We’ve all heard that good leaders aren’t born they’re made, yet despite having heard this since childhood many remain skeptical of its truth. It seems too egalitarian an idea that any man or women can become a great leader, but that doesn’t make it untrue. There is no reason to view one’s potential of becoming a leader with scepticism, every good leader only becomes one after cultivating leadership qualities, many acquired the traits of a leader relatively late in life.

So how can one cultivate qualities befitting a leader?

Show integrity and honesty in your dealings

A casual glance at newspaper headlines reveals names of business leaders and politicians who failed in their duties because they lacked integrity, yet this shouldn’t detract from the truth that the best leaders tend to be honest and have integrity. The best leaders are those who few outside their industry have heard of. They rarely make the news and when they do it’s for the right reasons. A leader who displays honesty and integrity can demand the same from those he or she manages. Leaders at the helm of teams where every member is held accountable are more likely to lead such teams to success.

Develop confidence

There is no such thing as a good leader who lacked confidence. Every good leader has to have confidence that inspires others to follow him or her. A confident leader knows what to do next and can communicate his or her next move in a manner that compels others to act. Someone who wants to become an effective leader can instill in himself or herself confidence by excelling in challenging activities. For young men and women, one way to do so is by learning to excel In a popular sport, by learning to become a phenomenal public speaker, or by becoming an expert on a subject. Doing more than what one believed one could also instills confidence. It’s important to remember that while it’s important to be confident, overconfidence in a leader is a poor trait and unlikely to inspire others for long.

Develop a positive attitude

A leader’s job is to motivate others to act to achieve a common goal. A leader can only do so if he or she believes that a goal can be realized and for this a positive attitude is essential. A positive attitude is infectious and certain to inspire others. When a leader exudes positivity he or she can command the attention of others and thereby lead them toward the fulfillment of a common goal. When a leader finds himself in a challenging situation, yet remains composed and acts appropriately it sets an example for others and earns their respect. Learning to keep a positive attitude most of the time may be difficult, yet it is easier when one avoids harmful substances and develops one’s personality continuously by taking up new hobbies.

Be passionate and committed

One of the most important qualities of great leaders is that they are passionate about what they do. Steve Jobs was passionate about developing a computer that a grandmother could use with ease; this at a time when most computers befuddled even many technology aficionados. His passion changed the face of computing. Similarly, others who expect to be great leaders need to be passionate about their cause. They need to see that being a leader means more than just earning a higher monetary reward or completing a tedious task, rather leadership is a way to realize a vision that will have an impact on the world. Having such a vision demands passion and the capacity to step back and see a grander picture. Articulating this grand picture to others will spur them to act and realize it. Passion can inspire others to act to complete tasks which in a dull environment seem impossible. One of the best ways to develop passion in oneself is by travelling to other cultures and reading ideas of visionaries. Passion can also be imbibed by taking up a competitive sport where one can exert oneself daily. Having as many new experiences as possible even in middle-age also keeps one passionate and open to new ideas.

( Samira Gupta, Chief Image Consultant and Executive Coach)