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The Art of Being a Good Leader

  Jun 24, 2011

In the world of business the distinction between good management and good leadership is so often made. Managers are perceived to be negotiators, organizers, controllers, budgeters and more so directors of the business. A leader on the other hand is seen as being charismatic and has the vision of the organisation. In general, the one who is in charge. The two cannot be separated as they more or less sound the same; a good manager should therefore be a good leader. Besides, there is a big difference between a manager and a ‘good’ manager who has earned the respect of the people.

Management can be defined as an act of getting people together to accomplish desired goals and objectives using available resources efficiently and effectively. Most dictionaries define management as “the act or art of managing: the conducting or supervising of something.”

If being a manager is an ‘art’, it therefore necessitates extra dimension skills and traits that promote certain people to a status of ‘good’ manager. There are certain areas that are normally neglected when discussing issues about “good’ management. These areas are: Individual leadership philosophy and socially intelligent leadership skills which can pass to be more fundamental in forming effective leaders. These two issues summarize the self examination as a leader and how to relate with others effectively.

Identifying Individual leadership philosophy

In today’s world, leadership in not only about the skills we have but how well we know who we are, our capabilities, strength and weaknesses. To succeed as a leader therefore calls for self awareness in terms of core values and the philosophy of leadership. This goes further to knowing one’s future plans and how well one can improve with time in terms of skills, values and leadership strategies. In broader terms individual leadership philosophy should be able to address professional personal growth, qualities and strategies and reinforcing them to one’s own core values. Core values define an individual group or organization by what they personally or collectively believe in (David, William, 2007).

Some of these core values can be listed as integrity, respect, patience, courage among others that each effective leader/ manager should be able to list and effectively implement them on a day to day basis. The Individual leadership philosophy should be a process that can be improved often. To be an effective leader therefore is a continuous process, as Vince Lombardi stated, “Leaders aren’t born they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work. And that’s the price we’ll have to pay to achieve that goal or any goal”.

Socially Intelligent Leadership Skills

The ability to lead through forming and maintaining relationship is important to any effective leader. There are several factors that need to be put in to consideration when developing the socially intelligent skills. These factors may include but not limited to:

Organisation Awareness: The initial starting point should be appreaciating the already existing culture and values of the group or organisation, most importantly understanding the social networks and their out spoken norms. That is, understanding the clientele, policies, procedures, capabilities, capacity and organizational result. For new manager or leaders this is more vital is it helping to know where to begin from.

Ability to be influential: Influential leaders are always interested in achieving their goals as effectively and efficiently as possible. At the end of the day, they are good thinkers and analysts. An influential leader should be in a position to persuade others by engaging them in discussion and appealing to their self – interests.

Inspirational Traits: Good leadership is not only about good results organizationally, it entails more of how well you inspire others either by articulating a compelling vision, building group pride and fostering a positive emotional tone throughout even when things are though. An inspirational leadership style that is successful is one that brings out the best in people.


Team Player: A socially intelligent leader should be able to work with others as a team. All team members should be given a chance to give their views; as a leader all team members should therefore be encouraged to cooperate.

Attuned Leadership Skills: They are various factors that can impact the individual and the organizational values, for example shift in economy and political dimensions. In such cases applicability of attunement aptitude are necessary to the leadership role as a way to try to fit between the individual intention and those of the organization. In simple terms there should be an alignment between individual values; beliefs and assumption to those of the organization. In terms of relating with others attunement can be applied by being an attentive listener and thinking about how other feel.

There is no magic formula for becoming a “good” manager and the points mentioned above are certainly not a comprehensive list. Some of it is instinct, but it mostly stems from the gut-level understanding that the most important thing in an organization is its people. As a leader, believe in yourself; work with others, treat people with respect and dignity and you will get that back in big quantity.

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