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Qualities of a Leader

According to Alannah E. Rafferty and Mark A. Griffin in an article published by the Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology (2006), a leader can and probably should possess a number of characteristics. Some of the common and possibly essential leadership skills needed to create and maintain a new strategic direction for any organization include the following:

. A clear vision of the future

. The ability to share that vision with others

. A willingness to empower subordinates and delegate tasks to others

. The capability to think strategically

. Focus, decisiveness, and perseverance

. The ability to motivate and to lead a team by example

. A willingness to admit one's own mistakes combined with a willingness to allow others to learn from their mistakes

. Being open minded, as well as risk tolerant combined with the ability to make important and difficult decisions with limited information

. The flexibility necessary to adapt to many different situations in different organizations (Rafferty & Griffin).

During a time of change in which the organization is working to create a new strategic direction, a leader is faced with both new and existing challenges. In this scenario, an experienced leader is likely to understand that change is inherently stressful. The leader is likely to compliment subordinates in public and criticize them privately. To support the change initiative and move the organization in a new strategic direction, leaders will often do the following:

. Empower subordinates by delegating authority while also holding individual employees accountable both for their actions and for their inactions

. Establish realistic goals for each person or group on his implementation team. A leader will communicate the established goals and his or her personal expectations clearly and effectively


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