People think that a leader is a person who can communicate and is a good debater. He is able to point

out faults in people and systems. But this is only a show of leadership. We can say this is artificial

leadership. To understand real leadership we have to go deeper into the question of who is a leader and

examine every aspect of personality.

Who is a leader?

A leader isn’t about leading others. It’s about finding your path and be willing to walk that path no

matter what comes before you, even if no one follows you

A real leader is a responsible person. He is a person

with a clean heart who does not possess any biases

towards other rather he/she accepts every person as

everyone has a right to exist.

In my view a leader possesses the following traits:

  1. Remains Authentic

They speak what they believe is true. their actions show what they believe and speak. A leader

never lies. If there is a discrepancy between their words and actions they admit it that they have

still not reached this level of practice. Thus they do not hide anything or give in to the

transactional system of exchange. For example they remain true to what they believe and does

not show approval for something merely to have some gains whether material or status.

Example, 1 out of 4 children may decide to speak their mind regardless of any fear of

disapproval from parents. The other 3 may either succumb to fear of displeasure or indulge in

the greed of getting approval or love from parents.

Authenticity builds trust and people trust authentic leaders.

  1. Equality for all

They believe in respect and equality for all. Their doors are open for anyone to walk in and talk

to them. They show respect to all, even to the one that disrespect them. They do not have

biases against other people regarding race, culture, financial class, age or beauty. They do not

believe in any class system or VIP culture. They believe themselves to be a common person and

not superior to anyone. This is seen with how they treat poor people. Some people make a show

of charity filming their charities and publicizing their acts of help. This is a facade and needs to

be seen as such.

  1. Internally driven

His drives and motivations are internal not external. He does not see trends and makes decisions

according to what others are doing. He is instinctive and knows himself well enough to decide

for himself what he really wants.

He says, “I want this”. Others may copy him and say, “Me too!”

  1. Empathetic

An empathetic leader thinks and understands all team players. He is a good listener and

understands situations and helps accordingly. He maintains respect and privacy.

He is able to think from all angles that is involved in a situation. For example, if it is a wedding he

thinks of his family, the side of the bride as well as the guests involved.

  1. Emotionally intelligent

A leader is not only able to regulate their own emotions but also connect with people on a

higher level. They may have a good sense of humour. They will not get angry and even if they do

it will be brief. They will connect with people on an authentically emotional level and not merely

play with the feelings of people or dope them. They will be able to connect with children and

this is the real test of emotional intelligence.

  1. Initiator and Completes the cycle

Many people initiate conversations. They initiate projects or have ideas and execute them. But

many leave projects unfinished. Many such projects remain so at our homes and lives.

A leader has a habit of completing things they start.

  1. Effective Communicator

And yes a leader is an effective communicator as popularly believed. He who is able to speak

clearly is able to get through to people with their visions and ideas and motivate them to

achieve the extraordinary. In Surah Rehman Allah talks about the gift of speech given to

humans. Effective communication is a sign of effective thought. The main test here is the

differentiation of speech between the higher mind that talks about ideas and small minds that

talk about events and other people.

  1. Never chooses himself

A leader is always looking outwards to others to deligate tasks. He doesnot favour or need a title

to show that he is a leader. He starts to deligate to the rightful people to let them play a part in

the coming of an event. If no one is available he does not mind doing everything himself. In a

situation where you need a leader he may refer other people. He never refers himself or herself.

  1. Never blames

A leader never blames others when things go wrong. He takes ownership and responsibility.

Blaming others signifies that you are still not in full responsibility mode. The moment people

blame others even if it is a subtle response, it shows a lack of responsibility. Hence a leader

takes full ownership of his actions and never blames others. He would talk about all the things

he intends to do rather than blame so and so for not having done this and this. Blaming others is

serious flaw in personality and must be noted. When Yusuf (AS) asked someone to mention him

to the king he never expressed any displeasure when the person forgot.

  1. Never Exaggerates

A person who over exaggerates is actually an egoistic person. He mentions himself again and

again in order to show others how great he is. A leader never mentions his good deeds or

actions to illicit praise from others. He does not brag about himself. He does and forgets. His

actions has Allah as his witness. He does not look for the approval from people.

Conclusively a leader is a person who is clear on who he is and what he wants. They are

internally motivated and walk the path they want to walk. They do not have all the answers but

their authenticity shows in the actions they take. They are emotionally regulated and respect all.

They play active, take action and restore peace. They are an embodiment of love. An authentic

self-directed individual who walks the path he talks is a leader.