3 Underrated Qualities Of An Effective Leader
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Politics and Activism

3 Underrated Qualities Of An Effective Leader

They don't make the top ten list, but they should.

3 Underrated Qualities Of An Effective Leader

In response to a recent survey, Adam Canwell, Vishalli Dongrie, Neil Neveras and Heather Stockton concluded that leadership is “the No.1 talent issue facing organizations around the world”, confirming it as one of the most valued and in-demand qualities of the 21st century. It’s blatantly obvious through the ways that colleges stress for it to be on your application, the way teens obsessively accumulate leadership positions throughout high school to put on their resume and the emphasis companies put on both recruiting and developing strong leaders. With such emphasis on leadership, however, it’s easy enough to say that a leader deficit is a myth. While it is true that high demand has kicked up a storm in the churning gears of society’s mechanic labeling, spitting out “leaders” left and right, it may not mean that they classify as a competent one. Besides, anyone can assume a leadership position. But what, in fact, makes a leader?

To most, a leader is, quite simply, “the one in charge.” He’s the person at the very top of an organizational hierarchy, the person who has the final say about everything, and is often outspoken, commanding, confident and dominant. Of course, these are vital characteristics of commandeering a group of individuals, but is there more to it? Below are three overlooked qualities that are equally, if not more, essential to effective leadership.

1. Empathy

The beauty of any kind of group or team is that it is made of different people, with different backgrounds and different talents. Everyone has something to bring to the table, and thus offer a plethora of expertise and ideas. But without empathy, the ability to understand others, there is no way to tie those individual strengths together in achieving a common goal. For it is important to remember that the success of a group is not determined by merely the unique assets of single persons, but by how well their skills can be combined and complimented. It is the responsibility of a leader to see such cooperation into fruition to ensure everyone is giving his or her best for an optimal team performance.

Nothing can be achieved alone. Thus a leader must engender trust between group members and ensure that they are comfortable in a group setting. Steps to take are listening to members and valuing what they have to say as well as promoting openness within the team. To do so, leaders must understand the people they are leading, know their strengths and weaknesses and make plans accordingly.

2. Submission

Submission is not a weakness, but rather, a strength. Though leaders are oftentimes perceived as unrelenting, they can quickly transition into inflexibility and uncompromising, ultimately delaying progress and prohibiting productivity. Though everyone shares the same goal, because members have their own opinions and visions by which to achieve it, conflict is inevitable. Say you are in a group of perceived “leaders.” Everyone is straining to make themselves heard, speaking over one another and quarreling, maintaining that he or she is right. But when everyone is arguing for his or her position and finding fault with everyone else’s, what progress can you make as a team? Quoting the words of an iSchool advocate, “leadership is about moving the group forward at the fastest and most efficient rate.” So if it means that the group may progress, yielding to another is not a scornful action, but a noble one.

3. Influence

A leader’s most powerful tool is his influence. It commands respect and is the active force behind the scenes. Thus, even if you are not outwardly dominating a conversation or making a decision, your influence, based on the grounds of respect, expertise and character, will be the deciding factor in group-based decisions.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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