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The Ten Top Qualities of Great Community Leaders. By Moses Tetui

As noted in one of our earlier blogs, community governance is a fairly popular concept now in the field of health. Community leaders therefore are becoming an important part of their communities. A community leader is someone who is perceived to represent the community’s interests and plays the role of protecting them. This role could be paid for or voluntarily, most communities have held this role as a voluntary one.  Community leaders have a vast range of roles that range from mobilizing communities for a common cause to designing courses of action to overcome common challenges.  This blog will focus on the ten most important qualities of great community leaders given their roles in the community. 

1.Self awareness.  A good community leader should be knowledge of his or her strengthens and weaknesses. This will enable the leader to exploit better his abilities while seeking help from others for his or her weak areas.  Leading others with the knowledge of self ease’s a leaders job since it allows for the selection of the best-fit roles and the sharing of responsibilities with others.

2.Eagerness to learn and adapt. As a community leader, earning respect from members is one of the key enablers of ones roles. To do so, learning to listen from others, appreciating their input and changing courses of action is essential.

3.Empathy.  As a leader its important that you recognize how the community perceives you as  their leader.  Empathy allows one to imagine different viewpoints from the community members as well as understand their feelings.  With this perspective, a leader may be perceived as one who cares and this will increase his  or her creditability in the community.

4.Honesty and integrity. A leader must ensure that he is trustworthy to the community and to other leaders. Trust facilitates productive space for discussions and desired social change. Once trust is broken, respect is diminished and productivity is eliminated.

5.Dedication. As a community leader, who most likely is playing a voluntary role, its important that you recognize your own benefits from the role. Time spent on a community role can only be beneficial if it’s seen to create space for desirable social change both for the leader and the community.  This recognition will create energy and dedication to one’s roles given the sometimes difficulty and draining role of community leadership.

6.Service. Involving oneself in general community services is a yet another great quality of a community leader. As a leader being seen to serve your own members creates respect and legitimatizes one’s role in the community.

7.Interpersonal skills. A community leader should be able to interact with other members of the community with ease. This calls for good communication and collaboration skills. Being able to negotiate, mediate, listen to others, and articulate arguments and to work with members external to the community is essential.

8.Forward-thinking. Forward thinking is about being visionary as a leader, one should dream for his community and effectively share the dream. He should be able to think of the future and set sustainable goals by developing his/her own critical thinking skills and involving the younger generations.

9.Intelligence. A competent leader is seen as one who can take care of the tough stuff that may happen to him or the community.  Intelligence here is beyond being smart to include high levels of both emotional and social intelligence.

10.Motivation. Lastly, a great leader inspires as to create the desired social change. He does this in a variety of ways but always remembers to include others in his thought process and courses of action.


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  1. The roles of community leaders in development.
  2. Characteristic of community leaders.
  3. 10 qualities of great community leaders

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