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What Makes a Leader

Sujata Iyer Aug 14, 2020
What makes a leader a leader? Is it just his typical leadership style or is there more to it than the standard qualities that we keep reading about? Actually, it's a mix of both. Let's delve further into how you can be a leader, in this story.
The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint to keep from meddling with them while they do it. - Theodore Roosevelt
Well, it will be really difficult to disagree with the quote given above, not just because it is impeccably accurate, but also because it was said by a person who was one of the most energetic and vibrant presidents of the United States.
Being the head of a country is no easy job and he did it with the ease and panache of the well-rounded person that he was. Hence, we can somewhat gauge what exactly the characteristics of a leader are that make him or her special and impressive.
It's not just some cliché qualities that go into making a leader. It involves other things as well. What makes a leader is his disposition and the way he can handle himself in any situation that he is exposed to. Let us go deeper into the different effective qualities and skills that go into making a good leader.

What Makes a Good Leader

The process of finding out what makes a great leader is best learned first hand. So, if you want to know what makes a leader, then first and foremost, get ready to be one. Once you've made up your mind about it, half your work is already done. You'll make mistakes, that's for sure.
But it's the only way you'll learn what makes a bad leader and you're sure to avoid those same mistakes in the future. So if you're prepared to make some mistakes and learn from them, let us get to the qualities that go into making a good leader.


Two of the most important qualities required are the resoluteness and determination to be a leader. If you yourself are not convinced that you can be a good leader, it is going to reflect in the way you carry yourself, in the way you go about your daily activities and also in the way in which you expect the work to get done. How you divide and delegate.
Confidence is something that should be second nature to you. And once you're determined to do something, you simply cannot rest until you're sure that it is indeed completed. So if you lack determination, you cannot think of being a leader.


Another prime quality for any kind of leader is communication. The very core of leadership involves handling a team of people. It is obviously impossible to attain any kind of success with the team if there is lack of effective communication. You need to be a liaison between the team and the next level (read management). If you cannot communicate well with your team, then you lose credibility with the management and the respect of your team as well.

Creativity and Resourcefulness

Just being passionate and determined about doing something is not enough. You have to know how to actually do the work and also how to get it done. You need to be creative in finding the best and most appealing ways to get the desired results.
You also need to know the most resourceful ways, in terms of cost-effectiveness, utilization of available resources, and also appropriate allocation of jobs and duties. You must know which method will yield maximum results and make sure that only those are used and not be afraid to get your own hands dirty if and when required.


No person can be a leader if consistency isn't one of his characteristics. Why? Well, let's consider this. You have all the qualities that can make you a good leader. But you are very undecided about everything. Small decisions scare you, let alone important ones. You are available once for a particular job and then suddenly switch your line of interest.
As a result, you're not well-versed with any kind of work. A leader cannot afford to be unsure or doubtful of his decisions. And to achieve this consistency, you need to give yourself the time to gain experience, and consequently expertise. Only then will you be a good leader.


Picture this: your leader has asked you to complete a task in a particular way. After the completion of the task, he is reprimanded because the method that was used was incorrect and resulted in great losses for the firm.
At this point of time, what if he shrugs off all responsibilities and simply lets his team take the heat for it? Would you as a team member, have any respect whatsoever for this leader? Definitely not. Simply put, if you cannot take responsibility for your words, actions, and decisions, you cannot be a good leader.

Emotional Stability

Another quality that a leader needs to equip himself or herself with, is emotional stability. Being a leader involves a lot of emotional stress and this can take a toll on you, physically as well as mentally. You can be faced with many situations in which you may begin to question your abilities and ethics. While doing the right thing is up to you, you need to have the emotional stamina to put up with this kind of stress.
That was just a glimpse of what makes a leader. There are many more qualities that can be attributed to a good leader. How you hone them and use them to the best of your abilities is what will make you an exceptional leader.