25 Leadership Qualities That Make You A Good Leader
In the dynamic world of leadership, where leaders are the beacon of hope and growth for many, the concept of leadership has evolved to become more expansive and diverse in its approach. Especially after the devastating covid phase, situations have changed tremendously, including the role leaders have to play. Great leaders are not solely defined by their titles but by a blend of their unique leadership qualities, having the potential to influence, inspire, and drive positive change.
This blog will help you delve into the essence of leadership by unraveling and exploring 25 effective qualities that set the stage for effective and impactful leadership.
- A strong grasp of 25 leadership qualities that make you a good leader
- What are the ways to develop leadership qualities
Integrity is one such quality that must run in the veins of every leader. The foundation of good leadership lies in having integrity, where the leaders stand true to their beliefs and principles without having to step out of it, irrespective of the circumstances.
As a leader, I believe in nurturing the essence of integrity, where I stand by my team and acknowledge them for their contributions.
According to a Forbes survey, integrity received a higher rating than other traits associated with effective leadership, such as fairness, decisiveness, and stability.
The commitment to integrity lies in building trust among employees by sticking to the company’s values without renouncing them. Aligning to the principles of integrity allows you to prioritize collective gain over personal gain.
The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office.
– Dwight D. Eisenhower
Honesty as a quality finds its significance in any form of relationship. This is also one of the prerequisites to excel as a leader.
Your honesty will fetch you the trust and commitment of your team. As a leader, your words and actions have an impact on the employees. They look up to you to rely on.
As such, I make sure to address my team honestly and transparently regarding the policies we come up with, the revenue we generate, and the obstacles we face. This will generate a sense of understanding and foster an environment of openness and solidarity among employees.
This solidarity, as a result of honesty, will strengthen the team and push it forward.
Leadership can be defined in one word 'Honesty'. You must be honest with the players and honest with yourself.
– Earl Weaver
Having personal biases is common. But what makes you uncommon is how you are able to keep yourself distant from this loop of biases. And only the ones keeping away from biases can really outshine in their tenure as leaders and make a difference.
True leaders are fair to their employees and the organization's processes. They make decisions only after assessing the situation by emphasizing merit. They acknowledge the good and always make room for everyone to thrive together.
A Research by the National Institute of Occupational Health showcases that fair leadership is linked to a reduction in ambiguity and more job fulfillment among subordinates.
The choice of being fair is undoubtedly challenging, but it will fetch you sustainable results in the long run.
For instance, during promotions, one must ensure a fair and unbiased evaluation, where each team member is assessed on his or her strengths. Merits should be central to any evaluation process, keeping any biases at bay.
Fairness is one of the most significant traits in wisdom, the fairer you are, the wiser you become.
– Pearl Zhu
As a leader, you may claim the highest position in terms of your celebrated qualities and achievements. But to be a successful leader, you must pull yourself out of the cocoon of pride and practice humility.
Humble leaders make the best leaders. This statement is justified in the seminal book Good to Great, by Jim Collins. He shows extensive research data on how humble and willful leaders help their companies grow and sustain their market position.
As a leader, I believe in fostering an environment where everyone is respected, irrespective of the assigned position. You should treat others the way you want to be treated.
For instance, ensure a workspace where everyone feels valued, comfortable getting along with their peers, and open to learning.
The following steps will help you strengthen this quality:
- Admit your mistakes and acknowledge them
- Seek feedback from your peers
- Value others' contributions and not overpower them with yours
- Express gratitude
- Say ‘No’ to arrogance
- Stay grounded and be approachable to people
- Encourage diverse perspectives
Humble and willful leaders understand the fact that leadership is all about working for the greater good. The approach is not to dominate but to ensure equality. Good leaders know their strengths and weaknesses and always yearn to learn and contribute more.
Where there is humility, there is more success, and lasting success
– Patrick Lencioni
Accountability as a quality is way too challenging to practice in reality. If you wish to shine as an accountable leader, you must be willing to take responsibility for the successes and failures that come your way.
You have to be answerable for all the choices and commitments you make and lead.
During unexpected situations, we leaders can equally share the load and take responsibility instead of blaming our team.
We must create an atmosphere where everyone practices this quality of accountability so that everyone sticks to their words. This has helped me and my team to develop and increase ownership.
Being an accountable leader is not an easy task. It means you must own up to your commitments and promises, being answerable to the actions and decisions you made and those you lead.
Accountable leaders establish clear goals and targets. They focus on the future and are fearless while owning up to their mistakes. They ask for help when needed and provide honest and constructive feedback.
Accountability is the glue that ties commitment to the result.
– Bob Practor
6. Active Listening
Leadership is not a one-way process where you only preach your thoughts to your peers, and there is no room for others to voice out. It is more about listening to what others have to say.
Effective leaders are born from their ability to listen sincerely and attentively to people. It allows them to understand people and their perspectives.
Active listening is the safest mode to strengthen trust and relationships in the long run. The need of the hour is to become a leader who listens to their people and team members with genuine interest and makes fewer interruptions in their expression.
As a leader, I want to listen to what new and fresh ideas my team has in their platter. I allow them to express their thoughts without any hesitations. In that way, I try to build a bond with them and try to understand their opinions.
This practice also enables me to think out of the box and become more creative with my ideas.
Acquiring this skill can be quite a task unless you have a sense of humility.
Listening was the most important thing I accomplished each day because it would build the foundation of my leadership for years to come.
– Satya Nadella
Putting yourself in someone else’s shoes is quite a task that not everyone can excel.
But as leaders, it becomes crucial on our part to connect and care for them and their needs. When both the leaders and the team members align on the same page, things take a smooth turn.
For instance, if you witness a dip in employees' performance levels, try to understand the root cause. Give them time to adapt and evolve instead of making harsh decisions.
This way, you will allow them to heal and grow and witness your professional bond blossom in a positive light.
Empathetic leaders are perceptive, and they are aware of other's feelings and thinking. Being empathetic does not always mean agreeing with others' views but appreciating and having a willingness to understand.
Leadership is about empathy. It is about having the ability to relate to and connect with people for the purpose of inspiring and empowering their lives.
– Oprah Winfrey
8. Emotional Intelligence
Emotional Intelligence is the ability to identify, manage, evaluate, and understand our emotions and those around us.
According to psychologist Daniel Goleman, EI has five components. They are Self-awareness, Self-regulation, Empathy, Motivation, and Social skills.
Good leaders meet all the components stated above. They are self-aware, act in control, and make calculated decisions without getting carried away. They try to understand other's perspectives without being cynical.
Moreover, they are self-motivated and push others to do the same. As a result of the strong social skills they possess, they are adept at building connections and healthy relationships.
Hence, good leaders have high levels of Emotional Intelligence.
There is no separation of mind and emotions; emotions, thinking, and learning are all linked.
– Eric Jensen
As an innovative leader, the idea is not to be a creative genius at everything but to allow ample freedom for others to utilize their innovative mindset.
I staunchly believe that innovation starts when you ask your team to take up challenges, experiment with them, and collectively brainstorm to find a suitable solution to them, irrespective of the results.
Innovative leaders stand out from the rest for being fearless and open to new ideas and discussions. Motivating others to think out of the box is something that innovative leaders have for sharpening their creativity levels.
Innovations distinguish between a leader and a follower.
– Steve Jobs
Recommended Resource: 8 Ways To Encourage Innovation In The Workplace
Until and unless you have a particular vision for your company in the long run, you cannot really make it beyond a point. This is where the need for visionary leaders come into the picture.
A visionary leader is far-sighted, driven, and inspired by what a company can become. Having a long-term goal and plan for your company makes you work hard and smart.
As leaders, we must envision a big future for the company, like where we want to be after a decade or beyond, and keep on updating with time and change.
Ensuring a vision for the future with perseverance and keeping everybody invested in the process is what we can do as visionary leaders. We should not consider risks and unconventional decisions as obstacles but as opportunities to turn our vision into reality.
A leader should be Visionary and have more foresight than an employee
– Jack Ma
Inquisitiveness is one such quality that separates the best leaders from the rest.
Have you ever watched great leaders sharing stories and their experiences in TED Talks? I presume you have. If you haven't, it is high time you watch it.
Watching the stories will make you witness the element of inquisitiveness in their life that pushes them to experiment more. The thirst for knowledge is what motivates them to go beyond.
The curiosity to find new ways and approaches to emerging industry trends keeps them all enthusiastic. As a result, leaders pursue various interests and keep themselves invested in them.
Their thoughts, ideas, and perceptions are unique and thought-provoking.
The reason behind this inquisitiveness is the curiosity about life.
Hence, we pursue various interests and keep themselves ourselves invested in them. Undertaking every opportunity will help us broaden our spectrum through art, technology, and science.
Persistent questioning and healthy inquisitiveness are the first requisite for acquiring learning of any kind.
– Mahatma Gandhi
12. Willingness to Learn
Great leaders are those who are always willing to learn in every step of their lives.
As leaders, we must realize that we cannot stagnate ourselves to particular ideologies and concepts for longer. We must keep adapting to scenarios by showcasing our willingness to learn.
Learning is an ever-going process that never ceases till we exist.
Hence, it is important to understand that there is always something new to look forward to. A learner can gain insights from peers, experiences, or formal education.
This reflects your openness to new ideas, a readiness to face challenges, and a commitment to constant improvement. A leader can only stand true to its name when he or she is a learner apart from being a leader.
The capacity to learn is a gift; the ability to learn is a skill; the willingness to learn is a choice.
– Brian Herbert
In a survey of 28,000 business leaders guided by Chief Learning Officer magazine, leadership development prioritizes in-person soft skills training. Seventy-four percent use instructor-led training, and 63% opt for executive coaching. Top-rated skills include coaching improvement (34%), communication (31%), employee engagement (27%), and strategic planning with business acumen (21%).
Self-confidence is a highly essential quality for any individual to prosper in life. On top of that, being a leader requires you to have self-confidence in abundance to make a bold move and lead the team along.
As Rosalynn Carter rightly said, ‘You have to have confidence in your ability and be tough enough to follow through.’
How can you lead a team when you have no confidence in yourself?
First of all, believe in yourself and your power to do something and transform something in life.
Then, entrust your team with the same level of confidence and motivation and witness the phase that comes your way.
As a leader, self-confidence gives you wings to undertake risks, envision, and take flight to accomplish your goals. This confidence will give you the power to think rationally, deal tactfully, and act decisively.
Research by Portland State University states that courageous leaders help the organization better align with its core principles and give it greater focus toward a revitalized vision.
14. Ability to Motivate
Motivation is one such component that keeps every individual focused on its purpose and helps move forward with positivity.
Leaders, being someone who others look up to, must have the ability to motivate others.
As a leader, it is crucial to lead collaboratively, ensuring that your team is actively engaged and moving forward collectively.
Hence, motivating them to bring out their best will make them genuinely support you and stand by your side.
You just need to boost their morale, which will help them get through the challenging situations.
Pass on your enthusiasm and share what motivates you in life. This will be a guiding light for them and ignite the drive to do wonders.
Leaders must be clause enough to relate to others, but far enough ahead to motivate them.
– John C. Maxwell
Be it a personal space or a professional setup, discipline is vital in both scenarios. And before helping others discipline themselves, one must learn the art of self-discipline.
And good leaders are no exception to this. Before preaching to others, good leaders personally stick to discipline themselves. Then, they go on to encourage a culture of discipline.
As leaders, we must practice self-discipline, show our peers the path, and motivate them to follow.
In an organization where everything is fast-paced, and employees are occupied with a heavy workload, being more disciplined can help achieve targets and maintain a harmonious work environment.
Great leaders always have self-discipline -without exception.
– John C. Maxwell
Recommended resource: 7 Ways To Boost Your Employees Self-Discipline
Not every day is a happy day. Hardships are also a part and parcel of life. But that hardship should not dishearten you from fighting ahead and reaching your goal.
Being a leader requires you to face obstacles and hardships and simultaneously be resilient enough to overcome them.
You can’t let those challenges bother you all the time because challenges are constant, and that’s a fact. You are bound to face them.
But walking away from them without addressing them is not the solution. Being resilient is the need of the situation.
Basically, you need to work on and keep a check on your mental fitness. This will give you the power to enhance your resilience toward any situation in life.
Resilient leaders can retain their energy level while keeping calm and responding to disruptive changes. They also overcome severe challenges without destructive behavior or hurting others. Resilient leaders are high-performing leaders who recover from any adversity positively
Leaders must be tough enough to fight, tender enough to cry, human enough to make mistakes, humble enough to admit them, strong enough to absorb the pain, and resilient enough to bounce back and keep on moving.
– Jesse Jackson
You cannot reach the epitome of leadership until and unless you are driven by passion towards your goal.
Effective leaders across the world are highly passionate about their dreams and objectives they wish to attain.
They know what they want and work tirelessly to achieve those. Their passion is infectious and also very inspiring. They are highly committed to their goals and help others achieve theirs.
Committing yourself to a vision ignited by the passion to grow helps elevate productivity levels. Irrespective of the hurdles that come our way, our passion for our work will always keep us active and dedicated to it.
People should pursue what they're passionate about. That will make them happier than pretty much anything else.
– Elon Musk
Effective delegation is a true quality of good leadership. As a good leader, you should know how to delegate wisely and extract the best out of it.
Wise delegation here would mean that you should not simply delegate tasks without knowing the ability of the person involved. You must have the awareness and develop an understanding of which individual has the necessary skills and expertise to complete the task.
Hence, it is crucial to make mindful delegations so that you can save time and free yourself from inconveniences.
After all, the true purpose of delegation is to enhance team performance and maximize productivity. So, as a leader, we should delegate wisely.
If you really want to grow as an entrepreneur, you’ve got to learn to delegate
– Richard Branson
You can also check our video!
19. Decision-making Skill
Making the choicest decisions is always challenging for any individual because this would make or break something.
This becomes even more challenging for leaders, for they have several things under consideration.
Regardless of the challenges, uncertainties, and dilemmas that we as leaders face, we must evaluate all the possibilities and decide. We can’t evade this.
However, effective leaders are those who do not make decisions in a hurried manner. You should take your time and gather all the necessary information, examine all the possibilities, assess every little detail, discuss with the team, and then reach a suitable conclusion.
Making good decisions is a crucial skill at every level
– Peter Drucker
20. Problem-Solving Skills
Effective leadership is incomplete without problem-solving skills. As a leader, you can ensure the proper functioning of an organization by sharpening your problem-solving abilities and making keen analyses to help you make better choices.
You must know how to douse an erupting situation and resolve conflicts that have already arisen. These abilities will help you stand true to your position as a leader.
These skills test our ability to handle situations and whether we are capable of it or not. This is the best way to eliminate barriers and earn the trust of the team.
Every problem has a solution; it may sometimes just need another perspective.
– Katherine Russell
Recommended Resource: Problem Solving Skills That Managers Need To Have
21. Strong Communicator
Your level of communication skills speaks a ton of how good and effective a leader you are. As leaders, you must ensure open communication between your team members.
This openness will ensure that your message is articulated properly and will also allow others to communicate their thoughts and ideas.This two-way form of communication will leave no scope for misinterpretation.
Moreover, be clear about what you want to convey. Clarity is the key to effective communication. Use words and expressions to deliver your message without sounding harsh or mean.
Good communication is the bridge between confusion and clarity.
– Nat Turner
You can ignite a strong leadership in you by giving a little nudge to your team in the form of empowerment.
Empowering your team will help you achieve greater and maximum productivity. Your leadership is nothing without your team’s support.
So, taking them along your side by empowering their efforts will take you a long way towards your goal.
Empowerment can come in several forms. Some are as follows:
- Creating opportunities to bring your teams’ skills and talents to the forefront
- Giving them equal decision-making opportunities
- Allowing them to utilize their power of judgment and expertise to develop solutions
- Constant guidance goes a long way
- Emphasizing positive traits
- Creating a positive environment to ignite creativity
As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.
– Bill Gates
In this world of digitalization, where technology has taken center stage, all the world needs is Tech-Savvy leaders. They must understand and develop a sound knowledge of technology.
Today’s technological landscape is dominated by the transformative power of Artificial Intelligence (AI). As a result, as tech-savvy leaders, we must comprehend the basics of AI and appreciate its profound impact on business and society.
The application of technology, particularly AI, is central to ensuring the competitiveness and success of our businesses.
As AI is here to stay, we have to mold ourselves to leverage the use of AI to its optimum level.
Thriving in the technological landscape will require tech-savvy leaders to not only enhance individual technological skills but also strengthen their team of technological warriors. When you and your team are armed with sound AI knowledge, nothing can stop you from staying ahead of the curve.
AI is probably the most important thing humanity has worked on. I think of it as something more profound than electricity or fire.
– Sundar Pichai
24. Strategic mindset
Effective leaders are those who are driven by strategies.
Having a strategic view allows them to navigate their organizations to reach long-term objectives.
They are more drawn to monitoring industry trends and their shifts, conducting thorough analyses, and organizing resources to reach big goals.
It is not only limited to making decisions; it moves beyond to garner an overall scenario about the organization’s growth.
As a strategic leader, you need to guide your team through the changes and make adjustments when necessary, all while keeping your path aligned to a growth-oriented approach.
Strategic thinking is for everyone. Embrace it and you might just change your life.
– Windsy Lawson
25. Leads by Example
A foundational leadership quality that makes you stand out from the rest is leading your team by example.
Demonstrating a standard set of behavior through your personal actions will set an example for others to follow.
Your leadership shines when you start practicing the values and work ethics you preach to your team.
Whether meeting deadlines, embracing a positive attitude, being respectful to peers, or being resilient in challenging situations, ensure to reflect the principles you want to implement in your team.
This is the best approach to building credibility and trust and igniting a sense of inspiration in them so that they start adopting them.
Leading by example gives our leadership a sense of strength as we move beyond the mere use of words. Putting our words into practice will give weightage to our promises and increase our team's commitment.
Those who lead by example and demonstrate passion for what they do make it much easier for their followers to do the same.
– Marshall Goldsmith
Ways to Develop Your Leadership Qualities
Now that you have gone through a list of significant leadership qualities and have understood its essence, you might have a common question pondering in your mind.
You might wonder how you should develop and practice these qualities in real life.
Well, you do not achieve things in a day; it is a gradual process that makes you work harder to reach your destination.
Similarly, good leaders are not made overnight. You need to begin at some point and go on enriching yourself in the process to reach your personal and professional goals.
According to a McKinsey & Company study, action-oriented leaders are more likely to succeed in the long run because they can change with the times and seize chances.
Reflecting on your strengths, weaknesses, and values is the foundation of your venture as an effective leader. You need to understand yourself initially before you go on to lead others.
You should never halt your learning process. Make sure to keep yourself tuned to the industry trends. Expand your knowledge by attending workshops, reading books, and enrolling in online courses.
Develop a habit of seeking feedback from your peers, subordinates, and mentors. Constructive criticism is the key aspect of your journey as a leader that sheds light on areas that require improvement and help you grow.
Lead Small Teams
You can practice and test your leadership abilities by leading smaller groups and projects. This will allow you to experiment with multiple approaches. Learning from hands-on experiences is the best way to put your qualities into practice and develop them accordingly. And starting from small is always the best way.
Always be on the lookout for mentors who can guide you and share their leadership experiences. Learning from seasoned leaders will give you exposure to heighten your development.
Networking is essential for every professional, and it is a must for leaders. Building a professional network within and outside the industry must be your priority. Networking is one such aspect that gives you exposure to diverse perspectives and opens doors for mentorship.
Take challenges as opportunities for growth, and don’t run away from them. These challenges are the best ways that help you build your resilience and hone your problem-solving skills.
According to McKinsey, adaptable leaders often witness opportunities where others perceive obstacles.
Adaptability is one of the strengths that can help you prosper as a leader. Always be ready to accept change and uncertainties and adapt to them by embracing them.
You must have gathered a sound understanding of the important qualities and how to develop them by now.
Leadership is not only limited to leading but is equally about inspiring and contributing to the greater good. Hence, to make your leadership worthy, you must have the right qualities with a blend of self-belief and consistent effort.
As good leaders, face challenges, allow these qualities to guide your way, and leave an impactful legacy behind for your successors to follow.