Millions of books and countless words have been written on leadership as a skill. One of the questions asked most often in leadership workshops is “Who is a leader?” Though we have excellent responses to this question, in many forms and formats, we still have a dearth of real leaders in organizations and Governments.

Who is a real leader? A leader who is known, not by position or titles, but by values. Our world is rapidly changing and so are the leaders’ traits and behaviours. Values combined with skills are very critical when it comes to the competencies of a leader. Most of the framework on leadership focuses more on skills like strategizing, execution, influencing and business acumen, but not on personal values which are crucial.

Real leaders consistently work on the following positive values along with these behaviours and skills; 

  1. Being a Genuine Coach
  2. Displays Unbiased Empathy
  3. Delivers Impactful communication
  4. Possess Collaborative Knowledge
  5. Makes Socially Responsible Decisions and
  6. Does Diligent Execution

A Genuine Coach is a leader, who gives us the freedom to make mistakes and firmly believes that failures lead to learning. They allow us to be creative, which results in building an innovative culture within Organizations. This type of leader has a genuine interest in people development and they constantly keep looking for skills and behaviours that can be improved. You may have seen Organizations adopt innovative tools like Design Thinking and Co-creation, only because of these kinds of leaders. 

Empathy has to be unbiased. A leader who has this trait of unbiased empathy respects every individual and treats them with no divisive mindset. Recognizing emotions in others and communicating positively to bring harmony is what these leaders do. No one indeed wants a bigot as a leader.

Would you accept somebody with average communication skills as a leader? A leader should have the ability to deliver Impactful Communication to motivate others. The term impactful not only means the leaders’ oratorical skills in communicating powerfully but also in expressing values like integrity and transparency. Exhibiting positive personal values while communicating gives an impact, as powerful as a successful takeoff of a rocket to space.  

All of us rely on the knowledge we gain through our experiences, and wisdom is the application of this knowledge at the right time. Competition is the extreme opposite of collaboration. Some people compete with others using their knowledge negatively, like showing off their expertness or putting people down. If one can collaborate by creating learning opportunities and sharing what they know, then this leader is a person with collaborative knowledge

A real leader makes socially responsible decisions by understanding the impact of those decisions. How do these decisions affect people? It is a moral dilemma to decide what takes precedence, people or the task. Situational leadership talks about this. It gives a canned approach for leaders to behave in a particular situation. Real leaders involve their team while making decisions and understand the impact that would be caused and proactively arrive at ways to mitigate the effect.

‘What we ever hope to do with ease, we must first learn to do with diligence.’ Samuel Johnson

Diligent execution of strategies after careful analysis of the probable impact on people is a habit that all leaders should inculcate. Persistence and conscientiousness are the two words that make a leader diligent. It is the conscious choice of a good leader, to recognize the impact of decisions and also analyse events during the execution of these decisions.  

Assess any leader on these six parameters. Whisper now. Is the person a real leader?

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Samuel Johnson · December 6, 2019 at 7:47 pm

wonderful article and amazing book review.
Neatly explained.
Thankyou so much, i ve learnt happily

    Soumya · December 6, 2019 at 8:27 pm

    Nicely Written article….

    Pribilika · December 7, 2019 at 2:13 am

    Great job, sir! Keep up the good work.

    Biju k raj · December 7, 2019 at 5:57 pm

    Excellent article koshy

Salman Javeed · December 6, 2019 at 8:45 pm

Nicely done article George. Keep up the good work. 🙂

Roy · December 6, 2019 at 9:13 pm

Good one! All important points are discussed neatly. Video is too good.

    Rinu · December 7, 2019 at 9:50 am

    Great blogpost! Essential points discussed. Hope more people read this and be inspired…

Umapathy · December 6, 2019 at 10:45 pm

Good George . Neat and simple. Very well articulated.congrats !

    Karthik B · December 7, 2019 at 1:20 pm

    Nice article George. Clear explanation of Book overview and review – Change by design book.

Reshma · December 6, 2019 at 11:36 pm

Wonderful George. A real leader takes socially responsible decisions by understanding the impact of those decisions. This is it most wanted quality for a leader which we couldn’t find from any leaders nowadays.

Lal Mathews · December 7, 2019 at 3:44 am

Hey George
Nice article. However I don’t think leaders need to be good orators . Yes great orators can move an audience or a crowd or mass of people. But there are a lot of leaders who can lead without being highly impactful with their communication.

Though can’t disagree entirely , some of the great leaders are amazing orators like President Obama, Martin Luther or JFK to name a few…..

Manodivya · December 7, 2019 at 3:52 pm

Nice article. Good one George ji

Sunil · December 7, 2019 at 4:24 pm

Great work George …keep it up

TSK. Raman · December 7, 2019 at 5:01 pm

Well written. All encompassing and comprehensive script for Leadership.

Biju k raj · December 7, 2019 at 5:57 pm

Excellent article koshy

Vijay Kumar · December 7, 2019 at 6:53 pm

Very well written. Congratulations.

Sriram Balasubramanian · December 7, 2019 at 7:31 pm

If the leader can make right decisions digesting all of the ground reality and give due considerations to each aspects of the organization, decision making need not be necessarily made involving the team.Even when they make a decision involving the team, they should also own the outcome of the decision, come what may. There are exemplary situations where great leaders have owned failures, but ensured to attribute success to the inclusive larger team.

Just take out any two of the listed six behavior and replace it with “Executive Power”. It becomes the perfect recipe of disaster to any organization :). International brands have suffered just because of leaders making mistakes (or should I dilute it by saying making “error of judgement”) in one of these six listed behaviors.

Love that “unbiased empathy” part 🙂

Ravi Kuppusamy · December 7, 2019 at 8:26 pm

Excellent write-up on the contemporary leadership qualities…..”Value Leads” has been emphasized along with other qualities. Great George ! Keep writing…..

Hariesh · December 8, 2019 at 5:14 pm

Really nicely written. Gives a motivation to me to be a leader and correct myself where I might need to add strength in my approach

Sugetha · December 8, 2019 at 6:47 pm

Amazing blog, very well articulated. Keep it going !

Naren · December 11, 2019 at 9:49 am

Good one George

Amali Dasnavis S · December 11, 2019 at 4:37 pm

George, thank you for the insight. a nice take on the qualities a real leader should imbibe

Zarina · December 12, 2019 at 9:01 pm

George well written article. And yes qualities rightly mentioned. Am sharing it with my boss..

Divya Dharmalingam · December 17, 2019 at 5:01 pm

Good one Sir. Your words are clear & simple. Keep writing blogs like this.

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