Finding Leaders: How to Identify Leadership Qualification

Researchers have defined leadership as the leaders’ positive influence on the followers to work towards their mutual goals.  Leadership reflects the social behavior and the skill in handling reciprocal relationship between leaders and followers.  Certain personal traits can be identified as favorable dispositions and strengths which may be helpful for a leadership role.  On the other hand, there is no scientific evidence for genetic makeup of the leadership trait, thus leaders are not solely born.

There may be ambiguity in identifications of leaders without definite specifications of leaders’ qualities.  In general, “charismatic and extroverted individuals at the top of an organizational hierarchy are classified as leaders” (Rosch & Kusel, 2010, p. 29).  As Rosch and Kusel (2010) further explained, leadership can be demonstrated “through a variety of skills including, but not limited to, understanding one’s values, strengths, and weaknesses; possessing broad interpersonal competence and communication skills; and/or having the capacity for effectiveness in organizational, project, and task management” (p. 30).

On the basis of studies by Nazari and Emami(2012), there are nine key qualities people seek in a successful leader: Passion, Decisiveness, Conviction, Integrity, Adaptability, Emotional Toughness, Emotional Resonance, Self-Knowledge, and Humility.  Among those key qualities, passion and integrity are the most important identities for a leader because according to Henrikson (2006) “leadership is an affair of the heart” (p. 514) and “the best kept secret of successful leaders is love” (p. 514).  A person must being in love with leading before he or she can be a leader.  True leaders are passionate to the work, the team, the organization and the common goals among the leaders and followers.  Followers admire leaders who are positive and enthusiastic; followers trust leaders with integrity.  In today’s innovative and dynamic business environment, leaders must create a favorite culture to motivate and inspire followers.  Leaders must demonstrate enthusiasm and energy, and be able to energize followers as well (Carpenter, Fusfeld, & Gritzo, 2010).  Therefore, leaders can be easily identified when they are “electric, vigorous, active, full of life and sincere” (Henrikson, 2006, p. 514).

Obviously, these identifications of leaders are dispositions and skills that one can adapt and learn.  If a person is not born as a leader, this person can make himself or herself a leader by learning and practicing leadership.  For example, when people consistently build emotional intelligence, enhance self-knowledge, and improve communication skills, they have better chance to obtain leadership positions and can become successful leaders.


Henrikson, M. (2006). On leadership. Great leaders are made, not born: Conclusion of a four-part series. AWHONN Lifelines, 10(6), 510-515.

Rosch, D. M., & Kusel, M. L. (2010). What do we mean when we talk about “leadership?”. About Campus, 15(5), 29-32.

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