Last Updated on May 16, 2021 by Tracy Jackson
A leader is someone who motivates other people to move towards a common goal.
Great leaders have a similar set of skills and traits that allow them to lead people to success.
Why Is Leadership Important To An Organization?
Leadership skills enable ordinary people to use their talents to inspire other people. Human nature is such that some people need to take charge and guide others to a common goal.
Without leadership, an organization cannot have unified goals and make progress.
Good leadership helps large groups of people stay organized. It helps them achieve things that otherwise would never have been possible.
What Are Some Of The Greatest Leadership Qualities?
Here are 28 leadership qualities that will inspire others to follow you:
A good leader leads by example.
Be responsible for your actions and decisions. This will help you breed a culture of responsibility within your team.
Acknowledge the successes of your team members. Never be afraid to ask for help.
When everyone on the team has equal responsibility, it fosters mutual respect.
2. Active Listening
“The roots of effective leadership lie in simple things, one of which is listening. Listening to someone demonstrates respect; it shows that you value their ideas and are willing to hear them.” – John Baldoni
Active listening involves giving someone your full, undivided attention.
Making the people around you feel heard is an important quality of a good leader.
Centre for Creative Leadership lists 6 active listening skills as shown below:
By practicing active listening, you learn to understand people from their perspectives. This allows you to lead according to each team member’s personality, needs, or challenges.
3. Awareness of Self
HubSpot defines self-awareness as “..the ability to focus on yourself and how your actions, thoughts, or emotions do or don’t align with your internal standards.”
When you are self-aware, you can identify your strengths and improve yourself.
Self-awareness helps you manage your emotions and align your ideas with your actions.
As a leader, practicing self-awareness couldn’t be more vital. When you can understand your behavior, you can understand your team members better.
4. Care And Consideration
A good leader understands work-life balance.
A company is only as strong as its employees. Appreciate and respect your team members and value their health and wellness.
Provide your team members with an environment where everyone can flourish.
When you put your team and their families first, it will affect your company’s success. Your employees will work for you because they want to.
Leaders are sure about their competencies.
They believe that they can make a difference.
Confidence allows you to take risks and reap the rewards from them. When you are confident, you can make life-changing decisions and lead your team to success.
A confident leader earns respect. People listen to what you say and follow you because they know it will bring success.
6. Creativity And Innovation
“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” – Steve Jobs
A good leader not only is creative but fosters creativity within the team.
As a leader, you need to have the will and determination to try out new things. You must also give your team members the freedom to develop their thoughts and ideas.
Listen to others and inspire them to think out of the box.
A successful team works through creative thinking and constant innovation. Once you’ve decided to look for new ways to do things, the sky’s the limit.
Decision-making is one of the core qualities of a good leader. Your decisions affect your business.
A good leader can calculate risks. You should take decisions keeping team members and the business’ success in mind.
Test a situation from every angle and gather information before you make a decision.
Look towards the future and choose the right time to make decisions. Stand by your decisions. Consult key stakeholders before you take any major decision.
Delegation is a practical skill.
You need to delegate tasks according to your team member’s abilities. Too much work could cause overload, yet too little could lead to a lack of motivation.
Proper delegation leads to better teamwork, improved decision-making, and growth.
Empower your team with everything they need to be successful and get out of the way. Set clear expectations without micromanaging.
Assigning projects and tasks to others allows your team to invest in the goals of the company. It frees you up to continue strengthening your leadership skills.
“Great leaders always have self-discipline – without exception.” – John C. Maxwell
As a leader, you need to be able to make the most of your day.
Discipline is not gained overnight. It takes wisdom, hard work, and persistence to cultivate good habits.
When you display discipline and time-management skills, you inspire others to do likewise.
Discipline helps build an individual’s character. Discipline in a team helps you achieve more together.
Set routines and team activities that build discipline within your team.
10. Emotional Intelligence
As a leader, you need to understand the role of emotions in people’s behavior.
Emotional Intelligence allows you to recognize and control emotions in yourself and others.
You can understand yourself, stay in control of circumstances, and make calculated decisions. Emotional intelligence keeps you motivated. It helps you develop strong social skills and build healthy connections with others.
It will also help you resolve conflicts and figure out the best way forward in times of crisis.
“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
Being an empathetic leader helps you be more perceptive. You may not always agree with other’s views, but are willing to appreciate and understand them.
Empathy allows you to forge deep personal connections with your team members. You can make better predictions, streamline workflows, and inspire loyalty within your team.
Empathy facilitates a more human environment that allows for more productivity and engagement.
As a leader, you need to empower your team to be the best they can be and do the best they can do.
Empowerment leads to higher morale and better productivity. It helps you succeed at both an organizational and individual level.
Allowing your employees the opportunities to make crucial decisions helps them be more responsible and think outside the box. It instills self-worth in an individual, making them more committed to the organization.
Empowerment helps you nurture the unique skills of your employees.
13. Fair Attitude
A good leader needs to think and act beyond personal biases.
Fairness is an important trait that sets apart great leaders from the rest. When you are fair to your employees, you can thrive as an organization.
Be careful to keep your opinions and decisions fair and unbiased. Doing so will help you build a better foundation for your company and maintain steady growth.
It’s best to nip politics and favoritism in the bud so that you promote a healthy and fair work culture.
Gratitude makes you a better leader.
Gratitude, like many other qualities on this list, can be practiced.
Learn to be more appreciative of your employees. Be mindful of the little things that matter the most.
Make it a habit to reflect upon the things that went right at the end of every day.
Be specific when expressing gratitude to a team member. Instead of offering a plain ‘Thanks’, you could say something like “Thank Amy, for completing the task ahead of the deadline. I appreciate it.”
Gratitude keeps you humble and helps you develop a growth mindset.
15. Honesty And Transparency
Honesty makes you trustworthy and reliable as a leader.
Your followers know what to expect from you and therefore trust what you have to say.
Being honest and transparent can take you a long way as a business leader. You stand as an example for others to follow – that encourages transparency within the team as well.
Don’t be afraid to admit your faults. Foster honesty and transparency within your team by valuing these traits in your team members as well.
“Pride makes us artificial and humility makes us real.”—Thomas Merton
In his book ‘Good To Great’, Jim Collins says that all great organizations have leaders who were first to own up to mistakes and the last to take credit for success. They are what he calls ‘Level 5 leaders’.
Humility is one of the most essential leadership qualities. A humble person leads to usher transformation – even if it means he doesn’t get all the credit.
Be more concerned about the well-being of others. When you put others before yourself, you gain a growth mindset and therefore improve yourself.
Humility helps you focus on what matters the most. It helps you take selfishness out of the equation and acknowledge your mistakes. This is the best way to grow as an organization.
17. Influential/ Inspirational
When others look up to you, you need to be thoughtful in your actions. More than your words, it is your actions that draw people to you.
Being influential doesn’t mean you can manipulate people into doing what you want them to do. It means that people look to you for inspiration, and are drawn to your character and habits.
- Be clear in your instructions.
- Take time to listen to others, connect with them, and make them feel heard.
- Don’t hesitate to show your vulnerabilities.
- Reach out to others for advice and suggestions.
When you do these things, you will naturally become an inspiration to those around you.
An effective leader never stops learning.
As a leader, you need to be trying out new things. When you train your mind to be open, your thoughts, ideas, and perceptions will progress to a higher level.
A person in a leadership role is curious and this leads to them being more knowledgeable about things. Pursue different interests and invest your time and energy in the things that are important to you.
Being inquisitive will keep your mind busy and alert. It will open up new opportunities for you to explore and help you build a more positive attitude towards different challenges.
Leaders must inspire change, and the way to do it is to stay curious and ready to test out new things.
One of the most important leadership qualities is integrity.
A wise leader has a strong set of principles, and stands by them, especially when it is tough.
There should be no compromises, false promises, or personal gain in an effective leader. A leader with integrity:
- Apologizes for mistakes
- Gives praise where it is due
- Downplays their role in the success of the team
- Forgives easily
- Values individuals and their time
Integrity is one of the core characteristics of a great leader. It sets the tone of the organization as a whole. Leaders are the creators of the organization’s principles. If they do not lead by example with integrity, others will not have guidelines to follow.
20. Learning Agility
Good leaders are quick to grasp new things. It is one of the important qualities of a good leader to know what to do when they do not know what to do – that is called learning agility.
One of the foremost leadership qualities is to excel in unfamiliar circumstances. Learning agility can be nurtured through practice, experience, consistency, and hard work.
To be a great leader you must first become a great learner.
Be alert and respond quickly to uncertainty and changes in the organization. Good leaders are quick to make decisions and take action during times of crisis.
The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us more in the past year about great leaders than we have seen before. Workplace trends have evolved by leaps and bounds in a short period.
The pandemic did not leave much time for carefully planned and thought out actions. It made obsolete all the methodologies that worked so well for organizations in the past.
Good leaders were pushed to carve new paths for their organizations before business fizzled out for them.
Learning agility is therefore one of the qualities that make good leaders great.
The world’s best leaders have stood apart because they were always motivated. They never looked outward for inspiration and refused to find excuses for not getting things done.
People are naturally drawn towards leaders with strong characteristics and a positive attitude. When you are self-motivated, you do not need to rely on external uncertainties to be the best you can be.
Successful leaders inspire others to look inward and find motivation. One of the most essential leadership qualities is to be able to touch the lives of others long after you are gone.
Being self-motivated and inspiring others to be self-motivated is the trait of a great leader.
22. Open To Giving And Receiving Feedback
One of the leadership qualities all great leaders possess is the ability to both give and take feedback.
A great leader should help followers learn and grow. Give your followers clear constructive feedback in a kind and empathetic way. This will help them to improve themselves and move on to greater things in their lives.
Business leaders need to make time to craft out well-thought feedback for their employees. This will help you set clear expectations and foster an environment of learning.
It’s easy to give feedback, but as leaders, are we open to accepting feedback as well?
Accepting constructive criticism with grace and a learning mindset opens up better lines of communication for effective leaders. Everyone is valued and no one is too big or too small to receive feedback.
Keep your mind open to ideas and suggestions from followers. This will help you gain new ideas and broaden your vision.
Great leaders are passionate about their goals. One of the most important leadership qualities is to be committed to what you do.
Leaders take their life goals seriously and work tirelessly to see them through. You need to not only be interested in your own goals but identify others that have passions and help them achieve them as well.
Passion is infectious. When your followers look at your life and your achievements, it will inspire them to work on their passions. Also, when you are passionate about your organization and its people, you will automatically install the same passion in those working with you.
Focus on your strengths. Motivate others to commit to whatever they need to do and focus on those goals till they succeed.
Every business owner faces stressful days. One of the most useful leadership qualities of great leaders is the ability to keep their cool and be patient.
There will be times when everything seems to be going wrong and the people around you may not seem to understand you. It is at times like these that you need to practice patience and identify the right time to make a move or say something.
Running an organization involves a lot of challenges, and good leaders know how to be self-aware and be patient with those around them.
Patience helps you avoid making rash decisions. It is one of those leadership qualities that help you make better decisions and run your business smoothly.
A patient leader is more compassionate towards their followers and sets a great example for others to follow.
Resilience is defined as the ability to recover fast from hardships or difficulties.
The American Heart Association defines resilience as “The ability to withstand, recover, and grow in the face of stressors and changing demands.”
Good leaders are resilient. They can maintain their energies under stressful circumstances and can respond to situations with ease.
When faced with hardship, they can overcome it by controlling their emotions and behavior. Resilience is one of those qualities that make a leader perform well, adapt to extreme change, and come out victorious.
26. Strong Communicator
Good leadership means effective communication within an organization. One of the most important leadership qualities that leaders have is the ability to communicate effectively.
Everyday leaders come across various situations where they need to communicate their ideas and instructions to people of the organization. These activities would include conveying an idea, mentoring an individual, attending a meeting with a client, or passing on client instructions to subordinates.
Communication is not one way. It involves active listening, empathy, and looking at things from another person’s perspective. Show sincerity by making eye contact while talking to someone.
Communicating effectively will also help you set an example to followers.
Resourcefulness is the need of the hour. Good leaders understand how best they can use their resources.
They are good at understanding technology and how it fits in their business. We now live in a digital world, and being tech-savvy is a prerequisite for business leaders.
Stay up-to-date with all the business technologies that are available to you. Learn how to use different technologies and test things out.
A visionary leader can step back and look at the big picture.
Good leaders look into the future and envision what they want the company to become. They pursue this vision with passion and encourage others to do so too.
A visionary leader can take calculated risks and go farther than others.
So, How Do You Use Leadership Skills To Build More Successful Teams Within An Organization?
Leadership skills allow you to manage a group of individuals and ensure that you make progress in the right direction. Great leadership inspires vision, common goals, and forges a way for the group to move forward. Do you agree with this list? What other leadership qualities do you consider important? Let me know in the comments!
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