While there have been great strides in technology, scientific discoveries and race relations in today’s society, there has also been an enormous downturn in the economy that has affected all aspects of society. Much of our country has been affected by unemployment or under-employment, and as a result, individuals and families have had to operate in ways that they never had to before. Citizens are not reaching for the stars as much as hanging on a limb; many have been damaged by the economy.
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With this backdrop in mind, as I contemplate the most important qualities of a leader in today’s society, I think of the quote: “a good leader inspires people to have confidence in the leader; a great leader inspires people to have confidence in themselves. ” Therefore, a great leader must not only possess confidence but also display cooperation and willingness to serve as well as be a critical thinker and problem-solver. A leader must be confident in not only his abilities, but also in his followers’ abilities to reach the goal.
A leader is humble enough to recognize value of his strengths and the need for the help of others. Instead of expecting 100% perfection, a leader must first be confident in and encourage 100% effort from each individual. Thus, a great leader will convey to his followers that each of their individual skills and abilities are absolutely critical in reaching the goal and that the leader is confident in each follower’s ability to contribute to the goal. Closely related to confidence is cooperation and willingness to serve.
In recognizing the value of others, a great leader will display and encourage cooperation among the followers and also be willing to serve when the need arises. A leader will listen to and address concerns that could potentially divide the team and make the best decision that encourages cooperation and keeps the team on track to the goal. Nothing is more damaging to a team than divisiveness that is derived from lack of cooperation. Likewise, a leader who is not willing to serve for the good of the team sends a message of power and not leadership.
Finally, a great leader must be a critical thinker and problem-solver. From the boardroom to the hospital bedside, in today’s society, costs are rising and profits are shrinking. Decisions have to be made differently. A leader must think critically about the issues and work with the team to solve problems. A great leader will solicit input from the followers to determine the viable alternatives and hence, weigh the risks and benefits to arrive at the best solution.
With a strong foundation based in confidence and willingness to serve, a great leader will be able to think quickly and effectively in any given situation. In today’s society, businesses are run off of the notion that time is money; in order to grow, each individual must maximize on every opportunity given. Without these three traits, confidence, willingness to serve, and critical thinking, a person is merely an individual with potential as opposed to a true leader.