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Who is a Good Leader?

Updated: Jan 2

Many believe that leaders are born. That since birth, leaders behave differently, But I firmly believe that leaders are made. “Give me a man with reasonable common sense and decency,

and I will make a leader out of him,” said the first Feild Marshal of India, Sam Manekshaw. In this writing, I will point down Eight Qualities that make a great leader. These are primarily from the speech given by Feild Marshal, Sam Manekshaw and rest my understanding of the subject so far.


1. A leader must have professional knowledge and competence.


Those who believe that a leader is born must agree that regardless of the position of the father/mother, his/her son/daughter can never be born with professional knowledge. Sir Manekshaw says that “Profesional Knowledge must be acquired the hard way. It is a constant

study”. If you are wondering about the importance of professional knowledge, a leader daily has to make numerous decisions, some big, some small, which define the future of the team/organization they may be leading. Lack of knowledge about the profession leads to immature decisions, which I like to call mere flukes. Furthermore, one can never have professional competence without professional knowledge and hence will never be a leader.


2. The ability to make decisions.


A leader must be able to make decisions. Once taken that decision, he must accept full responsibility for it. If a leader fails to make a decision, it is only because he lacks the confidence to do so. Now a leader lacks that confidence only because he lacks professional knowledge.


3. Absolute Justice and impartiality.


No man on the earth likes being punished, yet they will accept it if they know that any man who commits a crime of that sort faces the trials. If a leader has this quality, he may not be liked but will always be Respected, as people like being super seated by someone better than them.


4. Moral and physical courage.


By moral courage, Feild Marshal Sam Manekshaw means the ability to distinguish between what’s right and what’s wrong. Having distinguished, he must also have the courage to stand up and save his peace. Irrespective of what anyone thinks. He further says, “A Yes man is a horrible man.” They may rise to significant positions but will always be used by their superiors, disliked, and not respected by the juniors.


By physical courage, it is not meant that you have no fear at all. I believe fear is good; it keeps you close to the ground and reality while making your decisions, but it should never be shown.

5. Loyalty


Loyalty is a two-way thing. You have to be loyal to someone to have their loyalty. If you cannot earn your team’s loyalty, I don’t believe as a leader; you will ever be able to create something of value or even leave an impact.


“Leadership is nothing but management of men and resources.”


6. Human touch.


A good leader knows how to get things done and knows to communicate them with a humor touch. A place with restrictions and seriousness can never cultivate terrific and exciting ideas as it breeds fear in the minds of the team, which prevents them from trying. Thereby failing you as a leader.


7. Discipline.


“Discipline is a code of conduct for a decent living in the society. This code of conduct comes from parents, the Geta, the Bible, the Quran, from the sayings of Nanak and the teachings of Buddha and Mahavira”. Without discipline, one can never be admired by even their own family, so it is simply impossible for their team to admire him. And if your own team does not admire you, there is no reason for them to trust you to lead them or even have Faith in your decisions.


8. Character.


Character apart from meaning to be trustworthy, honesty, punctuality but Feild Marshal Sam Manekshaw means something much bigger, and that is to know yourself. A man who knows himself can never be played by anyone, leading to over-confidence or even underconfidence. Hence, decisions are taken which may lead to the downfall of both his leadership, him, and his team.


Moreover, I believe that a great leader also knows the skills and capability of their team members better than they know themselves. This will help the leader push their individual traits to build something of great value that would make the entire world believe in the impossible. A great example of this trait is Steve Jobs.


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