Qualities of a Leader

Posted on June 26th, 2012 in Tips and Secrets by John Jensen


There are several characteristics that are important in order to be an effective leader. There are the obvious ones such as having good & effective communication skills (both verbal and written) and ability to work collaboratively. One that I would also add to the list is fueling your work with your passions.

Being able to communicate your ideas and thoughts to others is crucial to being able to effectively motivate others. These skills are also directly connected to landing a good job. Many employers say that the most sought out characteristic/skill is the ability to work in a team. If you are unable to work with other people, it is safe to say that it’s impossible for you to provide and leadership to the group’s efforts. Additionally, the ability to work with people that are different than you, individually or on a team, is part of successful team and life work. It is a crucial skill to being successful and being an exceptional leader as well.

Let’s visit your ability to communicate – Often we concentrate on our verbal skills, and they are important. However another characteristic that is important is being a good writer. Your ability to write connects and helps create a respect between you and “followers” as well as other leaders. If you are unable to communicate in a competent fashion through writing, your followers will not take you as seriously. So those English classes you took are very practical in these situations. Being able to spell correctly, using correct grammar, and having an effective vocabulary can be extremely helpful when it comes to communicating with other leaders and followers – especially when communicating not only your passion but your connection to others.

In my opinion, there is one characteristic that is more important to being a leader than any other. You must be passionate. It goes back to the quote I shared with you from David McCullough Jr.’s commencement speech, “I urge you to do whatever you do for no reason other than you love it and believe in its importance.” If you are not passionate about whatever it is that you do, you are significantly at a disadvantage as you try to lead others. A leader must truly believe in whatever it is that they are doing, that’s why they take the risk of leading. A leader’s job is to motivate others to believe in their cause as much as they do. I challenge you to find a leader that was not passionate about whatever it was they were doing. Martin Luther King Jr. was passionate about the cause of equality. Steve Jobs was passionate about making technology more advanced and assessable. Susan B. Anthony was passionate about women’s suffrage. Our Founding Fathers were passionate about the cause of independence.

As a Political Science major, I like to look at political figures to analyze this. Barack Obama’s Presidential race in 2008 was so successful because he was passionate about “change” and his followers connected with that passion. Ron Paul’s popularity among his followers has been so successful because of how passionate he is about the cause of “liberty”.

Believing in your cause is so important to being a leader, that passion alone can drive the other characteristics on its own. Find what you love, do what you love, and believe in its importance no matter how bleak things may seem sometimes. People will follow when you communicate your passion AND when they see it.

Until next time,

John Jensen

“There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” -Nelson Mandela 

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