11+ Leadership Qualities: A List of Skills to Make a Good Leader

John Smith
Email/ UX expert
11+ Leadership Qualities: A List of Skills to Make a Good Leader

To be a good leader, you must have strong leadership traits that will help you interact positively with your clients, teams, and employees. This applies regardless of the type of team you are leading or the nature of your business. 


Based on behavioral theory, the traits of a good leader are taught rather than ingrained. This means that good leaders obtained their skills by learning them; they weren’t born good leaders. It is important to note that good leaders obtain these qualities through experience. 


This article outlines the skills and traits that can help you become a good leader and positively interact with others. Keep reading to learn more. 

What Characteristics Do Great Leaders Possess?

No matter how you characterize leadership, certain people have a far-reaching effect on the lives of others around them because of the wisdom and experience they have gained.


While we’re all on our paths through life, we follow the examples set by our leaders.


Some leaders may appear to be born for the role, but many others must develop their abilities. When it comes to learning leadership skills, it doesn’t matter if you have no prior experience in leadership.


Most successful leaders have commonalities in terms of personality and skill sets. If you can master these skills, you can make a difference in the world.


Here are the top traits and abilities that make for an effective leader:


  1. The Power of Proper Verbalization
  2. Integrity
  3. Accountability
  4. Empathy
  5. Humility
  6. Resilience
  7. Vision
  8. Influence
  9. Positivity
  10. Delegation
  11. Confidence
  12. Open-Minded

1. Effective Communication

Excellent communication skills are a must-have for every leader. All we have as humans is the ability to communicate via language.


Of course, nonverbal signs are important, but the bedrock of good leadership is the ability to communicate clearly and empathize with others. Additionally, you must figure out what communication aspect is the most crucial in your organization.


To be a good leader, you must master attentive listening. Good leaders must be attentive listeners to effectively lead their teams, followers, and subordinates. Genetics doesn’t make a good leader; instead, it is the cultivation of character and experience that yields the most outstanding results.


In addition to showing compassion, listening to your followers is crucial if you want them to stay with you.


When you make eye contact and show genuine interest in the lives of your employees or team, they will feel pulled to you and want to share their experiences with you. They will be encouraged, feel heard, and develop positive feelings towards you.


On the other hand, if you seem disinterested, avoid making eye contact, and pretend not to care when other people share their personal experiences, they will naturally withdraw, stop sharing as much, and become self-conscious about their pursuits.


Good leaders must be able to communicate effectively with their teams. Strong communication skills are essential if you want your followers to trust you.

2. Integrity

No amount of success is guaranteed without honesty and morals. You can’t lead by example of honesty and integrity if you don’t have these qualities. Honest and outstanding leaders are successful because they keep their word, set an excellent example for others, and get things done.


Being honest and trustworthy is the bedrock of leadership.


You can tell a person has integrity by considering the following traits:


  • Apologizing for mistakes.
  • Showcasing their staff’s accomplishments while minimizing their own.
  • Offering grace when it isn’t deserved or a situation isn’t clear.
  • Showing gratitude for other people’s time.

3. Accountability

To be an accountable leader, you need to heed the words of Arnold Glasow:


“A good leader takes little more than his share of the blame and little less than his share of the credit.”


True leaders do not only take credit for the team’s successes but are also accountable for the team’s failures.


Instill a feeling of accountability in your team by insisting everyone be responsible for their activities. To be a good leader, you must recognize the contributions of others and take responsibility for your actions when appropriate. One of the simplest ways to earn your team’s confidence is by demonstrating accountability and competence in your actions.


Accountability is a critical leadership quality and one that you can only develop through taking responsibility for your actions and the actions of those around you.

4. Empathy

Empathy is one of the essential traits of a great leader. You must empathize with your followers and learn about their backgrounds, aspirations, and challenges.


To have empathy is to comprehend.


However, kindness isn’t the same thing as empathy.


Empathy is an essential attribute that enables you to::


  • Make accurate predictions.
  • Foster a  collaborative work environment.
  • Motivate your team to stay loyal.
  • Negotiate effectively.
  • Sharpen your imagination.


Everyone benefits when team members and leaders have a common understanding of one another’s motivations.


One of the most valuable qualities of a leader is emotional intelligence, which you can develop.


Only a small percentage of leaders can distinguish between kindness and emotional intelligence.


True empowerment stems from your ability to empathize with your team members; this is something only the best leaders can do.


For instance, if an employee habitually arrived 30 minutes late for work, would you blame him or initiate a conversation to find out why they were always late?


Perhaps they’re dealing with personal problems at home, health issues, or even automobile trouble. As a true leader, you must empathize with your followers and understand their motivations.


After all, what is more, crucial to effective communication than empathy?

5. Humility

It’s easy to become distracted by the perks of a promotion or new position rather than putting in the effort required to grow into a humble and effective leader.


However, as an exceptional leader, you should be more interested in helping others and improving team chemistry than promoting your ideas and agendas. If you focus on your own needs rather than the needs of your team, you will fail as a leader. Thomas Merton stated:


“Pride makes us artificial, and humility makes us real.”


Your ability to connect with and inspire your team increases dramatically when you show vulnerability and humility.

6. Resilience

Your real mettle is tested not by how well you perform when things are easy but by how well you perform in challenging situations.


Great leaders are optimistic and can inspire their followers no matter the stakes. This natural optimism will help you deal with stress and crisis by encouraging you to focus on opportunities rather than difficulties.


One of the most valuable traits of a leader is the ability to bounce back from adversity.

7. Vision

Jack Welch, one of the most outstanding business CEOs, stated: “Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own it, and relentlessly drive it to completion.”


The extent to which an organization achieves its mission is directly proportional to the impact of its leaders. As a good leader, you must establish a vision for your team and swiftly implement it. Making decisions and communicating them effectively within your team is crucial for generating new ideas and achieving organizational objectives.


Real leaders motivate their followers to provide their best efforts by constantly reminding them of the broader picture and pushing them to exceed their expectations.


Leadership skills such as vision are often misunderstood to be innate. But that’s far from the truth.


Leadership attributes such as vision and foresight are not innate; they must be cultivated. Therefore, you must cultivate these essential qualities to be a visionary leader of international caliber, benefiting your organization and your team.


Sharing your vision and inspiring your team to act is the key to leadership success.

8. Influence

Certain leaders may feel entitled to influence after reaching a certain degree of prominence. However, this is not the case.


Respect must be earned, not given, and neither leadership nor influence is interchangeable.


Here are some ways you can gain more influence as a leader: 


  • Express your desires explicitly.
  • Create an emotional connection with your team.
  • Build the esteem of your team.
  • Work towards a shared goal.
  • Ask for feedback and suggestions.
  • Build genuine, long-lasting connections.
  • Build your professional image on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
  • Be mindful of your words and actions.

9. Positivity

Your ability to motivate your followers stems not from special achievements or successes but your exemplary actions, view of life, and disposition in every circumstance.


Managers are typically held responsible for the actions of their subordinates. Therefore, your actions must always be consistent with what you expect from your team.


The key is positivity. Sometimes even the most tranquil workplaces may seem tense, and it’s up to the leaders to maintain a level head and focus on finding solutions, rather than letting their emotions get the best of them and casting blame.


Leadership attributes such as optimism should not be disregarded as unimportant. It takes courage to maintain optimism in the face of adversity. This attribute will help you stay calm and lead your employees even when things aren’t going as planned.

10. Delegation

The leap from doing to leading is challenging for many leaders.


Many new leaders find it difficult to delegate tasks since they are used to taking care of everything. However, as a leader, you must raise your team and make yourself indispensable while taking on a lesser role.


To do this, you must influence the perspectives of your followers. Equip your team for victory, and then get out of the way. This doesn’t imply micromanaging their efforts but instead laying a clear road map to the main objective.


As a good leader, the achievement of your subordinates should not oppress you or make you feel threatened. Leadership abilities that include delegating responsibility and promoting others within the organization are essential. Your team can only excel if each member contributes significantly to your shared goal.

11. Confidence

To be a good leader, you must get your hands dirty and take charge. You must have the confidence to lead, believing that your ideas and goals are feasible for the group and the right course of action.


One of the attributes of a great leader is the ability to maintain composure under pressure. True leaders can maintain composure in the face of adversity, no matter how daunting the circumstances are.


When you’re in a leadership position, people will soon notice if you lack confidence in yourself. You have to “fake it ’til you make it” (or “make it ’til you make it”) to improve your self-confidence. Believe in yourself more, and you’ll be able to handle any problematic scenario.


Fearlessly tackling difficulties with your ideas is a hallmark of a true leader.

12. Open-Minded

Being receptive to new ideas and perspectives is a crucial characteristic of effective leaders.


To be a good leader, you must be a good listener. Listen to the other person’s point of view, even if you disagree with it. As a result, you’ll get insight into your subordinates and find new ways to collaborate with them.


Being receptive to new ideas is crucial for the success of cross-functional collaborations.


It’s essential to have an open mind and not automatically write off new ideas.


Consequently, you need to:


  • Recognize when it’s time to modify your decision-making approach. People with new ideas need a listener who won’t immediately dismiss them without giving them a chance to explain themselves properly.
  • Recognize the complexity of situations and the variety of perspectives that exist.
  • Know how to weigh the pros and cons of a situation and clearly explain your reasoning without appearing inflexible.
  • Don’t quickly write off the suggestions of others; instead, consider all available ideas before making any final choices.
  • Try to see things from other people’s perspectives, even if you disagree.


Openness to new ideas is a hallmark quality of good leadership. Therefore, it’s important to consider the opinions of others when making a decision thoughtfully.

Leadership FAQ

What Is the Most Accurate Description of Leadership?

Leadership is best defined as motivating people to achieve common goals. Good leaders have personalities and skills that make others want to follow them. 

What Makes Leadership Such a Crucial Skill?

Leadership is important because it can inspire people to follow specific paths. If you have strong leadership skills, you can help others by taking charge and guiding them to a brighter future. 

What Actions Should a Leader Take?

Inspire your team to set and achieve reachable goals. Help them build sensible visions and guide them in the right direction to achieve progress. 

What Qualities Should a Good Manager Have?

A good manager must possess leadership traits that can help him motivate his team to be more industrious. A good manager should be kind, empathetic, decisive, responsible, and understanding.

Which Actions Should a Leader Never Take?

Leaders should not insult others, be indecisive, boastful, act up, or be mean and rude. These negative traits will cause your team to lose faith in your leadership skills. 

Bottom Line 

Even though the traits described above are essential for good leadership, when you show the correct initiative and action, you will receive the trust and respect you deserve. As you try to develop your leadership skills, keep the goals and dreams of those you lead in mind so you can focus on achieving them. 


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