Introduction: A leader is essential in any organization or team. Leadership is a quality that is not possessed by everyone. However, it does come naturally to some people.
Meaning of Leadership
Leadership, as the name suggest, is the art of leading a group of individuals. Leadership is an activity which involves inspiring subordinates to work hard and perform their best to attain a previously set goal.
When a person has the power to lead or direct other people, he is said to be having leadership abilities. The characteristics of leaders are unique and that is what makes them a good leader.
- the ability in any person to instruct or lead a group or organization,
- the activity that involves leading and directing a group of people,
- the ability to channel other people`s talents effectively to accomplish a set goal,
- having a vision to lead a team of members or a complete organization towards its mission.
A good leader has the ability to lead a crowd with him, giving them direction in an efficient and concise fashion. Leadership traits have many attributes, management being one of the key ingredients of it. Leadership does not make anyone a ruler; it makes a leader out of a person. The difference between a ruler and a leader is fundamental, the former commands people to get work done while the latter leads people by example to get things done.
Leaders do not step back due to minor failures. They turn their failures into success. They always work with a team and as a team. Leadership does not just mean to sit back and watch the show of your subordinates; it means to actively participate in any work. Good leaders always “lead by example”.
If one does not have the innate leadership quality, it can always be polished and mentored over time. However, a born leader always outperforms a trained one. Leadership requires an intangible spark which takes a man towards his goal. Man management is the most critical and important management skill required in leadership.
Importance of Leadership:
- Gives directions and makes the road-map to success: A leader is essential to lead any work/project towards its successful completion by constantly monitoring his/her team. A person with good leadership skills directs his team towards the road to success. Leaders have a vision that they follow, and the vision always leads them towards success.
- Necessary to channelize talent: No work gets done without proper guidance. A team of workers may be extremely talented but will not be able to yield output if their talents aren’t channelized the right way. It is important to channelize efforts of a team and drive them towards the set target. A team functions haphazardly without a visionary leader. A good leader is a primary requirement for each and every team. Leadership is that soft skill, which cannot be avoided and whose absence creates a void in any team.
- Ability to conquer: It is not enough to just set your goal and target in any work you do. It is of utmost importance to be able to conquer that goal as well. Leadership skills help you with the “conquer part”. Anyone and everyone can work towards a set goal, but futile efforts in an unorganized manner may not lead to achieving that goal. A strong leader possesses the ability to conquer targets and face challenges. Their leadership skill aids them in conquering their goals, time and again.
- Prepare a plan towards any set goal: “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” This is exactly the fate of a team without an appropriate leader, who meticulously helps his/her team plan their work on a long term as well as short term basis.
- Sailing through tough times: When everyone gives up in a difficult situation, a leader steps forward. It is not in a leader to call it quits. They push their team and motivate them to keep them going in tough times. Giving up is not the attitude of a good leader. Leadership demands a tough attitude because “when the going gets tough, then the tough gets going”. Any task remains incomplete without a challenge. Easy work does not give you big results and a leader knows that. They always foresee the humps and challenges in their work much before and prepare their team accordingly.
- Ensures discipline and timely execution of work: Discipline is an important attribute of leaders. Business, politics and wars are won because of leadership and discipline. Discipline is important in planning and management in a life of a leader. Leadership requires giving shape to ideas, making concrete plans and striving for their proper and timely execution. All these cannot be done without discipline. A leader ensures that he and his team are discipline to achieve their goals.
- Open new doors: Leadership opens doors which were never thought of before. A leader always has a plan B. A leader should not give up when the tried and tested roads fail to take them to their destination. A new door is opened each time all others are found lock. Discovery of new paths is always a trait of a good leader. Taking the example of Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther king, etc., we can see how they made their ways because leadership sustained in them. They chose different paths that were trodden by others, to achieve their goal. A leader solves problems and is not scared of them. He thinks of overcoming problems rather than by-passing them. Bypassing problems give only a temporary solution whereas overcoming the same problems give a permanent resolution.
- Trouble-shooter: Whenever stuck, a team-members always fall back on the leader to help solve their problems. An efficient leader is an excellent trouble-shooter.
- Conquers the fear: There is no space for fear in leadership. A leader should be fearless and aim to do what others did not. They should train their team to be fearless as well. Conquering fears is an important step in achieving success. A leader does not care what the society thinks of him. He has his eyes set on the goal and he leads his team effortlessly towards him.
- Trains his subordinates: Leader plays another important role: he trains his sub-ordinates (fresh or old ones alike).
- Leadership in women: Leadership is not gender biased. A woman can be a born leader, as much as a man. Women leaders are goal oriented and they never sit still until they conquer their targets. Women have an innate quality of management and they give it their all. Many women leaders have shown the world what success tastes like.
- Better person: Leadership qualities not only get your business targets, it also gives you life lessons. It shows you how to lead your life in an organized and disciplined manner. Leadership skill makes you a better person than you were. Like leaders teach their subordinates, they also get to learn from them each day. Every day is a learning day in a leader`s life. Good leaders are always open to suggestions and ideas. That is what makes them well-informed. Being a leader is not synonymous to being bossy. A good leader is also a good listener. Only when you listen to other people`s ideas and share yours, you can work as a team and lead them successfully.
- Quality retained: A leader is not only a leader at work; he or she is a leader in every sphere of their lives. Leadership is a quality which gets retained forever. Thus, a good leader can pass any hurdle in his or her personal life as well. Home management is also something that comes naturally to any leader. They can multi task and can maintain balance in their personal as well as professional lives.
- To initiate tasks or any kind of action: Everyone can work but everyone cannot lead. A leader is essential to initiate tasks and communications.
- Help co-ordinate work: A leader teaches teamwork to his subordinates. A leader functions as the binding string between his team members. Thus, work co-ordination is best done by a good leader.
Leadership is a behavioral attribute of a leader. They achieve targets in an organized fashion and not by hook or by crook. They always lead their team towards success. A leader is nothing without his manpower and team. A good leader always remembers this and treats his subordinates well. Leadership becomes a habit which should be nurtured and used well. Leadership should never be misused for it might lead to dangerous consequences. Also, a good leader makes his team grow with him, intellectually as well as professionally. A team of individuals consider themselves lucky to be under good leadership and guidance. Good leaders are a great asset to any workplace as well as the whole world.
– Purbita, edited.