What Qualities Constitute Good Leaders
What Qualities Constitute Good Leaders
  • Han Kyu Jung
  • 승인 2013.05.01 00:04
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The word "Leadership" is one of the most favorite words today and is used almost excessively. Despite the prevalence, many people get mixed up between two types of leaders: one who is in charge of an organization and one who is the first or a pioneer in a field. An example of the former case would be the President of POSTECH or the editor-in-chief of The Postech Times, and examples of the latter would be the Nobel laureates whom are both pioneers and authorities in their respective fields of studies.
Expanding on the former idea, there are many organizations in a university, ranging from the student government to clubs, enriching the college life of the students. Even in small-sized universities like POSTECH, there are about 50 organizations open to any Postechians. However, the small student pool cannot provide the desirable diversity for leader positions, meaning that sometimes certain individuals can hold more than one position. This is unwelcomed in the POSTECH community for diversity of reasons, but it can also be regarded as the perfect opportunity for students to practice and experience leadership firsthand.
Although there are countless sources to learn about leadership skills and qualities, I would like to give a few suggestions accumulated from my own experience of serving several leadership positions. To list a few, I was the captain of the band with the size of about 200 students for 3 years in high school, editor-in-chief of The Postech Times and the undergraduate president of the department of chemical engineering in 2012. In my opinion, one must have three qualities in order to be a good leader. One must be embracing of people around him, be able to constantly inspire peers, and have experience.
It takes courage and bravery to embrace and heed to their co-workers. It’s something that everyone knows as important, but extremely difficult to practice. Leaders are not perfect, they slip up, too, and they must not be afraid to admit and correct themselves when pointed out. Sometimes the initial reaction to objections can be unpleasant and rather aggravating at times. Set aside pride and take a step back to think again. Likewise, co-workers are humans, and they also make mistakes. What they need is a word of encouragement, not scolding. It’s all about building an entrusting relationship.
Keeping oneself motivated is difficult, but only a few can constantly inspire others. One of my mentors who inspired me the most was Mr. Walsh, a band director of my old high school. I was only a mediocre clarinet player in 10th grade, until he suggested I try out for the All-State band, in which students from all over the state of Georgia audition to perform in an honor band on a 3-day music camp. I never thought I would make it, but Mr. Walsh kept me motivated for 3 months every time I tried to quit. He’d say, “If you try out, you have some chance of making it, but if you quit now, you don’t even have a chance at all.” This word of wisdom has always stuck with me and helped me through situations where I doubted myself. I ended up making the 4th chair in all Georgia, and got accepted to a 6-week Governor’s Honors Program with full scholarship provided by the state of Georgia. You’ll be surprised how far a word of encouragement can take one.
Finally, having experience in being a leader is important. Other qualities of good leadership can be learned through books and lectures, but merely knowing them and actually applying them in actions are two different things. It’s not something that can be studied; it is a set of quality that builds up through numerous trials and errors. But of course, everyone has to start as a newbie leader at some point.
In closing remarks, I want to make it clear that I have no intention to boast myself; I just want to share my opinion on the leadership qualities that I think are most important as guidance. Indeed, good leaders are good followers as well. However, they must undergo a transition period of trial and error, and establish their own leadership standards to become good leaders. I strongly encourage Postechians to take advantage of the POSTECH’s small student body, and step up to be a leader of the organizations of which they belong.