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What makes a true leader?

According to the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, a leader is a person who leads a group of people, especially the head of a country, an organisation, etc. Leadership is the state or position of being a leader.

The word leader means the ability to influence – the ability to inspire. A leader should be able to think and plan for the generation to come. A leader should be selfless, putting others’ interests first without neglecting his/her personal responsibilities. This requires a delicate balancing act.

A leader should be someone who is always early, leaves late and should eat last. A leader should be knowledgeable about current affairs and vital issues affecting the society. A leader will often be consulted on various issues and it will be an asset if one is knowledgeable of these issues.

As the old adage goes, no man is an island. Therefore, no one who wants to do everything on their own will make a great leader. A leader should be able to delegate work and build others’ skills. A leader should be someone who is able to identify the talent in someone and nurture it.

A leader should be someone with a vision and should be able to transfer the vision to the followers. Leadership is about your act, you cannot just think about it and become it. Your actions should inspire people.

Because of your knowledge people must feel you, people should miss you, when you are not there. Remember, the one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way. If serving is below you, leadership is beyond you.

True leaders empower others purposefully and intentionally. A leader is open to criticism. We should all remember that there is constructive criticism. Use criticism as a tool to improve your leadership.

Finally, a true leader never settles for less. One should not compromise his or her values to get anything.

* By Rudorwashe Mpofu, Treasurer, Unisa Tshwane  Regional Student Representative Council

Publish date: 2019/10/03