• 09 Jun 2020
  • SBS-ED
  • 3Min

5 qualities of a good leader and how to become one

5 qualities of a good leader and how to become one


When COVID-19 first hit South Africa’s shores in March, President Cyril Ramaphosa stepped up and showed the world he had the leadership qualities required to keep the country and its citizens safe. Even in his most awkward moments (that mask…), he’s shown us the qualities that make a great leader.

Here are five to cultivate and hone in your own leadership journey:


The spirit of a true leader is not how well they perform during times of ease but rather how they roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty during times of difficulty. A leadership trait that comes with experience, resilient leaders are also resourceful and agile. President Ramaphosa showed us his resilient side by remaining positive and calm in the face of a deadly pandemic and rallied all South Africans to support the initial lockdown of the country.


You may have heard the proverb “to err is human, to forgive is divine”. Well, Uncle Cyril showed us just how true this could be when he ended off his televised address by awkwardly fumbling with his face mask and putting it on incorrectly. The next day, in another televised appearance, he made a joke about it – at his own expense. His relatable actions and the vulnerability he displayed just made the nation fall even more in love with him.


Understanding your employees is a key quality of any good leader. When the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) decided to extend the lockdown, the President delivered the news with a compassionate look on his face and thanked all South Africans for their efforts in the fight to stop the spread of the disease. This engagement at layman’s level endeared him to many people and stoked a connection between the president and his countrymen.


Despite popular belief, being influential doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing. The President’s first few speeches about the novel coronavirus focused on working together, keeping spirits up and appreciating the part every citizen could play in stopping the spread of the disease. This type of influence can be likened to inspiration when it is done in an authentic and transparent way.


These two traits go hand-in-hand. The greatest leaders don’t demand respect; instead, it’s earned through treating everyone with consideration and courtesy as well as standing up for your team.

These are just five of many leadership skills that great leaders embody. Learn these and more with our Senior Management Development Programme (SMDP), which helps prepare senior managers who want to develop a strategic leadership mindset and acquire the ability to sense and respond to new business models.

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