Leadership is much more than delegating tasks or making final decisions. As the late Steve Jobs said, “Leadership is about inspiring people to do things they never thought they could.” It takes a particular type of person to be a leader. The best leaders embody these four pillars or qualities.
Integrity is the cornerstone of effective leadership. This speaks to the character of the leader. Leaders with integrity are guided by moral compass. They avoid unethical behavior such as abusing authority, hoarding their privileges, acting deceitfully and not being accountable for their actions. If a leader does not act with integrity, most people would not consider them a leader at all.
A good leader has the drive and desire to keep learning. They know learning is a life-long process. Whether reading books, listening to podcasts, watching TED Talks or attending conferences, leaders should always strive to be better leaders and find new solutions to problems.
Humans have the desire to belong to a group. A leader should raise people up and encourage them to be the best version of themselves. Author John C. Maxwell said, “Leaders become great, not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others.” Leadership then should not be measured in the leader’s advancement but rather by the advancement of those they lead.
Great leaders genuinely care about those around them. When we talk about caring, it’s not being nice but being kind. Being nice involves good manners and how you act on the outside. Kindness comes from the inside and is manifested through genuine respect and compassion toward others. Additionally, kindness will live on even when the leader has passed. Leaders like Gandhi or Martin Luther King, Jr. are remembered for their kindness and the messages they spread. As the saying goes, people might not remember what they said, but they will remember how you made them feel.