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3 Qualities that Determine An Effective Leader

If you have read our previous article, you would have gotten some idea of your leadership style. While there is no correct way of being a leader, there are certain qualities that are universally desired. Beyond just having clear goals and measures of accountability, all good leaders embody these 3 qualities.


Humility is one of the biggest deciding factors that separates a good leader from the rest. A good leader will acknowledge her shortcomings and that she does not have all the answers. A humble leader understands that her team is made up of members of different skills that can be leveraged on. It is this trait that encourages members to come forward and suggest their ideas. A team where members can take initiative is one that has shown to produce greater results.

It is important to distinguish humility from being a pushover. Just because you are humble, it does not mean that you let people's opinions overrule yours. Humility is recognising that you are not worth more or less than others. You understand that everyone has inherent worth to them and that they deserve a chance to be heard equally.

True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less. - Rick Warren


Leaders face many different situations everyday: both expected and unexpected. And it is her reaction that determines how the situation plays out. In negative situations, it is easy to react defensively and make snap decisions. When a leader makes snap decisions, she fails to consider all viewpoints. And that may have negative consequences down the line. A good leader has the patience to examine the situation properly and consider all possible angles before coming to a decision. Furthermore, a patient leader is the most respected because she is patient with people. A good leader takes the time to understand her members. Which grants her the ability to ascertain how they can boost their productivity. Patience is the key to achieving positive long-term results.

Of the 3 qualities, patience may be the most difficult to cultivate, especially in our fast-paced world. We are constantly overwhelmed with so many things that all require our utmost attention. So, we often make quick decisions to resolve them quickly. As such, it is essential to examine facts about situations that creates pressure for you. What about the situation causes pressure? What are the steps that you need to take to resolve it? Once you reduce a situation to actionable steps, it may become simpler for you to exercise patience.

Have patience. All things are difficult before they become easy. - Saadi Shirazi


Coming from the Latin root word 'pation' - to suffer - and the prefix "com" - with – the word compassion means 'to suffer with'. An extension of empathy, having compassion means that you understand other people's suffering and want to alleviate their misery. A compassionate leader is clearly able to see from their members' perspectives and assess what needs to be done to help them. Which is also why compassionate leaders are the best people to cultivate a collaborative work culture. And there is a definitive research that indicates that empathy and compassion in leaders leads to a more effective and high-performing workplace. When employees feel that their needs are being considered and taken care of, they are more likely to produce high quality work.

Compassion is something that can be learned like any other skill. Compassion can start from the inside. We are our harshest critics. And so, cultivating the ability to be kind to ourselves and our perceived flaws, will help us learn how to be compassionate to others. We can also build compassion by interacting with different people and taking the time to understand their perspectives. This allows us to relax our judgement of others and discern how we can help them. As a result, people will be more willing to help you as well.

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle. - Plato

Three qualities may not seem like a lot to determine the strength of a leader. But, these three qualities are often indicative of other good qualities that all good leaders embody. Being humble grants the leader the ability to be flexible about solutions and consider alternative perspectives. Having patience ensures that leaders can see the big picture and discern how different parts impact the whole. And being compassionate allows leaders to learn about different perspectives and be more open to new ideas. These qualities are also not inherent to anyone and can be cultivated. We just have to be willing to put in the time and effort to do so.

You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing you think you cannot do. - Eleanor Roosevelt


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