12 Great Leadership Qualities You Must Look For

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Whether the aim is attaining success in business or achieving results from your teams, essential leadership traits can significantly impact your means of reaching goals. Employees and team members need influential leaders with great leadership qualities who can positively push outcomes for the better. 

Leading a team to success is not an easy task. Leadership isn’t just about making the essential large-scale decisions to keep the company operational. Effective leadership also entails being the driving force for your company’s greatness, with everyone under your employ achieving excellence. 

A man more known for his charismatic leadership, Steve Jobs, once remarked, “Management is about persuading people to do things they do not want to do, while leadership is about inspiring people to do things they never thought they could.” 

A good leader must have integrity, humility, empathy, vision, resilience, influence and accountability, to inspire others to be the same. To expand your leadership style, here’s a list of leadership skills you can learn to become an effective leader that inspires positive change. 

1. Vision

great leadership qualities

Perhaps the most important among the great leadership qualities is having a vision. This is the innate ability to see where the business or team is headed. A good leader is someone who is aware of what the organization and its teams are capable of. 

A leader understands what can be done and what it will take to make that vision a reality. True leaders can see the future while remaining active in the present. Attaining this vision is what leaders direct their energies and resources on to achieve business success. 

The difficult task for a leader is how to communicate that vision with clarity and passion for motivating others into taking action. However, a visionary leader who can relay their vision can inspire employees to act with the same purpose and passion towards this common goal. To hone this visionary communication, you can:

  • Think of one challenge within your company
  • Imagine the big picture. Visualize the success you and your team can achieve having the same productive drive. Think of the positive changes you can all benefit from achieving this success. No dream is too big for a true visionary.
  • Determine how you can communicate this vision within. Think of the conversation itself from your words and phrases. Will it be in a formal staff meeting, one on one talks, or just with a select few? How will you highlight the benefits of achieving your team’s overall success? 
  • Write down your ideas and practice the manner of communication you intend to conduct. Express your thoughts with genuine sincerity. Practice this out loud, and even to others. If you, or those you test your ideas on find it hard to believe, your employees won’t either. 

This exercise, once frequently practiced, is a convincing way of expressing one’s visions clearly and compellingly. 

2. Provides Inspiration and Empowerment

great leadership qualities

Now that you and your team share a common vision, as a leader, you must inspire and empower others to learn and succeed. In today’s workforce, only 15% of employees feel that they are empowered from various training they receive to handle leadership and management roles. 

Before they benefit from leadership programs, you must be their primary motivator to aspire to be better. Maintaining a positive and realistic presence for your team allows them to be inspired and stay motivated. One of the great leadership qualities any leader can have is the ability to empower others around them. 

As a leader, you need to build relationships, show respect, help in creating solutions to provide motivation daily. To build confidence in your team and provide empowerment, you can:

  • Positively challenge your team. Instead of just being their boss, be the inspirational figure who encourages them to take on new challenges. 
  • When things go wrong, being able to motivate your team to stay positive and bounce back is one of the essential qualities of a great leader.
  • Communicate with kindness but with 100 percent honesty. 

One of the great leadership qualities is empowering your team so that individuals can shine in their respective roles. This provides a much better work dynamic which also leads to better outcomes.

3. Unquestionable Integrity

great leadership qualities

Among the key leadership qualities, leading with unquestionable integrity is undoubtedly a priority. A survey conducted among 3,000 employees revealed that 75% consider integrity is the most critical attribute. Leaders need to realize that their words, actions, decisions, and methodologies influence a company’s actual values and culture. 

Knowing that a leader runs a company that acts with integrity lets employees know that their leader will treat them right and do what’s best for the business. Regardless of leadership roles, a good leader with unquestionable integrity will always practice what they preach. To lead with integrity, a leader must:

  • Cultivate a good reputation.
  • Create a culture that values integrity. 
  • Stay Consistent.
  • Always honor commitments.

4. Self-Confidence

great leadership qualities

Self-confidence is among the key leadership strengths that a leader must have. It is the fundamental basis from which leadership grows. Effective leaders with self-confidence think positively about the future and take the necessary risks to achieve their goals. 

On the other hand, a leader lacking self-confidence has a negative perspective that is destructive to success. This is why leaders must develop this quality and hone it even further. Here are some ways to boost self-confidence:

  • Address your self-doubt. Don’t allow your hesitations to hold you and your team back from achieving your goals. 
  • Leverage self-doubt to fuel your confidence. Focus on your competence and capabilities to set aside your self-doubt.
  • Recognize your talents. Take pride in what you’re capable of and develop your abilities and strengths.
  • Eliminate triggers. Don’t dwell on negative thinking; it never helps.
  • Bounce back from mistakes. Overcome hurdles by not allowing your stumbles to redirect you from your path to reaching success.
  • Surround yourself with people who believe and support you. When people have confidence in you and your capabilities, you can be better and start feeling great about it too.

5. Effective Communicator

great leadership qualities

Being able to communicate well with your team is one of the great leadership qualities a leader must have. Good leaders can interact with other people genuinely. Aside from being a skilled speaker, a leader actively listens to their team with attention and sincerity. This also builds better trust and camaraderie in the workplace. 

Effective communication can also help your business save money, with a study finding out that inadequate communication can cost large companies up to $64.2 million annually. Communication is among the leadership skills that can be developed through:

  • Asking your team for feedback.
  • Take time to listen before you speak.
  • Answering questions more directly.
  • Tailoring your message to fit your audience.

True leaders can effectively communicate with everyone in the team to achieve better output and build meaningful working relationships.  

6. Delegation

great leadership qualities

Among the great leadership qualities, a leader must possess is the ability to delegate effectively. Delegation is vital to maximizing productivity and team performance while increasing the sense of responsibility to every employee. A leader is the busiest person in any organization. Knowing when and how to delegate tasks allows for more time to do the most critical work. 

Being able to delegate work can also help grow a team’s skillset and keep projects moving forward. Effective work delegation is a matter of trusting the team you’re guiding to have the capabilities you’ve chosen them for. You can work on better work delegation by:

  • Taking feedback on what projects your team members want to work on.
  • Giving honest feedback to maintain standards and make sure that work is always done well. 
  • Providing workable outlines and project briefings on more complex projects.
  • Develop time management skills to get work done on time consistently.

7. Provides Avenues for Personal Development

great leadership qualities

An effective leader prioritizes personal development for employees that leads to a path towards career growth. Developing personal skills can be helpful to your company and the team and is a notion appreciated by your workers in their professional journey. Working on behaviors and skills that can lead to betterment is a healthy way of keeping things going forward. 

True leaders who can work on themselves and let others be on the same path are genuinely more adaptive, resilient, and receptive to valuable feedback. Improving personal development can be achieved by:

  • Taking courses and workshops that aren’t just limited to workplace application
  • Attending industry-relevant conferences
  • Collaborating with other departments to gain insight into how others work and develop a cohesive but independent manner of effectively getting work done. 

A good leader is a continuous learner who brings people together to achieve the same goals. They constantly push themselves in new directions in order to learn new skills. Learning from each other is also an effective way of bringing out ideas to the table that can increase impact and provide motivation for your team. 

8. Innovative

great leadership qualities

To be an innovative leader, one doesn’t need to keep churning out thought-provoking ideas but instead allows others the opportunity to develop their own. A great leadership quality a leader must have is staying open to new ideas and discussions. They actively listen to everyone and motivate others to think out of the box. A good leader also needs to stay up to date with new trends to deliver equally creative and innovative results.

In today’s tech-reliant business atmosphere, fostering innovative leadership can inspire productivity in new ways and through different approaches to keep one’s edge. Innovation for you and your team can be developed by:

  • Setting aside time to learn something new each week
  • Following technology leaders and studying industry trends
  • Attending conferences and networking events
  • Connecting with a mentor 

With the ever-evolving nature of business, relying on one’s learned skill set isn’t enough to stand out. Instead, sharing and learning innovative ideas can grow your team and organization to far greater heights.

9. Emotional Intelligence

great leadership qualities

Good leaders are remarkably self-aware. They can identify, manage, evaluate and understand their own emotions, as well as the people around them. Emotional intelligence means having great motivation, self-awareness, self-regulation, empathy, motivation, and social skills. This great leadership quality allows leaders to act in control and take calculated decisions without getting carried away. 

A leader is someone who inspires and guides rather than simply directing and assigning tasks. They can relate to others without being cynical. They share their motivations and develop authentic connections, which is needed for a more meaningful workplace. To build empathy, so your team members are more open around you, you can:

  • Consider how your team members are feeling.
  • Examine how your words and actions affect other people.
  • Responding instead of just reacting to conflict and different situations.
  • Providing space for others to process certain situations.

A simple and straightforward way of expressing empathy and high emotional intelligence is by asking how your employees feel. A simple “How are you today?” can impact someone struggling and provide the right motivation just when they need it. 

10. Learning Agility

great leadership qualities

Learning agility is the ability to know what to do when you have no idea what to do. Being able to excel even in unfamiliar circumstances is among the great leadership qualities of every good leader. 

Agile leaders can choose the best response to organizational change and uncertainty. Learning agility is the best predictor of executive success, even more than intelligence and education. However, learning agility is rare, with a study revealing that only 15 percent of people from Fortune 100 companies are genuinely agile learners. Leaders who are quick in decision-making can take more impactful and immediate action, especially in times of crisis. Not everyone in the team can make calculated decisions that matter, so everyone must rely on leaders to do so. 

Leaders in charge know what strategies to take and have the authority to adapt when past systems become obsolete. Under the supervision of reliable leaders who can face uncertainty, organizations and their teams can thrive through anything. To develop your learning agility, you can:

  • Challenge yourself to come up with new solutions for each new problem you face.
  • Brainstorm new ideas as a regular habit – the less traditional the approach, the better. 
  • Open yourself to the process of receiving open and honest feedback. Conduct regular after-action reviews to understand different scenarios a whole lot better.
  • When facing something new, look for similarities to things you may have done in the past. Draw on those similarities to find a functional and unique approach. 
  • Take risks. When facing new challenges that don’t involve serious consequences, try a different approach that allows you to learn from possible failure. Knowing how to handle these scenarios can make it easier to frame yourself for more challenging situations. 

Regardless of leadership skills and style, learning agility depends on the openness to being wrong. This provides better context towards newer and more effective approaches for different scenarios instead of the common culture of discrediting errors and mistakes.

11. Fosters Strategic Thinking

great leadership qualities

Leaders are constantly challenged to look for ways to keep their team and organization moving forward. While keeping everything on track, leaders also have to anticipate the next essential steps to achieve success. Whether it includes modifying internal processes to acquire an edge through technological advancement, leaders must initiate this developmental process and see things through. 

A good leader can motivate their team members to join in this strategic thinking to gain positive results. Strategic thinking can be developed and encouraged through:

  • Listening to all ideas. Regular brainstorming sessions with different techniques provide insight from different views, providing the needed solutions for many other issues. 
  • Giving feedback that is backed by data. Nowadays, vital information is available to everyone with just a click. Having reliable data can provide the necessary support towards specific actions that can positively affect your plans and manner of implementation. 
  • Letting your team carry out their ideas. Effective leaders can watch from the sidelines and allow their team to execute their made plans. This aspect of supervised autonomy shows your trust and respect and will enable them to learn from their mistakes. 

Strategic thinking is an essential quality for a leader’s self-awareness and the development of the whole team. Therefore, make it a priority to encourage new ideas and foster new approaches to achieve your shared goals better.

12. Takes Accountability

great leadership qualities

Providing some autonomy for the teams you lead may be vital, but that doesn’t mean that leaders abandon accountability for a team’s work. Supporting your team includes taking accountability when things don’t go as planned. Goals aren’t always met, but not meeting expectations also provides other growth opportunities. Leaders who express loyalty to their teams even at the most discouraging moments prove that the respect and relationships developed go well beyond conventional leadership roles. 

When a leader takes accountability for their team, it becomes a learning moment for everyone to inspire and motivate them to do better. You can work on taking accountability as a leader by:

  • Taking the lead to provide solutions when goals aren’t being met.
  • Effectively communicating with your team as to how and why expectations weren’t met and what your team can do to achieve improvement.
  • Monitor your team’s progress without stifling their capabilities

Being a leader of a team means always remembering that it’s still your team. A leader owns up to the whole team’s shortcomings and works with them to solve challenges. Most employees actually appreciate leaders who provide feedback, despite the 47% of workers who only receive insightful feedback from their manager “only a few times or less” in a year. 

This is a great leadership quality that focuses on having a growth mindset to help you and your team become better equipped for just about anything.

Conclusion

An effective leader is vital to every process of achieving success. Teams look up to their leaders for guidance and support, while leaders inspire others to strive to be better. Learning how to lead more effectively is a constant challenge for every leader. 

However, leaders can face it all from cultivating great leadership qualities to continue working towards becoming better versions of themselves and their team members. Having the confidence and knowing that you are a leader means knowing that your impact on your organization can only keep increasing, with the limitless potential as you strive to further yourself. 

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