Leadership | Character Strength | VIA Institute

Become Aware Of Your Strength

Understand what leadership is all about so you can begin recognizing it in yourself and others.
What is Leadership?

Leadership can take on many forms. As a character strength, leadership refers to the tendency to organize and encourage a group to get things done, while maintaining good relations within the group. Like teamwork, leadership involves being committed to the goals of the group, but how that commitment manifests itself is very different. Leadership involves setting goals and accomplishing them, enlisting effective help, building coalitions, and smoothing ruffled feathers. Effective leaders are able to provide a positive vision or message that inspires dedicated followers who feel empowered and perhaps even inspired. Leadership is a social phenomenon that can be distinguished into two areas:

  • Practice- defining, establishing, identifying or translating direction
  • Personal quality- the motivation and capacity to seek out, attain and carry out leader roles There are two types of leaders:
  • Transactional leaders- this type of leader clarifies responsibilities, expectations, and the tasks to be accomplished
  • Transformational leaders- this leader motivates their followers to perform at an extremely high level, fostering a climate of trust and commitment to the organization and its goals
Which virtue is this strength?
Leadership is a strength within the virtue category of justice, one of six virtues that subcategorize the 24 strengths. Justice describes strengths that help you connect in community or group-based situations. The other strengths in Justice are fairness , leadership , and teamwork .
What the Science Says

Research findings on the benefits of the strength of leadership found Socially, leaders are respected and valued by others, and they experience the benefits of being well-respected and held in high esteem by others. Leadership is related to emotional stability, openness, good social intelligence, and conscientiousness. Good leaders bring out the best in others. Leadership allows you to use and express a number of key character strengths, particularly zest, social intelligence, curiosity, creativity, prudence, honesty, and self-regulation.

Explore Your Strength

Reflect on how you’ve used leadership in the past, in everyday life and during special or critical times.

Questions to Help You Understand Your Strength Better
  • What is the difference between how effective you have been as a leader and how much you enjoy being a leader? How can you bring them into better agreement?
  • How do you decide when to lead and when to allow others to lead?
  • How do you keep the two key tasks of leadership — getting things done and helping people get along — in mind while you are leading?
Examples of this Strength in Action

Wondering about times that you may be using this strength? Here are a few examples of leadership at work in the world.

  • Organizing a social event for some of your colleagues or a celebration for someone’s birthday, anniversary, or workplace accomplishment. Take charge by organizing the people, setting, activities, and logistics.
  • Discuss with someone who reports to you about how they can align their top character strength more in their work.
  • Organizing an event in the community.

Apply Your Strength

How can you make the most of leadership in your everyday life? In the moments that matter most? Here are some ideas.
  • When two people are in an argument, mediate by inviting others to share their thoughts and emphasizing problem solving.
  • Lead an activity, assignment or project and actively solicit opinions from group members.
  • Read a biography and/or watch film of your favorite leader and evaluate how he/she inspires you in practical ways.