The What and How of Leadership Excellence

The key to achieve the impossible is to find a good leader who can look at the potential of the team and successfully convince them of it.



Most of us think of leaders as awe-inspiring entities that can bend the will of the universe and affect change. But as per research, leadership, to be effective, must be transformational and not transactional. In any setting, whether at the workplace or outside, people should be able to relate to and aspire to become like their leader. The high-priestess of literature Maya Angelou once said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

A lot of debate has ensued over whether leadership qualities are inherited or if they can be learned. I would urge you to take a look at Stanford professor Carol Dweck’s research, where she extols the virtues of a growth mindset. No task or skill is too difficult if we have the will to learn.

Being open to new ideas and having a willingness to accept people for who they are while gently guiding them to be the best version of themselves are the hallmarks of a capable leader. Leadership comes with its own set of challenges. Everyone has an inherent need to feel loved and accepted. It gets tricky when you become a leader as you need to walk the thin line between doing what’s right and being accepted for who you are.

Top leadership qualities

In the 21st century, where we are inundated with all kinds of data, people who possess these five qualities have stood the test of time and managed to exact change, nurture creativity and leave an enduring legacy. 

1. Grit

Any leader worth his/ her salt knows that you cannot mountains in a day. But when broken into smaller pieces, it is doable. To achieve this, a leader needs to be persistent. Psychologist Angela Lee Duckworth went as far as Westpoint Military Academy to study the root cause of success and, surprisingly, the key factor in predicting success turned out to be grit. So, what is grit? Grit is to be passionate and to persevere. It means living life with the goal in mind and to keep at it no matter the cost. She was able to find out that regardless of social class, physical looks and background, grit was the single factor that could predict whether or not someone would be successful. It would be impossible to list the qualities of a good leader without including grit in the prerequisites.

2. Growth Mindset

American psychologist Carol Dweck has proved the effectiveness of a growth mindset over a fixed mindset. A growth mindset means that you firmly believe that with consistent effort, you will be able to pick up new skills. This mindset produced much better results than any form of praise or reinforcement. Leaders who nurture a growth mindset in their communities tend to achieve better, long-lasting results. One of the top five characteristics of a good leader is his or her ability to look beyond the past and cultivate an unquenchable thirst for success by way of the growth mindset.

3. Emotional Intelligence

When channeled properly, emotions can be powerful drivers of change. But letting them run wild could spell disaster. Emotional intelligence (EI) calls for us to understand, evaluate and use our emotions to our benefit. It also involves empathizing with and managing the emotions of those around us. An excellent leader is able to gauge the expectations of others and courageous enough to do what is right. Emotional intelligence helps leaders not to fall into the trap of likeability and enables them to draw out the best. One of the top leadership qualities, EI is much more valuable than a high IQ to navigate the ups and downs that life brings. 

4. Vision

It is important to have a clear vision of what you are trying to achieve. Lewis Carroll puts it succinctly when he says, “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there”. A lack of vision means that every obstacle in your path has the capacity to derail you and deflate the morale of your team. It is important to have an exciting but challenging vision so that it propels you forward even when you find yourself surrounded by negativity. Goal-oriented leaders know this and make sure that their teams are familiar with the vision of the organization. 

5. Authenticity

Even if one has all the above-mentioned qualities, if they are not true to themselves, they will find it difficult to rally people to their cause. People admire and follow leaders who are authentic and brave enough to show their weaknesses. This singular quality fosters psychological safety as they know they are allowed to bring their whole selves to work. Leaders who are authentic tend to make long lasting connections and make the impossible possible.

The 5 characteristics of a good leader lay the groundwork for success. But ultimately, it is up to each one to should responsibility gracefully and execute it exemplarily.

Christy Gren
Christy Gren is an Industry Specialist Reporter at Industry Leaders Magazine she enjoys writing about Unicorns, Silicon Valley, Startups, Business Leaders and Innovators. Her articles provide an insight about the Power Players in the field of Technology, Auto, Manufacturing, and F&B.

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