What makes a good leader?


In today’s professional world, you may find yourself in a leadership position. Whether it’s working on a group project or managing a company, you may be expected to take charge.

That brings us to the topic of the day – what makes a good leader?

First, let’s define what makes a leader:

According to Daniel Goleman, a well-known psychologist who lectures to business and professional groups, a leader is someone who has a high degree of emotional intelligence.


“Emotional intelligence” is defined as the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others”  (Unknown, “Emotional Intelligence”)

Emotional intelligence has five components, as defined in “What makes a leader?” by Daniel Goleman.

  1. Self Awareness – being able to recognize your moods and emotions, and its effect on others
  2. Self Regulation – being able to think before acting or speaking
  3. Motivation – having passion to work on something, with reasons beyond money or status
  4. Empathy – having the ability to understand the emotions of others, and being able to treat them accordingly
  5. Social Skill – being proficient in building relationships and networking, and finding common ground

A leader is someone who possesses the qualities stated above. When you master the skills, that’s when you become a good leader.


Obviously, these skills take time to master. But the more you work on them, the better you are at being a leader. Fortunately, there are several ways to become a leader and sharpen your leadership skills here at USG:

  1. Join a Student Club or Organization – by joining a club or organization, you can learn from your peers about leading a group of people. When the time comes, you may even step up to replace the president once they’ve graduated.
  2. Start a Student Club or Organization – if there isn’t a club you aren’t interested in joining, why not start a new one? You can be the president. You will learn how to handle a group of people to accomplish certain goals or tasks.
  3. Become a Student Ambassador – Ambassadors interact with students in high school and community college. They educate prospective students about USG, and also give tours. During orientation, the Student Ambassadors give tours to the incoming students. Becoming an Ambassador is a way to share your experience at USG to prospective students, and learn how to become a good leader along the way.
  4. Become an Orientation Leader – Orientation Leaders are responsible for greeting incoming students during orientation. They engage with the new students, share their experiences at USG and lead their group to their workshops. As an Orientation Leader, I really learned a lot about how to present myself to new people, and engage with them.
  5. Join the USG Student Council – every Spring semester, the council seeks new members to join the team. The Student Council oversees everything regarding Student Life. Their job is to make sure the students are happy with things at USG. They are the people to go to about concerns or questions you may have, so they can direct them to the people in charge. By joining the council, you can learn how things operate behind the scenes, speak on behalf of your fellow classmates, and gain leadership skills you might not already have, or sharpen the ones you do have.

These are just a few ways you can become more of a leader here at USG. If you are a leader, or want to become one, these are a few ways to sharpen your leadership skills.

Any questions about any of the leadership opportunities?

For questions about Student Ambassadors, contact the Center for Recruitment and Transfer Access.

For questions about student clubs, student council or orientation leaders, contact the Center for Student Engagement & Financial Resources.


Works Cited

Unknown. “Emotional Intelligence.” Psychology Today, Psychology Today, www.psychologytoday.com/basics/emotional-intelligence.

Goleman, Daniel, and Daniel Goleman, Richard E. Boyatzis, and Annie McKee. “What Makes a Leader?” Harvard Business Review, Harvard Business Review, 18 July 2017, hbr.org/2004/01/what-makes-a-leader.

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