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Creating tomorrow's leaders

Qualities such as imagination, a sense of fun and a self-deprecating sense of humour are more likely to be an advantage than a drawback for leaders in today's world.

Pick up a paper, turn on a radio or switch on a TV and you're likely to find coverage of a business, political, sporting, community or religious leader. Many of us are fascinated by leaders and hope to be one in the future, but there's not a lot of understanding of what important leadership qualities are. Most people assume that a combination of ruthlessness and ambition is the way to attain a leadership position. But many great leaders rise to prominence because of positive character traits.

Humility

Mahatma Gandhi played a crucial role in India gaining independence from the British. Yet he lived, dressed and spoke very humbly, concentrating on elevating those around him rather than himself. Leaders with humility realise their followers are as important as they are and can inspire them to extraordinary acts, such as maintaining a non-violent struggle even when threatened with the might of the British Empire.

Creativity

The likes of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg didn't achieve what they did due to something they learnt at business school. In fact, all of them were university dropouts. They became world-changing leaders in the field of technology because they could think outside of the box, see a future hidden to everyone else and guide people in new directions.

A sense of humour

Many leaders, such as Sir Richard Branson and Barack Obama, are known for having a well-developed sense of humour, both about themselves and the world in general. While it should only be indulged at the appropriate time, humour is a magic bullet that can defuse tension, relieve boredom and build a sense of team spirit.

Some people shy away from pursuing a leadership position because of a fear that they will have to suppress their positive character traits and focus on their less attractive ones to reach the top. The good news is that qualities such as imagination, a sense of fun and a self-deprecating sense of humour are more likely to be an advantage than a drawback for leaders in today's world.

If you're looking to change things up and build a new career in a leadership position, consider the range of TAFE NSW courses on offer.