The Ideal Qualities of a Leader

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1 - What are the ideal knowledge, skills and attributes of a leader in my area of work?
Leadership is a topic that has been widely studied and worthy of great interest because of its impact on both individuals and society as a whole. Exactly what constitutes a strong leader is a topic of debate. The term may conjure images of victorious historical figureheads such as Julius Caesar or Genghis Khan, but more subtle examples are found in everyday life, wherever there is group activity. Studies have identified definite styles and theories which define good leadership in any capacity.
In order to explore the attributes of a successful leader, it is first necessary to define leadership and discuss what makes an individual succeed in their role of leading others. This study has made reference to specific examples within the dairy industry where relevant.

What is leadership?
James (2005) defines leadership as a process of guidance that is carried out in order to achieve goals and improve the organization. Most writers would agree with Burns (1979) that the prime task of leaders is to bring about change and that change requires leadership. The scale of change needed adds a considerable amount of weight to the leadership required for deployment.

Leadership has been defined in many ways by various authors and theorists, but is widely regarded as the key enabler of the change process. Most definitions share the assumption that it involves an influence process concerned with facilitating the performance of a collective task, as viewed by Burnes (2009) who defined leadership as the process of establishing goals and motivating others to pursue and achieve these goals. Otherwise, the definitions differ in many respects, such as wh...

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Good leadership can be measured by success whereas bad leadership equates to failure. The key skills and qualities of each leader may differ according to the individual. Good leadership requires respect for the team and encouraging their active involvement. Dictating without acknowledging input from team members can discourage those individuals from active involvement and ultimately diminish their contribution.

The ability to adopt varying leadership styles is necessary. Flexibility is essential to accommodate changing resources and demands. Although personality types may vary by leader, key skills and attributes are common to all who are successful.

Without strong leadership, the collective goals of any group activity cannot be assured, and the ability of the group to function successfully as a team to meet those objectives cannot be guaranteed.
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