During the past decades, many books have been written defining the perfect leader and discussing the most effective leadership styles. Scholars have introduced multiple theories of leadership, such as trait theory, behavioral theory, situational leadership theory, etc. (Northouse, 2015). There is no unanimity concerning the most important characteristics of a leader. Some claim that a successful leader should be empathetic and committed to growth (Spears, 2010), while others argue that leaders should be able to communicate, motivate, and build teams (Gilley, McMillan, & Gilley, 2009). In my opinion, a perfect leader is a person able to work collaboratively, motivate and inspire the followers, and solve problems. These basic features are described in detail in the present essay.
A leader is an individual who constantly interacts with co-workers. It is impossible to lead effectively sitting in an isolated office and not knowing the followers’ ideas, needs, and challenges. Therefore, I believe that a successful leader should be able to work in a team and practice collaborative decision-making. It is critically important for leaders to make sure that employees share their perspectives and create the environment where every individual feels free to participate in the team processes.
Furthermore, a successful leader should be able to motivate the followers. The main aim of any leader is to inspire and guide employees and motivate them to work effectively under stressful conditions and high workload. As far as I am concerned, a person failing to encourage team members to improve their performance is not a leader because leadership is about progress, innovation, and development. Moreover, I think that a leader should be able to not only motivate others but also find strength to activate one’s inner resources.
Finally, a successful leader knows how to solve problems. Even teams working collaboratively need guidance and support, and they expect leaders to offer them this support when needed. Leaders should constantly make important decisions regarding business, organizational setting, team building, interpersonal relations, conflicts, etc. They should maintain the balance between group decision-making and individual decision-making and be reasonable and sensible when it comes to addressing issues that affect the whole team. A good leader also takes responsibility for his decisions and is aware that problem-solving is one of his main responsibilities. Overall, I think that these three characteristics are the most important for leaders; yet, I admit that there are many other personal features that define successful leaders.
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Gilley, A., McMillan, H. S., & Gilley, J. W. (2009). Organizational change and characteristics of leadership effectiveness. Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies, 16(1), 38-47.
Northouse, P. G. (2015). Leadership: Theory and practice. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.
Spears, L. C. (2010). Character and servant leadership: Ten characteristics of effective, caring leaders. The Journal of Virtues & Leadership, 1(1), 25-30.