What Makes A Leader?

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There are a myriad of qualities that form leadership. People may never agree whether leadership arises from a set of innate characteristics ("leaders are born") or from observable actions ("leaders are made"). While it would be almost impossible to come up with a definitive, all encompassing definition for leadership. However, some basic leadership qualities seem almost universal, no matter the leader or type of followers they head: Good communication skills, the ability to constructively deal with a variety of personalities, and the mental toughness to shoulder responsibility and weather criticism. Certain personality traits are also required such as having a sense of humor, trustworthiness, and interpersonal skills. I believe the traits and abilities of a leader that are common in any leadership model are the product of one of three broad bases of knowledge: knowledge of the followers, knowledge of the goals of the followers, and perhaps the most important, leader's knowledge of his or herself.

A leader must have knowledge of who he/she is leading. A leader will have a difficult time getting a team to work together without first learning how to work with each person individually. In any team, all of the followers have different personality traits, job skills, and opinions that they bring to the table. While it is the responsibility of each team member to contribute to the common goals of the team, it is the leader's task to assess the strengths and weaknesses of each member to see how they would best contribute to the goals at hand. An effective group leader will take time to learn about each individual and put in an effort to maximize each member's contribution to the group. Being an active contributor to the group's goals all...

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... to use those abilities. However, no one can become a perfect leader outright. Leadership takes time, dedication, and plenty of detailed learning about yourself, your followers, your organization, and the society in which we live, to become a reputable leader.

In conclusion leaders need to know their group, their goals and themselves. A leader needs to know the individuals within a group before he or she can know what the group can accomplish. There needs to be a desire to lead but at the same time teach with patience. A leader cannot let their own desire to lead cloud the goals of the group as a whole. An effective group leader must be able to admit his or her weaknesses and be willingly to constantly improve. Leadership is essential in a group in order for the leader and its followers to move the group further in reaching and obtaining its goals.

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