Leadership is that one quality which distinguishes successful persons be it in politics, government, sports or the corporate world. Leadership position can be acquired by performance in the workplace or may be endowed upon a person as in the case of a king who is crowned, or of a religious leader who is generally appointed by his predecessor or often in family owned businesses.
So what exactly is leadership? In simple terms one may say that it is the ability of a person to enlist the support of a group of people (his/her team) in order to accomplish a common task. Some qualities of good leaders are:
Professional expertise. The leader must himself/herself be good at the task which the team is required to perform. In many situations a leader will be required to display and teach his/her team members how to approach a task. As a corollary a good leader must also constantly unlearn, learn and re-learn. This will motivate the team members to adopt a similar approach and thus regularly upgrade the knowledge and abilities of the entire team.
Communication. A good leader needs to have good communication skills, be they oral or written. This is essential because the leader is required to convey to his/her team the objective of the mission, the methods to be employed, to assess the performance, course correction and so on. Communication is not just the ability to speak well or write well. Communication exercises need to be well planned, structured and executed for effective results.
Integrity. All subordinates respect a leader who is honest, fair, ethical, and someone who always does the right thing. Therefore it is essential that a good leader acquires and displays such qualities in order to win the trust and respect of his team members.
Creativity and innovation. Good leaders display creative thinking abilities. This enables them to come up with unique solutions when the team is stuck with a problem. This quality underscores the ability of the leader to think differently.
Delegation and trust. A person aspiring to become a good leader must learn the art of delegating to team members. Once the objectives of the mission are laid out and the broad framework is put in place by the leader he/she must allow the team members to work their way through the issues and reach the objective.
The above is not an exhaustive list of qualities that an aspiring leader must imbibe and nurture. They are important ones nonetheless.