Leadership Qualities and Traits Essay

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Leadership and great leaders have long been a subject of focus and intrigue by our society and for good reason: great leaders can be life changing. Great leaders never fail to inspire and they help to make the people around them better, and more in touch with their full potential. Workers and team members are staunchly loyal to great leaders, having so much allegiance, at times it seems like they are willing to follow them off a cliff. Notably, poor leaders have the opposite effect: they provoke pettiness, one-upmanship, and disloyalty within their ranks. When it comes to something as nebulous and intriguing as great leadership, certain traits do appear to be innate to some of the best leaders. These are things like having an intuitive understanding of what people want and what they’re afraid and how to communicate with them. However, so many of the effective qualities of leadership can be taught and learned.

Erika Anderson, a scholar and consultant who has studied leadership for decades, has found that some people (a very small amount) are natural born leaders. Other people (also a very small amount) will never be good leaders. Most people, at around 80% of the population, have some qualities beneficial to leadership and can easily learn the rest. Anderson, through her rigorous research has found that one of the character traits that is most effective is not independence or strong communication as one might think, but actually, self-awareness. “Becoming truly self-aware means to cultivate, on a daily basis, an accurate sense of how you show up in the world and what motivates you.  For instance: What are your actual strengths and weaknesses as a leader and as a person?  What impact do you have on others? What do you care most about?  What's your moral compass, and do you use it as a guidance system?  How closely do your actions line up with your promises?” (Anderson, 2012). When people are more self-aware, they’re more able to add skills to their existing ones and to do the work of becoming better people, and essentially better leaders.


Andersen, E. (2012, December 16). Are Leaders Born Or Made? Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikaandersen/2012/11/21/are-leaders-born-or-made/#57219b3448d5

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