A conceptual look at leadership and associated concepts.
Kiongozi Hodari: Hello Kwambie, I am excited to have a moment with the readers of ‘Wacha niKwambie Uzima’and share with them my learnings over the years on the traits of a good leader.
Kwambie: Perhaps you could first begin by sharing with us the real definition of Leadership.
Kiongozi Hodari:Kevin Cruse in his article ‘What is Leadership?’ begins by explaining clearly what Leadership is not. Leadership has nothing to do with seniority, title and personal attributes. He emphasizes that Leadership is not management.
He goes on to give his own definition of Leadership, ‘Leadership is a process of social influence which maximizes the effort of others towards the achievement of a goal.’
Kwambie: Thank you for the definition.
Kiongozi Hodari:As we embark ondiscovering the qualities of a good leader I am sure that Kwambieyou just might have a few up your sleeve?
Kwambie: Yes.I believe a good leader must be honest and act with integrity. In addition to that a good leader must have excellent communication skills to articulate the vision of whatever organization thatthe leader leads for the sake of the leader’s followers.
Kiongozi Hodari: Absolutely. These qualities of honesty and integrity are dwindling by the day the world over and it is increasingly becoming difficult to showcase leaders with such qualities.
Kwambie: A good leader to me is one who is inspirational and inspires hope and confidence in his followers. Isn’t that true Mr. Kiongozi Hodari?
Kiongozi Hodari: You have nailed it Kwambie.
Kwambie: Those are the first traits of a good leader that come into kind.
Kiongozi Hodari:Further to that consider that a good leader must be able to delegate responsibility to members of the team. The days of a one man show are long gone!
Kwambie: Does that mean that a good leader empowers members of his or her team?
Kiongozi Hodari: Absolutely. As if that is not enough other critical traits of a good leader include confidence and courage. Cowardly leaders will never inspire their followers to achieve any vision however easy the terrain may seem.
Kwambie: Hmmmmm…. Interesting. What about a positive attitude? Would you say that that is important for agood leader?
Kiongozi Hodari: Yes. One can never have enough of a positive leader. Positive leaders provide a beacon of hope to their followers especially during challenging times. A good leader is committed to achieving the institution that he or she leads. Other key traits for a good leader include creativity and innovation. A good leader is always coming up with different and new ways of doing things.
Kwambie: As usual you have not disappointed me with your insights.
Kiongozi Hodari: Thank you Kwambie. Good leaders are also easily accessible by their followers and celebrate the achievements of their followers.
Now Kwambie, Iknow you had invited me to the blog to sharemy insights on critical leadership traits, I feel that it would be wise to also note down ways of identifying poor leaders.
Kwambie: The floor is all yours soto speak Mr. Kiongozi Hodari.
Kiongozi Hodari: Poor leaders exhibit the converse of all the traits that we have mentioned above. For example poor leaders lack integrity and honesty.
Theyare poor performers and therefore cannot set an example to their followers.
Other traits of poor leaders is that they seem to know it all and are full of themselves. They never invest in the development and growth of their team members own doing.
To cap it all, such substandard leadersrarely take responsibility for failure and take credit for all successes including successes that were clearly their followers.
Kwambie:Mr. Kiongozi Hodari , on behalf of the blog I am truly grateful for the insights shared in the interview.
So there we have it; a clear definition of what leadership is and what it is not. Let us use the gained knowledge to sharpen our saws as leaders and also use the same as a gauge in determining the standards of leaders we will follow.
Have a lovely weekend ahead or rather more accurately, what is left of it.