Summarized from "Seven Habits of Effective People" by Stephen R. Covey
Leadership is a choice—something that everybody can learn. Rarely is one born with the ability to lead. We often think that some people are born to lead, but in reality, all that leaders have in common is the initiative and desire. Initiative and desire to make things better are the head start to learn the art or process of influencing others to strive and achieve their goals. There are several skills that a good leader has.
First, a good leader is able to inspire his followers to take actions. A true leader can see what is unique in each person and can make his followers realize their own talents. A true leader empowers his people by giving them the opportunities to develop their potentials. He never gives put-downs. He helps people to unleash their potentials and tap into the energy and talents that they did not know they had. A good leader knows that people will not struggle for something that they do not believe in. Therefore, he creates a vision that is possible to achieve.
The second skill is the ability to communicate with his followers. A leader makes himself understood. A leader creates a two-way interchange of ideas and communicates strategies to fulfill his vision. There is always time to talk, find solutions, and implement changes. Every follower is important. A good leader treats all individuals as helpers, not as underlings. He keeps his followers informed about their progress.
The third skill a leader must possess is the ability to create a conducive atmosphere. A good leader radiates optimism so that his followers look forward to the future with great expectations. A good leader guides his followers by force of vision and inspiration. He is ready to assist them when necessary. He creates environments in which they feel safe to speak up their minds and to take risks. He shows his appreciation whenever his followers do their jobs well. He makes his people feel supported and motivated. Consequently, they will get things done willingly.
In conclusion, everybody can be a leader as long as he has the desire to see people’s hidden potentials, communicate well, and support his followers. A mother who can make her children want to do homework and house chores is a good leader, and so is a boatman who can encourage a passerby to learn to swim.