A leader is a person who influences thoughts, behaviours, and attitudes. Leaders are able to set directions for their followers by enabling them to see what lies ahead and help in visualizing what to achieve (Watt, 2013, p. 36). It is important to understand the elements or factors that make a good leader as this would enable one to become an effective leader. Effective leadership is one that involves learning specific skills and methods to inspire people and influence their thoughts and behaviours.
There are various elements or factors that make a good leader, including the ability to inspire, provide direction, managing people and networks, confidence, decisiveness, intuition, empathy, among other elements. By understanding the elements or factors that make a good leader, a person can be able to take a leadership position by developing a vision, having a commitment to the mission, and taking responsibility for the accomplishment of the mission. A leader can therefore gather the confidence, will, and determination needed to express a vision clearly in a compelling manner in order to inspire other people. Understanding the elements of good leadership would also enable a leader to the vision and the people they lead. It is important to understand that a leader cannot be committed to a vision one day and become disinterested the next day. Understanding the elements of good leadership would therefore enable a leader to remain committed to a vision (Watt, 2013, p. 39).
A good leader assumes responsibility in accomplishing a mission or vision, and understanding the elements of good leadership would enable a leader to assume a considerable amount of leadership. According to Eccles, Nohria, & Berkley (2003) communication is the real work of leadership (p. 67). Understanding the elements of leadership would therefore enable a leader to communicate effectively by distilling their messages however complex they are. Leaders should therefore be masterful listeners in order to be excellent communicators. Understanding leadership elements would also enable leaders to make appropriate decisions when faced with challenges.
Effective leadership comprises of leaders who are aware, empathetic and capable of analysing and executing ideas and decisions. Effective leaders are honest, and this makes them credible, winning the trust of the people that they lead. Credibility makes the leadership foster greater pride among the people being led and instils a spirit of cooperation and teamwork. Good communication and listening skills is also a component of good leadership. A leader should be able to convey messages and be willing to listen to the concerns of the people they lead.
Effective leaders should also be able to communicate hard to take messages without necessarily causing panic and anxiety among the people they lead. Effective leaders are also passionate learners. A leader should be able to learn, practice and improve while considering intention self-consciousness that is proactive. Consequently, effective leaders are able to lead the learning of others, and so they ought to be learners themselves. Jack Welch said that he spent about 40% of his time developing leaders by leading the learning ability (Brookes & Johnson, 2010, p. 6). Leaders should therefore be able to learn and lead the learning of others. Another element of effective leadership is the ability to set a clear strategic direction which is the core role of leadership. Good leaders should be able to set, interpret and shape strategy appropriately.
In conclusion, an effective leader is one who is able to set and interpret goals and strategies, execute them, and provide direction for their followers. Understanding the elements of leadership is necessary in ensuring that leaders are able to accomplish their roles as leaders.