at length.
To answer simply, not everyone aspires to be a good leader. Individuals aspire to many things: to become the best scientist, to be happy, or to make money to name a few examples. These other aspirations may require some leadership traits, but not necessarily all of them. While there is nothing wrong with these aspirations, they do not drive an individual towards becoming a good leader.
One must aspire to be a good leader to become a good leader. If someone truly wants to become a good leader then they must develop strong communications skills, commit to being honest, live with humility, set the example even when setting the example is difficult, and strive to learn and demonstrate good judgment. Working to improve these traits day-in and day-out is how individuals become good leaders.
Make no mistake: becoming a good leader is hard work. It takes focus and daily effort. There are not more good leaders in the world because most do not commit themselves to this work. Strive to be better at these five traits, master them, and become a good leader.