We often confuse the concepts of boss and leader but the two do not always coincide. A boss is someone who sets targets, defines strategies or establishes which tasks each person must carry out within the team. A leader, however, goes further, being a person who has the capacity to take decisions, manage, motivate and encourage his/her team to achieve a goal.

In the business world, leaders play a key role in guiding firms towards given objectives. Undoubtedly, there are certain qualities that every leader should have.

Here are the ten characteristics that define a good leader:

  1. Authenticity. Pretending to be what you’re not doesn’t inspire confidence in others. Don’t hide your own personality; act the way you are. This is the only way that you’ll win the respect of others.
  2. Tolerance. Nobody is perfect; we all make mistakes. What is important is that the leader knows how to react and is capable of resolving the problem.
  3. Communication. This means being clear and concise when putting across messages and explaining tasks. Yet the information flow must be two-way. A good leader always listens to the other members of the team.
  4. Organization. Once the goal has been defined, a plan must be prepared to achieve it, taking into account the resources required, the action to be taken, those who will implement it, etc.
  5. Set an example. Leaders are often considered to be an example to be followed. This means that they must behave in a responsible manner.
  6. Know how to motivate. It is vital that the leader knows how to motivate the other team members and transmit enthusiasm for the project. Remember that a motivated person is more productive.
  7. Be concerned about others. One of the key qualities of a good leader is empathy. If any team member has a personal or professional problem, a good leader will show concern and try to help him/her.
  8. Decision taking. What is important is not deciding what to do but rather implementing decisions. But remember to consult the other team members because this will help motivate them.
  9. Delegate responsibility. Not everybody knows how to delegate responsibilities and tasks. Being aware of when and how to do this guarantees that a good leader will be successful.
  10. Encourage potential. Not all team members have the same aptitudes and skills but a leader must be able to recognise them and, most importantly, know how to use them to the benefit of the group and the project.
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