Collin Lam, regional director, human resources and administration at FANCL shares his ideas on the traits of a true leader.

“What kind of leaders will people follow in today’s business jungle?”

I have come across this question on so many occasions when people ask about the qualities of a true leader. When I look for true leadership traits in someone in whom I can learn from, I always have the following few things in mind:

True leaders inspire others with passion

A true leader is one who truly believes in what they are doing, why things have to be done in a certain way, and is able to inspire others with passion, knowledge, skill sets, and most importantly, determination to achieve that goal as a team. At times, leaders will challenge their own team with higher standards, new directions or even a stretched goal beyond their comfort zone, but if there is enough support or rewards it will help ensure sustainable success in the long run.

True leaders will make that judgment call when needed

When times get hard, being a leader means one must be able to go against the tides, see through the whole situation and essentially decide what needs to be done to save the day.

While it is true that leaders should be able to collectively gather intelligence in advance of a crisis, when the time actually comes, a true leader must also have the will and ability to press that “red button” and tell the team what and how to react. It appears often when you watch a superhero movie, but in reality the guts to make that judgment call truly differentiates a typical manager from a true leader.

True leaders communicate with consistency and honesty

Everyone can lie or put on a show to try and fool the team or even the world, but a true leader will treat people with respect, foster trust and communicate with the team with consistency and truthfulness. By speaking with candour and doing what you preach, you as a true leader will gain the trust and loyalty from those who look up to you. In return they will support you when the time comes.

True leaders prove themselves with real achievements

Last, but not least, I believe in learning from those who have achieved great success. They may not have all the “leadership qualities” stated in the textbooks, but if they achieve what others cannot, you can learn from them by understanding their journeys and the tides they overcame rather than just read books or articles written by someone who hasn’t really done anything they said.

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