There are many thoughts as to what exactly constitutes leadership. Is it having a vision? Being able to manage people through any kinds of trials and tribulations? Having a charismatic presence? There are as many theories as there are different types of leaders, and it’s not always easy to determine what “authentic” leadership is.

Yet in any discussion of leadership, there are certain traits that are consistently mentioned as being integral to true leadership. Other traits may be present, but without these, a person’s standing as a true leader may be considered lacking or not quite up to par. These top three qualities can be defined as follows:

1. Insight. Authentic leaders are said to have insight, or vision, or however one would care to define this quality of being able to look at complex situations, analyze them and add clarity around them, and then determine the most appropriate course of action using the information available. This requires wisdom and discernment as well as a broad view of what’s needed going forward.

2. Initiative. A true leader doesn’t sit around waiting for things to happen around him, nor does he wait for others to handle things. A true leader will forge ahead and act with courage and distinction, unwilling to ask others to do that which he isn’t willing to do himself. This type of leader leads by example; he is the first to step foot onto the field of battle, and leaves no one behind. He doesn’t sit on the sidelines, ever. This type of character means that those he is leading know that they can trust him, and that he’s as good as his word, because he’s proven himself to be trustworthy.

3. Impact. Authentic leaders have an impact on those around them; they make a difference, and in some way change the world because of their leadership. They create change, not just in big ways but in small ways as well, on those that they’re leading. This impact is also felt in how they influence others to behave, and how others are drawn to them because of their vision and values. Authentic leaders gather a following as they move through life, and inspire others to act. It’s often said that a true leader is someone who people will follow wherever he goes, and this is a testament to that leader’s ability to have an impact on others.

Certainly, there are other qualities that are important, ranging from integrity to strong core values and so on. But without the three essential qualities listed above, truly authentic leadership cannot be attained, at least as far as long-term success is concerned.

Author's Bio: 

PMCAMPUS is an online leader in PMP Exam preparation. Since 2005, we have trained thousands of PMP exam candidates to pass their PMP exam on the first try. We are leaders in online training for PMI's -PMP certification, CAPM certification and PDU PMP recertification.