Characteristics of a Leader

leaderReading John C. Maxwell’s book “Good Leaders Ask Great Questions”, I learned so many things from the book. This time I take some points from the book to be written here. To develop a company into an even bigger business, it needs support from many leaders. The question is how to recognize leadership character in an individual because leadership is mostly not a talent but it must be honed. The book Good Leaders Ask Great Questions describes the characteristics of a leader. It says that you will develop a good leader only if you find someone who has leadership potential. Can leadership potential in a person be recognized? The answer is yes. There are seven characteristics showing that a person can be a good leader.

1. A leader is a catalyst
A leader can make things happen, but not everyone who can make things happen is a leader. At each small meeting attended by several people at Andal Software, as we are discussing an issue, I sometimes throw out an idea. Since there are some people in the meeting, the idea will normally develop. And the person who can make the idea come true, is a potential leader, although not everyone who can make something happen is a leader.

2. A leader can influence others
Influencing others is different from giving an order. If managers are followed by their subordinates because they are the boss, the compliance is not because of influence but because of position. Giving influence is when others follow you without any compulsion.
According to the book Great Leader Ask Good Questions, influence comes from:
Characters: Who they are
Relationships: Who they know
Knowledge: What they know
Communication: How they relate
Passion: What they feel
Experience: Where they’ve been
Past success: What they’ve done
Ability: What they can do
The above factors together with their respective quantity make someone a leader. Although everyone has different mixed levels, the results are the same, that is, people will follow them.

3. A Leader is a friendship builder
People who are smart but do not have good people skills will not be good leaders. However, they can still be good managers because managers can use the power of their position to command people.
To build a thriving and sustainable business does not require many managers but many leaders. At Andal Software, I am very concerned with developing leaders instead of managers. Good leaders can help their subordinates to grow and develop, while managers tend to be feared by their subordinates so that the subordinates will not grow.

4. A Leader is a unifier
People who have the potential to become leaders are loved by many and people around them will get interesting things. This powerful character will attract many people. In contrast, people who like to divide or spread hatred certainly will not make good leaders. If people who like to divide and spread hatred lead, the organization will gradually break down, because within the organization there will be many seeds of hatred and division.
I oftentimes see companies that employ people by keeping their academic document, and if they resign, they have to pay a certain amount of money. I think the company will have a bad climate because working must be based on trust, that the people I hire can be trusted. If I do not trust the people working at my place, it is better to lay those people off.

Or if someone feels no longer comfortable to work in a company but then they are asked to stay, the performance of the person will surely go down, and consequently, the company’s performance will be declining and it will cause a high cost. Finally, the company cannot compete and it will collapse.

5. A Leader can add value to others
Good leaders must be able to develop their subordinates to perform better. The people who really want to grow will fit in a corporate environment that has good leadership because they will learn a lot.

6. A Leader can see opportunities
Good leaders can see opportunities, so they are often called visionary because they can see something that cannot be seen by others. A leader always paves the way, dares to take risks of doing things that cannot be seen, wants to do new things to improve the company’s performance. A leader sees opportunities and is willing to take part in realizing them instead of just giving orders, so they know exactly what the challenges are.

7. A leader finishes what has been started
A leader must have a high commitment to complete the work that has been started. Whatever the challenge, they will face it and finish their work.

The Lessons I get
To develop a large company, leaders must be developed, and developing leaders takes time and patience. To achieve a high success in developing leaders, the criteria for selecting good leaders needs to be developed, and the seven characteristics above can be used as the starting point to start developing leaders.
Although we know the seven characteristics above, sometimes we cannot see those in the beginning because the seven characteristics above need to be developed or explored from within a person. An experienced leader is able to see the hidden potential of a person.

Aris Boediharjo
President Director
PT. Fortune Indonesia Tbk.