This question is the subject of countless student essays, endless governmental speeches and various seminars that cost quite a bit to sit through. Though it is obviously debatable and such debate will continue among academics for years to come, here are ten characteristics that many agree are required in order to be a good leader.
A good leader needs to be both passionate about the work that he is doing and about those that are helping him to do it. It is this passion that enables him to inspire those around him to greatness. His passion is both highly visible and contagious.
A good leader will care about those that are helping him to achieve his vision and therefore will treat them with respect. He will accept that people are not machines but human beings who make mistakes. While expecting hard work, he will not demand perfection.
A good leader will not talk just to hear his own voice, he will mean every word that he says and in doing so will earn respect. He is someone that upon making a guarantee delivers upon said guarantee and in doing so he is known as trustworthy and reliable. He will be persuasive but he will not manipulate and he will treat those below him with as much respect as he treats those above him.
A good leader will be an expert at explaining himself and his goals. He will of course be comfortable with public speaking but will also be a good listener. He will have a way with people and be highly capable of persuading people to follow his lead. Such communication skills will be part of the reason that people are willing to accept him as their leader.
Though not strictly a requirement, the majority of great leaders are captivating individuals. It is within such charisma and charm that their lives as leaders are made easier, often able to take control of situations with minimal effort. People are drawn to and respect charismatic leaders.
A good leader requires vision. It is through such vision that he can lead others in such a way that results can be achieved and deadlines met. He will know exactly where he wants to go and both how to get there and how to help others get there too. It is through such vision and confident communication of that vision that a good leader can motivate those around him.
A good leader will not just expect discipline but be disciplined himself. Upon taking on a project, he will remain focused on it until completion. He will not stand by and expect others to do the work; he will frequently be the hardest worker out of the team that he is leading.
A good leader will never be afraid to stand up for what he believes to be right. In order to be a leader, decisions will have to be made that are both popular and unpopular. Though he will not be afraid to admit when he was wrong, he will also not be afraid to assert his opinion, regardless of the opinion of those around him, if he believes himself to be right.
A truly great leader will not only be intelligent but wise. History is full of intelligent but unwise leaders and the lack of said wisdom was frequently their downfall. The life of a leader typically involves the need to make important decisions, to truly be a great leader, the wisdom to know the right call is required.