Every business owner and executive need to understand what makes a good leader, as they are essential for driving the business to achieve its goals.
Leadership qualities are critically important to be an effective leader at work. A good leader should have qualities that not only help them lead but help their team succeed at work.
The most important qualities of a good leader include honesty, integrity, courage, vision, humility, effective communication, emotional intelligence, task delegation, empathy, positivity, accountability, and confidence.
In this article, great leadership qualities are explored in-depth. Leadership is a vital quality for anyone who wants to make an impact and progress in their career, team, business or organization.
A good leader can be defined by many attributes, but we will focus on the critical qualities that make the most effective leaders and successful leaders.
What makes a good leader? These core qualities:
Over time, the best leaders, either in politics, government, or in organizations have exhibited leadership attributes.
Leaders require the ability to organize, vision to believe, confidence to act, and take accountability. These are strong leadership qualities for great leaders that demonstrate effective leadership.
Great leaders at work are always team-oriented and believe that a successful leader is a result of the team’s collective effort.
The leadership style of an effective leader is to inspire the team to cooperate and work together with one common goal.
Great leaders typically occupy a management role and have a positive attitude, good self awareness, excellent people skills, emotional intelligence, and the ability to delegate effectively.
In simple terms, good leaders have the leadership attributes required to achieve organizational goals.
Let’s now delve into the following core qualities and characteristics that every good leader should develop. Then I’ll explain another 40+ skills that leaders need to develop over time.
Honesty is an important virtue of a great leader and makes them a better leader.
When you’re honest, your team and your customers can trust you and your vision.
A dishonest leader will find it difficult to earn their trust or guide them. Not only will the they stop trusting a poor leader but also their efforts.
A dishonest environment is filled with drama and toxicity and this is the type of environment that good leaders prevent.
Good leaders speak the truth in every situation – whether it’s positive or negative.
If your team members perform excellently, commend them.
The goal at work is to provide each member with truthful feedback and recommendations where they can improve.
Honesty also requires being genuine about your abilities and their abilities.
Knowing your strengths and your weaknesses is the first step to developing effective leadership skills.
Integrity is doing the right thing the right way without shortcuts.
As a leader, you are responsible for embracing transparency in whatever you do.
You need to focus on your team’s success and not on self-appraisal.
When you’re truthful and have integrity, they can trust you enough to follow your process.
Good leaders inspire and people should be inspired to emulate your attitude.
Keep in mind that integrity is born out of truthfulness.
Your colleagues at work should trust you with your words and know that you will stick to your words.
The best leaders don’t play by their own rules but adopt truthfulness and transparency which are important attributes.
Courage To Act
Being courageous is one of the most important attributes.
Courage means you’re ready to take risks to achieve a goal even when the odds are against you.
A lot of people have big dreams. Good leaders realize that achieving a big dream is tied to how well they’re ready to take risks.
It takes the understanding that a failed risk is far better than doing nothing, within reason.
Courage is when you try even though you know you may not win.
What you learn from each risk takes you closer to the dream.
Most leaders have had more histories of failures than of success. And that’s fine, but always check if your business or your employer’s organization supports courageous leaders who take calculated risks.
Shares Their Vision
A leader who lacks vision lacks everything! The best leaders have excellent vision and a positive outlook.
Vision is all about future goals and that’s what a leader focuses on and shares.
They think of the success of tomorrow instead of the issues of today. They have a clear idea of the big picture.
Visionary leaders make great leaders because they know where they and their direct reports are going and they have enough motivation to get there.
You should have a visualized idea of where you want to be or where your team wants to be in 5 years, 10 years, and more.
Being visionary allows you to create long-term solutions to problems rather than a one-time approach.
Leaders encourage their team at work to brainstorm new ideas for the future.
Leadership should be anticipative and know what real success looks like.
Managers with excellent leadership traits regularly ruminate on questions like “Where will the market likely be in 7 years? What will the trend look like in the next decade?”.
Management positions require vision, creative leadership qualities, and excellent decision making skills.
Humility is another important leadership quality you don’t want to ignore.
It brings out the effectiveness in your role.
Leaders learn how to contain their egos and are self aware.
A good manager admits that they don’t know it all. This is very encouraging for new people and junior members who look up to their leader.
New leaders and experienced leaders can learn from anyone regardless of their status.
Learn how to pocket your pride so that you can get done whatever needs to be achieved.
Humility means that you recognize your strength and you don’t allow it to get the best of you.
You can accept your mistake and give credit to whoever deserves it.
Being humble is not a weakness, it’s a sign that you recognize other people’s value at work and that they do not intimidate you.
It is a very rare attitude among some managers because it involves containing your ego.
Leaders know the importance of excellent communication at work and are a good communicator.
They know the right words to use to send the right messages to the right audience.
Most have excellent public speaking skills.
Good communicators speak pleasantly, express their views while allowing other members to air their opinions.
Not only will learning how to communicate improve your speaking skills at work but also your confidence.
When leaders communicate, they know when to stop, listen, talk sensibly and they ensure that their expectations are clear.
Leaders have excellent self confidence and self awareness which sets them apart from poor managers.
Listen to your team members to understand their views and concerns. When they communicate their minds with you, you can easily guide them and help them grow, so that they can undergo tasks with fewer guidance and errors.
The best way to influence people is to connect with them emotionally.
A good leader has a high level of emotional intelligence.
They master the art of communicating with people’s emotions.
Being emotionally intelligent means you can:
- Manage the emotion of multiple people
- Understand how to strike seamless communication
- Intelligently resolve conflict among team or followers
- Understand how social awareness works
As a leader with a high level of emotional intelligence, you have complete control over your emotions.
You or your decision process is not affected by external negative emotions. This way you don’t make pressurized decisions.
Not only do great leaders with emotional intelligence handle issues among team members but also play an excellent role in resolving conflicts.
You understand people’s emotions and care about their feelings, regardless of whether they are a direct report or other team members part of the broader business.
Strong leaders have the ability to delegate tasks at work and do this effectively.
To remain at the forefront of your focus, learn to delegate and provide your team with a clear idea of how to solve issues.
Apart from allowing you to focus on other big things that matter, it’s also a way to allow your team to take charge and allow them to solve problems.
When you delegate to your team, they’ll feel like you trust their ability to get it done perfectly. Thus, they will put in more effort not to disappoint.
A good leader knows the right members to assign certain jobs based on experience and qualification.
That’s why you must understand each member based on strengths and weaknesses. That way the right people can always get the job done.
Your ability to delegate is imperative to allow you to focus on higher-level jobs.
Great leaders care about their direct reports, team and followers’ dreams, hopes, aspirations, and development.
Empathy is understanding the needs of each member and showing mutual respect.
Empathy is not only about being nice, but it’s also about increasing creativity, improving decisions, and motivating team members to be more loyal.
A great leader understands the importance of showing empathy to the people they lead.
For instance, you will not rush to blame a team member who gets to work 15 minutes late, instead, ask them why? They may be struggling with personal issues at home like a sick spouse, health conditions, car issues, and more.
The qualities of a leader require giving team members the benefit of the doubt and not being quick to judge, and are able to bring real life experience to the situation to demonstrate understanding.
Positivity is a quality of leadership that is considered important.
Being positive at times of stress or unlucky situations is the symbol of a good mentality.
What matters most is how leaders respond with positive thoughts rather than being confused and placed on blame.
Good managers must always lead by example in this respect by mirroring the manner in which they wish their colleagues would act.
It goes back to positivism. Although things don’t go so planned it means you can keep your head straight for your people.
It’s a good indicator that you can always guide people in the right direction.
Strong leaders take control of the outcome, good and bad, and will maintain their focus on what they can control.
By leading and showing accountability we can become better managers.
Good executives hold themselves and their employees accountable for their actions and create a perception of responsibility in the team.
Instead of wasting time and energy worrying about things out of your reach, put all that effort towards what you do have power over like planning for future events.
When accepting accountability for your actions, you could try to fix problems yourself before asking others to do it for you.
Managers take accountability and do not blame someone else when a mistake has been made.
Being confident in every situation is a crucial attribute of leading.
Confident managers are capable of addressing many situations no matter what, even when there is discomfort or uncomfortableness.
They don’t only discuss the problem but come up with solutions fearlessly.
The more you believe in yourself, the more others will believe in you, and together you will be able to address any stressful situation.
When you are confident, your team will follow your lead because they know what to expect from you.
When you’re appreciated, your confidence will grow as well and this also applies to appreciating your team. SurveyMonkey’s leadership statistics identifies that 43% say that feeling appreciated makes them more confident.
A good manager is prepared, organised, clear about the present and future, and keep the team’s best interest at heart.
Frequently Asked Questions About Leadership Qualities
What is a good leadership definition?
Here are two definitions.
Leadership is the activity of leading a group of people or an organization.
Leadership is the ability to guide, direct, or sway a group of people in the direction desired by the leader.
What is leadership?
John Maxwell defines leadership as “influence.”
Leadership is guiding people, a team, or an organization to attain a common goal or a required outcome.
As a leader, inspiring people should not be limited to your tenure but also after your tenure.
A great leader should instill the knowledge that followers can continue to apply to address what needs to be achieved.
Who are great leaders in history?
Good leaders have been around as far back as centuries ago.
Whether it’s political or organizational leaders, the world has witnessed people with good leadership qualities.
Effective leaders study the attitude and qualities of historical leaders and emulate them in their current roles.
They reflect on how past leaders achieved their goals in their leadership roles.
Mahatma Gandhi and George Washington had strong leadership qualities and skills.
Mahatma Gandhi fought for Indian colonial freedom in 1947. Gandhi was known for his resilience, knowledge, and leadership qualities. Gandi had numerous traits of a great leader and used these leadership skills wisely to achieve his goals.
George Washington, also called the father of the United States, was the first-ever American President. Washington used strategy and foresight to lead his country and people to succeed. He was a visionary leader who had dreamed of what the US should be in 200 years and used the principle of vision to create the America we see today.
How do I spot a bad leader in a leadership position?
Spotting one is quite easy as they lack integrity.
A bad leader can be someone dishonest, they do not communicate effectively, they have low emotional intelligence, they do not assign tasks, have a biased and unfair attitude and are not visionary.
They can be disrespectful, close-minded, they don’t build relationships, or lead by example.
They lack the courage to lead, have no influence over the team, don’t take accountability for methods or results, and have poor problem-solving skills.
Bad leaders also lack many other leadership qualities and characteristics.
Quite simply, they do not know how to become a better leader.
How can I develop the leadership skills to become a good leader?
Organizations can enhance leadership qualities and foster better work performance by helping their staff to develop good leadership skills.
Individuals do not have to wait at all to start building the qualities of a good leader.
Organizations may provide a variety of personal development opportunities ranging from on-the-job learning and mentoring to formal coaching.
Enroll in a leadership program as part of your professional development to learn about and gain effective leadership qualities, good communication skills, active listening skills, and self awareness.
Start being a good leader by convincing your boss to invest in you, so that you can help your organization to be more successful.
What does a good leader look like? Here’s 40+ skills you’ll need.
Being a good leader is not easy! Here are 40+ qualities and great leadership characteristics that good leaders develop over time.
A good leader develops and uses a long list of qualities including integrity, courage, vision, emotional intelligence, enthusiasm, commitment, cooperation, resilience, positivity, respect, compassion, competence, and can delegate and influence, and never stop learning.
Good leaders share their vision, care for others, empower others, have excellent decision making skills, problem solving skills, communication skills, lead by example, recognize success, inspire, and are ethical, innovative, focused, realistic, tech-savvy, and creative.
Good leaders have good social skills, self awareness, self management, self motivated, self discipline, empathy, and gratitude, demonstrate accountability, build relationships, use professional expertise, focus on team development, and are inquisitive, passionate, humble, patient, curious, supportive, flexible, encouraging, trusting, transparent, and listen.
A good leader has many leadership attributes including drive, an eye for talent, a strategic mindset, operational focus, learning agility, an open mind, and can make hard decisions.
Most leaders share similar leadership qualities and skills, however, none of them were born with these traits.
Good leaders develop the above core qualities – which are the most important leadership qualities – and go on to become an effective leader.
However, these core qualities aren’t enough. I, therefore, summarised 40+ skills to further illustrate the qualities of a good leader that can be developed over time.
If you can master these leadership skills, you will become a great leader.