Attributes of Leadership

People management at work can be tough and at times confusing too. While some people may be born leaders, most need to develop this competency of leading and getting work done. It is also important to understand the right balance of being empathetic towards team members and being uncompromising towards getting the work done. A slight imbalance will most certainly impact work negatively but may also lead to issues like a dampened relationship with the team or worse team members thinking of quitting your team or organisation.

Here are some qualities that, I believe are critical attributes of leadership

Professional Competence

A leader can lead effectively only when s/he knows what they are talking about. A leader must understand every small and big aspect of their business and must strive to keep themselves updated at all times. No one is born with professional competence and nor can anyone simply attain it by being descendants of great leaders. Every individual has to strive for this. Hard work, dedication, discipline and persistence are the only ways to achieve professional competence.

Courage to take decisions

The courage and confidence to take decisions comes from professional knowledge and deep understanding of the business and current state of affairs. It is therefore imperative that one who aspires to lead should keep abreast with happenings from their own industries as also aligned industries. It is important to note that not all decisions taken may be right, but not being able to take a decision is worse than a wrong decision. Leaders must have the ability to understand situations, analyse pros & cons of their decisions and finally the courage to take an informed decision and complete responsibility.


Being fair to all team members is an essential leadership quality. Personal biases and preferences should be set aside when taking leadership decisions. The team needs to be sure that a decision taken for or against them will be the same decision taken for or against any other team member, given the same circumstances. This ensures that every team member feels part of the larger purpose and performs accordingly.

Ability to show the larger picture

One of the main objectives of a leader is her/his ability to show the larger picture to the team. Every team member,while performing her/his tasks may not be able to envision how they impact the bigger purpose – A leader can guide and lead the way here. Understanding the larger picture helps each member of the team understand the purpose of her/his task and how their jobs in turn impact the bigger purpose of the organisation or project. This helps everyone perform better.

Ability to identify the right people for the right job

We all know that each individual is different with different personality traits, interpersonal communication skills, strengths and weaknesses. A leader’s ability to identify these qualities and leverage them in the best way so that the best results can be achieved – for the individual and for the team is of paramount importance. There are several skills that can be developed over time with practice and persistence but individual personality traits tend to remain constant and for may they are severely overpowering. 

While I’m sure there are several other attributes that are needed for great leadership, the above five, top the list for me!

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Anubhuti Mathur on Twitter
Anubhuti Mathur
Anubhuti Mathur is a trained editor with over ten years of diverse experience in instructional designing and newspaper and TV news editing. She has worked at companies such as Aptara, IBM and Independent News Service.

At The PRomise Foundation she oversees all things content. She ensures the running of the Reputation Today portal and the print magazine. She has been involved at events such as PRAXIS, Manifest, Super Night and Reputation Today Conclaves and webinars. She holds an Economics degree from Fergusson College and is a post graduate in Mass Communications from Symbiosis Institute of Mass Communication.

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