Leadership – Part 2: What are the characteristics of a good leader?

Part 1 in case you have missed it.

Part 2 of the leadership development will be looking at Locke (1997)’s list of characteristics of a good leader:

  1. Reality focused: Facing reality as it is. Instead of trying to work on a distant goal, a leader must be pragmatic and knows which steps to take to advance his causes. Accepting reality requires the ability to reason, which means they need to consider the consequences of their actions carefully.
  2. Honesty: Accurate assessment of own strength and weakness. To be a good leader, you need people to have confidence in you. The best way to do so is to be honest about who you are and it ties in with the first characteristic as well.
  3. Confidence: Innovativeness and thinking outside of the box. Confidence in ourselves also means we are able to take the first step down the new roads. A good leader need to be able to take charge.
  4. Active Mind: Constantly seeking new ideas. Pretty self explanatory, a good leader should absorb new ideas and be open minded.
  5. Intelligence: Ability to reason. To reiterate this characteristic, a good leader needs to know what’s best for the group
  6. Egoistic Passion for Work: Being a workaholic because they enjoy the work.
  7. Ambition: Drive to achieve. While it is important to be pragmatic, it is also important to not forget about the need to have a long term goal to work on.
  8. Action Commitment: It is simple for people to come up with ideas and plans but it is much harder to actually start doing something. A good leader needs to be able to be able to motive others to do things instead of just thinking about things.
  9. Tenacity: Not afraid of failure. There are set back sometimes in your journey of being a leader but you need to know that it is okay to feel bad about what happened. More importantly, having failures also means you can learn from your mistakes so you can improve.
  10. Respect for Ability: Being able to delegate responsibility. You can’t do everything by yourself, despite you may have doubts about whether people can do their job properly, being a good reader requires you to know when to stop worrying and let others do their work.
  11. Justice: Punish and reward behaviours. A good leader needs to balance the group, it can be tough to be fair but sometimes you have to do what’s best for the group. When a member does something nice, you return the favour; when a member does something wrong, you consult him about why it was wrong to do so.


Evaluate yourself to see if you have these qualities. If not, write down what you can do to improve yourself.


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