Leadership Qualities of Great Leaders
You may have heard that great leaders are born with inborn leadership qualities or traits. It was believed in the past but it is not true in the present modern days. Today, anyone can be a great leader who aims to become and learn and practice to do so.
Leadership is a continuous process. It is the ability of the leader to influence and motivate people’s behaviors. A great leader is one who continuously learns and upskills his leadership skills.
Here I have mentioned 33 common characteristics of great leaders, identify what qualities you possess, and embrace the qualities you lack.
One of the qualities of a good leader is integrity. Great leaders have integrity and honesty in their behavior. They stick to their promises, have a strong sense of character, and communicate openly. Imagine, how you expect your followers to believe in you when you lack integrity and honesty in your behavior. This is why integrity and honesty are the key traits of good leaders.
Delegation is part of effective leadership. It is the process when you as a leader delegate some of your authority and responsibility to your followers to make decisions on their own at the level of work.
In addition, while delegating make sure that you delegate only the required authority to your follower which is sufficient to complete the task. Otherwise, an imbalance in delegated authority and responsibility does not give satisfactory results.
Accountability is when a person is answerable for his actions and reactions. A good leader is accountable for his/her behavior and actions. A leader is an ultimately accountable person for the results of the performance accomplished under him.
Related: Authority Vs. Power
You should not blame others when the performance is not satisfactory. Instead, be responsible and accountable for the performance, success, or failure resulting from the people working under your leadership.
One of the notable leadership qualities of great leaders is that they are visionary. Take the example of Elon Musk, everyone knows how visionary he is. Visionary leaders see the big picture, work for it, and make it happen.
Good leaders always have a vision and purpose. They just don’t look into the future they also have the ability to reach there. They share their vision with their followers and also make them able to see the big picture.
In this modern business setting, flexibility is required everywhere in the management practice. Due to the dynamic business settings, leaders have to be flexible in order to align with the changes in the environment.
As such, good leaders are always ready to adopt the leadership style that fits the situation and the needs or abilities of their followers. They know what situational leadership is and effectively apply it in the practical field.
Good leaders are focused on the goals which are supposed to be achieved by them or with their followers. They set effective goals i.e. SMART goals and make it easy for everyone on their team to understand. This further clarifies the ways how the goals should be achieved and employees do it more perfectly.
Humbleness is that quality that makes good leaders. Good leaders are humble, not arrogant. Humility is essential when leading a team.
Such leaders admit their mistakes and ensure that they are correcting them. They don’t blame others for others’ mistakes or lie to face the fact. Good leaders face the fact as it is. Humbly admitting your mistakes shows your strong leadership position.
As the popular saying goes “Being confident does not mean everyone will like you, rather it is being ok even if no one likes you”. Great leaders are self-confident, they are confident in their character, decisions, abilities, and actions.
They believe in themselves and show confidence in their actions. It is likely that whether you are confident or not in yourself when you appear confident people are more likely to trust and follow you. As such self-confidence is required to ensure followers will follow you.
Also Read: Autocratic Leadership Style
Creativity is the ability of a person to look differently from the same thing everyone is looking at. Creativity is an essential quality of leaders to solve uniquely the problems of the organization.
Great leaders are creative and innovative. They think creatively and produce constant innovation which is essential in this modern time to get ahead of the crowd. Creativity is the trait of a good leader that lets the leader’s team or organization achieve goals quickly while at the same time being creative in the market.
Good leaders are patient on their tasks, they know some delays or mistakes in the course of the job are inevitable. Since good leaders have good patience they just don’t wait for to things happen, in addition, they keep a good attitude while waiting.
One of the characteristics of good leaders is that they are decisive in decision-making, they make the right decision even in tough times. Decision-making is an essential quality of a leader. Great leaders are confident in their decisions, they tend to make the right decisions, not easy decisions even in hard times.
Good leaders have a positive attitude. They are optimistic and expect positive results. Every one of us has personal biases. But good leaders always acknowledge good in the situation as well as in the teams. They keep unfairness and biases out of the window and create a place where everyone thrives together.
Also Read: Democratic Leadership Style
Being ethical means knowing what is wrong and what is right for both yourself and the people around you. Good leaders possess the quality of ethics. They keep a sense of ethics first and then take actions that are fair to everyone. The ethical behavior of leaders also reduces the malpractices in the organization.
Agile leaders are the best ones to respond to the organizational changes and uncertainty of the environment. They are quick decision-makers who can take immediate yet rightful actions in times of crisis.
You as a leader should be advised that the decisions or plans you made in the past would not give the same results in the future. So it is necessary to update your decisions and decision-making ability to positively respond to the uncertainty of the business.
It is said that, if you don’t listen to what others are saying, you will only repeat what you know. Meaning that when you do not listen to others you do not learn new. Good leaders are also good listeners. They listen to their follower’s concerns and positively respond to them.
Team playing is also an essential characteristic of good leadership. Good leaders are good team players. In fact, leaders and followers are the essences of leadership.
There is no leadership if there are no followers and leaders. Good leaders create a sense of teamwork and encourage everyone to actively participate in teamwork.
Read Also: Laissez-Faire Leadership
Good leaders are self-motivated. If you aim to be a great leader you should be motivated internally. Imagine, if you are not motivated in yourself, how would you motivate others, your teams, or your followers?
Lead by Example
Good leaders do not just command and instruct their followers instead they also give examples of how things should be done. For instance, if you are self-motivated and confident in yourself, this also influences your followers to be motivated and confident.
An effective leader is also a good problem solver. Good leaders are creative and eager to solve new problems whenever arise. They know some uncertainty will surely happen and they just do not wait for it to happen rather they create new or creative solutions for such problems.
Good leaders are resilient, they never give up. They fall once and get up twice. This reminded me of a speech by an American Actor, Denzel Washington who once said “Fall the seventh time and get up at eight”.
Good leaders know difficult times will come, and they just do not give up, they also quickly recover from such situations.
As a leader, being transparent means being open and sharing everything with your followers. It is said that one of the best ways to win the trust of the followers is by being transparent.
You should keep transparency with your followers. Share openly information with them, instead of hiding. It gives clarity to followers, they know what is happening, and make them engaged in the subject.
Good communication is a cornerstone if you want someone to get what you said and actively work on it. Good leaders have the skill to communicate effectively, they practice two-way communication. They deliver their matters in a way their followers understand which enables them to do the job as expected.
One of the notable leadership qualities of good leaders is that they are aware of themselves. They know their value, know their worth, know their competency, and how capable they are.
Great leaders know how and when to show gratitude in their organizations. Even though you only said “Thank You” to one of your subordinates to show your gratitude. This does not remain only a thank you to that subordinate, this often motivates him and he might show a great willingness to work harder.
Ability to Influence
Leadership itself is defined as the ability to influence others. Good leaders inspire and influence others to act and do more. They persuade others to follow their guidance and instructions. Here the John Quincy Adams quote best matches, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.”
Good leaders have knowledge about the organizational settings and the job they are asked to complete. They know how the organization functions. This lets them provide appropriate direction to their followers which ensures the timely achievement of the organizational goals.
As a leader, you should also have a good knowledge of human psychology. Good leaders are characterized by being empathetic. They know the feelings of people around them.
Empathy leadership quality can be best described in a way that good leaders put themselves in the shoes of their people or followers. This lets them understand their followers and make the right decisions that they can best implement.
One of the important leadership qualities is that leaders are courageous. Being courageous does not mean leaders do not feel fear instead they act in the face of fear confidently.
One of the most crucial things a leader can do is to treat people with respect on a daily basis. Creating a culture of respect is about more than the absence of disrespect. Respect can be expressed in a variety of ways, but it frequently begins with being a good listener to comprehend the viewpoints of your subordinates.
Also Read: Transformational Leadership Style
Passion is the strong feeling of enthusiasm to do something. Strong leaders are passionate about their goals. They elicit the same response from their followers, who take their objectives seriously and fight diligently to realize them.
It is obvious that this is the technological world. In this modern day, a leader must possess technological skills. It is essential to understand how technology works and how it will benefit the organization.
The vast majority of businesses today are digital, and this trend will only continue to accelerate over time. As a result, it becomes clear that business leaders need to improve their technological skills in order to be more sustainable and make wiser choices.
Ability to Judge
It is necessary that as a leader, you should judge and evaluate the performance of your employees. While judging it is essential to judge objectively not subjectively.
A fair judgment is required. You should judge based on the outlined performance criteria not based on biases as well as keeping a negative attitude.
Last but not least, one of the most common leadership qualities of great leaders is that they have a growth mindset. They are great learners. They never stop learning. They know the future will be different as such they never stick for a long time with the existing skills. They believe growth is always possible and the same belief transfers to their people.
Leadership Qualities: Conclusion
The above-mentioned are the most common qualities of leadership. Identify your leadership qualities and embrace the ones you lack. No one is born a great leader, it depends on what you choose to become. Continuously learning and practicing leadership skills is the best way you will be a good leader.
Read Next: The 12 Styles of Leadership