The first qualities to look for in a leader are vision and clarity. A leader must have a goal in mind. They have to know what they need or want to accomplish. A leader that’s not providing clarity isn’t leading. More likely, they’re in charge of people who are wandering.
Secondly, a leader should realize that the team they lead is more important than they are. A leader helps the team work collectively. A leader seeks to serve. A leader doesn’t seek to be followed. They don’t say, “Follow me.” They say, “Let’s go!”
There’s a tradition in the Navy where the senior officer is the last on the boat and the first off. The reason for this is that the leader is protecting his or her team from anything that might be coming at them. The leader is putting the team first because they’re making sure that the team is okay when they get on the boat and making sure that they’re ready when they get off the boat.
A leader is someone for whom the team is paramount. They realize that the mission cannot be accomplished by charging ahead themselves. The mission can only be accomplished when they are ready to prepare their team for what’s next.