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Callista Low Li YinMr P Warren ENG4U26/1/2018What are the qualities of a good leader? What can you learn from the examples of great leaders of the past?The living legend of his time – Mahatma Gandhi  was not born a courageous, outspoken leader. In fact, in his autobiography, he says that, as a boy, he was so shy that he would run home from school because he could not bear to talk to anybody .This just goes to show that leaders are not born, but moulded through lifetime experiences and the inner willpower that ignites the spark within them in order to soar and achieve greater things. In order to achieve success, good leaders have to withhold certain qualities. One of them would be persevering in conviction. Good leaders would need to face hardships with bravery and charge forward into their battlefield in order to  rise up victorious. Good leaders strive for progression and not perfection, this would mean that they will be the sole motivator of their flocks and push forward to continuously improve day by day. They are also expected to show compassion and demonstrate integrity in the daily works. All these qualities signifies a strong leader who has a clear goal and a clear plan towards reigning triumphant.  A handful of leaders tend to start off strong in the beginning, with high expectations and high hopes for what’s to come, but once they have reached the epitome of glory and fortune, they lose a touch of themselves and they no longer remember their basic principles of duty in the midst of chasing fame, fortune and power. Firstly, to be a great leader means to be diligent in achieving goals. It was said that the Colonel’s famous secret chicken recipe was rejected over a 1,000 times before a restaurant accepted it. Colonel founded KFC when he was 65 years old. Colonel never gave up and his persistence in conviction made his finger lickin good fried chicken spread like an epidemic disease worldwide. Failure is one’s greatest teacher as it teaches leaders to get back up on the horse and continue the fight. Good leaders simply refuse to accept failure as a conclusion, they always hold on to the hope of a better outcome. With the proper mindset and drive, success is only within an arm’s length away. The legendary and the greatest basketball player of all time – Michael Jordan said that the only way he was able to succeed was by failing over and over again. He took those past mistakes and continuously put in more effort to train and push himself to the limit. His continuous efforts managed to gain him the title of the world’s best basketball player of all time which obviously is the reward due to blood, sweat and tears. Correspondingly, a great leader has to strive for progression instead of perfection. A great leader has to demonstrate the willpower to move ahead and not get hindered due to any setbacks that may come their way. They have to set goals that are realistic and not abstract. While there may be times that they hit a few speed bumps on the way, that should not stop the workflow but should be taken as motivation to work harder. In the midst of progress, we learn to keep moving forward and to learn from previous mistakes and correct them. Instead of being paralyzed by perfection,there needs to be this constant self evaluation to properly analyze the plans and steps that need to be taken. One of the most world renown entrepreneur, CEO and co founder of Apple inc – the late Steve Jobs was known to be an adamant perfectionist. Every detail had to be as perfect as possible and this created a chronic disease of overachieving which led to delays in the production of their products. Eventually as time passed on, he learnt to put aside perfection and focus on the bigger picture, he gave up the obsession and managed to expand his empire in technology world and reach higher heights in terms of productivity and innovation. Leaders who acquire this skill are able to reduce the unnecessary stress upon themselves and the team they are leading.Moreover, a great leader has to show compassion and empathy. Although there are many people who think leadership is all about power, privilege and rank , genuine  leadership is the willingness to place others’ needs above your own. It is not always about who’s in power and who has the authority and control but more so a little family looking out for each other. One author – Sinek describes empathy as he ability to recognize and share other people’s feelings which is the most important instrument in a leader’s toolbox, t can be expressed in the simple words, “Is everything OK?”. Sinek also went on by saying “These little considerations for others have a building effect. The daily practice of putting the well-being of others first has a compounding and reciprocal effect in relationships. “A sense of mutual understanding and caringness  must be established in order to avoid unnecessary conflicts and misunderstandings and to make sure everyone’s well being in on par and well taken care of . It is only when a leader understands that the followers will listen willingly. This is because leaders who demonstrate and practice empathy can see things from other people’s perspective and thoroughly evaluate the situation before making rash decisions or raising their voice. In sum, a great leader is the team captain, and a good team captain has to make sure everyone else isCitation

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