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I believe there are three distinct qualities of a leader. One is the ability to take control of a situation, another is the ability to express themselves and last is the ability to grow from criticisms given to them.
Taking control of a situation does not mean being the boss. It means being able to take the lead without being insulting or aggressive. You accomplish this by recognizing what needs to be done and explaining it to everyone simply. After you have explained the situation, you listen to the feedback others give you and try to incorporate that into your action plan. Then you delegate fairly, keeping in mind you are still a part of the whole and you need to do your share. This allows people to respect you because they realize you are willing to work with them to accomplish the goal.
A leader can express themselves in a variety of ways. A strong leader uses a balance of humor, encouragement and forcefulness that allows people to feel your encouragement, understand they can be useful but also realize there is a structure they need to work within. A leader also needs to be able to laugh at themselves and be honest about their short falls. This allows other people to see you as human, not a bully or a dictator.
Being able to accept criticism is not easy. But being able to take that criticism and use it to your advantage to improve on something, is the mark of a true leader. Leaders are able to use the criticism as a jump off point for change. By turning the criticism back onto the critic, it allows a leader to hear alternate views or approaches and makes that critic (usually someone who is jealous or weak) view the situation differently.
Strong leadership qualities are something you develop over time and by example. Some of the greatest leaders in history were the most criticized people of their time. But by being able to lead positively, speak clearly and use criticism constructively they earned the respect of the people.
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