Skills and Traits / Qualities of Leader 

PSYCH-105 Industrial Psychology

Chapter 7: Leadership

Unit 1

Unit 2

Unit 3

Unit 4


Skills of Leadership

According to Robert Katz

A behavioural expert Robert Katz had identified that leaders broadly use three skills : 

1. Technical Skills

A person’s knowledge and ability to make effective use of any process or technique constitute his technical skills. Employees at operational and professional levels are required to have certain technical skills.

2. Human Skills

An individuals’ ability to cooperate with other members of the organisation and work effectively in terms is referred to as human skills. It also involve developing positive interpersonal relationships, solving people’s problems and gaining acceptance of other employees.

3. Conceptual Skills

The ability of an individual to analyze complex situations and to rationally process and interpret available information. It also encompasses an ability to foresee the future consequences of this present day actions from the organizational point of view.

According to Hellreigel

According to Hellreigel there are four kinds of leadership skills

1. Visionary Skills

People are willing to follow leaders because of their visionary skills. The followers become committed to the leader’s vision which involves values and goals and is in itself confidence giving.

2. Communication Skills

Following on from the above, successful leaders clearly have the skill to communicate this compelling vision that evokes enthusiasm and commitment.

3. Sensitivity Skills

Effective leaders are both powerful and sensitive to the needs of others and so they allow their followers to chare in developing goals and the satisfaction derived from reaching these goals.

4. Self awareness Skills

Effective leader welcome feedback on their performance and continually take an inventory of themselves.

Traits / Qualities of Leader

A person must possess the following qualities to be a good and effective leader.

1. Knowledge, Intelligence and Scholarship

A leader must be able to examine every problem in the right perspective or direction. The leader must have superior judgment and abilities to take right decision in right situation. The leader must have complete knowledge about the work performed by his group members. He should take decision on the basis of facts, figures and logic. He must have a matured mind.

2. Integrity and Honesty

A leader must possess high level of integrity and honesty. He must follow ethics and values then only he can expect his subordinates to be ethical and honest.

3. Self Confidence and Sense of Responsibility

A confident leader only can create confidence in his subordinates. He must be confident that he will be able to tackle every situation successfully. The leader must have the sense of responsibility for achievement of goal or target of his group member. He must know clearly and readily accept the accountability for any mistake done by the subordinates as subordinates work under his guidance and direction. The leader must share or pass on the credit of success to his subordinates.

4. Initiative

A leader must take initiative to grab the opportunities. He must have courage and initiative to take bold decisions. He must take risk for the advantage of organization.

5. Motivation Skill

A good leader must set an example for others and inspire the people. He must be able to answer all the questions of subordinates regarding “why”. The leader must be able to convince the employees that their willingness to do work will bring best result in their performance. The leader should not force the subordinates but develop voluntary contribution from the subordinate side. 

6. Communication Skill

A leader is the source of information for all the members of his group. Generally all the instructions and information from the superiors are passed to subordinates by the leaders only. So they must have good communication skill so that information reaches each and every member. On the other hand, leaders pass all the problems and grievances of the subordinates to the top level and to inform the problems rightly the leader must have communication skill. 

7. Decisiveness:

A leader must take firm decisions. He should not get confused. Once he is convinced about the facts and figures, he should take decision. He must be decisive while managing various activities and people.

8. Social Skill

A leader must be friendly with his subordinates. He must provide supportive environment to subordinates so that they do not hesitate to discuss their problems. He must understand people and try to maintain good relations with them. Although it is not possible for an individual to possess all the qualities but at least through training manager can make an effort to acquire as many as possible.

9. Physical Qualities

Good physical features attract people. Physical features like height, weight, health and looks of person attract an individual. Healthy and smart leader himself can also work hard and he can induce his subordinates also to work hard.

10. Maturity

A leader should possess a high level of emotional stability and cool temperament. He needs a high degree of tolerance. He must have an open mind to absorb new ideas as and when necessary. He also requires social maturity and breadth.

11. Empathy

The ability of leader to look at things from others’ point of view is known as empathy. To be a good leader, the manager must understand the needs and aspirations of his subordinates. The effect of his own behaviour on followers can also be anticipated by the leader with empathy.

12. Vision and Foresight

A leader should be able to visualize event well in advance. He should have a high degree of imagination and determination.

13. Human Relation Attitude

A good leader should develop friendly relations with his followers. He should maintain personal contact and should be able to recognize the problems and feelings of his followers. 

14. Emotional Balance

A leader must hold his emotions well in control in critical situations. He should neither be crushed by defeat nor over elated by victory, should have high frustration tolerance, and should be free from bias, logical in actions and refrain from any demonstration of emotions.

Author – Dr. Niyati Garg

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