What makes a great leader?
You may have read about that one special quality all leaders possess, and plenty of websites mention several different traits:
- A positive attitude
- Discernment (of what tools in his arsenal of other traits to use at the right time)
- Thick skin (to be able to withstand change, self-doubt, naysayers, competitors, and the job itself)
- The nature of a seeker (to seek change, truth, knowledge, integrity, and excellence)
- The ability to effect change where and when needed
- The ability to give hope where there is none
- The ability to listen and communicate effectively
- Emotional maturity
- Trust and trustworthiness
And of course, other standard character traits associated with leadership: strength, courage, respect/respectability, adaptability, curiosity, likability, responsibility, competence, intelligence, wisdom, self-mastery, charisma, presence, a great example, and so on. All of these and more are critical to leadership; it’s a complex combination of qualities that must be utilized the right way at the right time to enable their bearer to lead with utmost efficiency.
Granted, being a good leader calls for the ability to use all these traits to bring one’s self and company to rise above adversity and competition. There’s a certain amount of persuasion that’s involved, for one to be able to pull others to reach — and more importantly, want to reach — a common goal.
But if you take away some of these aforementioned qualities aside, you can still come up with a leader who gets the job done. Some leaders may be arrogant and still be effective. Some aren’t as flexible as others, but can still bring victory to their team’s table. And we’ve heard of stories about leaders who still have a long way to go toward self-mastery, yet have managed to harness their team’s capabilities into accomplishing their main goals.
So what is that one trait that ALL leaders have?
Underneath all the other stellar characteristics we mentioned, we believe that the one quality that makes an effective leader is the ability to be an effective team player.
The reason for this is that you cannot be a leader without people to lead — your team. Even if your teammates start off as uncooperative, uninterested, unmotivated, or plain lazy, they gain steam once they start working with a team member who can find and use ways to light the fire from under their bottom, so to speak. Once that spark is lit, it takes a firm push to mobilize everyone to work in one direction, meeting a shared objective.
That one team member who can do that is one who can lead the pack.
If you can play along well with your team and get them to act as a unit, then all your other qualities are yours for the taking for a leadership post.