Basic Traits of Leadership

Several books have been written on the subject. On the Internet too, we will find a lot of information on the subject. There are various training courses too to develop leaders and the leadership traits therein.

What this article aims is to explore the basic human characteristics behind all these traits that we target to develop today in order to be a leader or be successful.

From time immemorial, wherein our country was ruled by Kings, there was the topmost leader: the King and several leaders reporting to him : The MahaMantri, Senapati, Various subedar’s etc etc. All of these and even people below them were discharging the role of a leader. There was no formal education on the specific subject at that point of time; however, systems did run smoothly. Rather if we compare from today it seems quite surprising how they managed the affairs with almost nil communication methods in place.

So from time immemorial, we have been discharging the same role efficiently. Even today, we will find many leaders who are not MBA’s and have not gone through these training modules, but still have proven to be very effective leaders, be it in corporate or individual business.

At the same time, we find that these post graduation studies and these training modules have in fact given rise to very good leaders as well, and many leaders have found improvement in their performance.

This only highlights that there are few basic human traits that we find already developed in few individuals, who do not need a formal education or training, and for others who are lacking in one or other aspect, this education helps them overcome the shortcomings.

The Question that we would like to raise is whether the timings for our formal education on this subject are correct. Or whether the system followed by earlier Gurukuls was better wherein the principles of life were subdued from childhood itself. As we see in the article in detail below the leadership or management traits that we today teach mostly derive from the basic lessons of life. In fact these management or leadership lessons find equal importance in our personal life, and thus these trainings not only improve our professional but as well as personal life.

The Basic principles of life need to be taught in childhood itself.

Why do we wait for the Child to become a graduate? Perhaps there is some sort of moral education that is taught in few boards, but the same is limited to primary school and does not form part of High School. More than only being a theoretical education, it needs to encompass practical aspects as well.

Before dwelling further, let us look at the few basic traits needed for being a effective leader:


If we look into the above traits, most of these originate from the basic traits of having empathy towards others, having a big brotherly attitude, having a disciplinary approach, being humble from the heart and having a low ego.

Yes, few things like managing time and prioritizing things could be little additional learning.

The problem lies in the fact that during school education, during graduation and during initial years of job none of these aspects is taught. Rather the focus during all these years is towards developing a competitive spirit and in the process, learn techniques to employ all possible techniques to ensure own success.

Family and Society Culture only help imbibe the basic value of empathy, low ego, a big brotherly attitude etc.

What is needed is a formal system of education backed up by practical exposure which helps imbibe the basic morals of life into our children right from the beginning.

Definitely, we are going to create not only good leaders, rather we are going to create enlightened, active and responsible citizens that help the country run a long run.

However the organizations definitely do not have a control on the education system.

However, it would make good sense for the organizations to mould the employees the moment they enter the organization. For example the organization may find it fit to imbibe the culture of Empathy and Team Culture in all the new joinees and keep web / face to face training on the same at regular intervals. This will result in many of the leadership traits getting imbibed in the employees as a part of their own culture.

Tools like this which focus on developing the basic traits and repeating them at regular intervals would definitely prove to be a much more effective tool. Since it is related to basic human traits the culture gets imbibed from inside and is everlasting. Anyway, it is not possible for the organization to give costly leadership training to all employees. However they can definitely imbibe these values through a focus on building up the culture for example, of Empathy and Team Building throughout the organization.

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