The 15 Leadership Qualities That Really Make Great Leaders (2023)

Everyone defines leadership differently, but I really like John C. Maxwell's definition of leadership: "A leader is a person who knows exactly where to go and leads the way forward." No matter how you define a leader , it can be the key to both success and failure.

A great leader has a vision for the future and knows how to turn their ideas into real success stories. In this article, we'll look at some of the key leadership qualities that separate a great leader from a bad one.

Do you want to be a great leader? Here are 15 leadership qualities that make great leaders.


honesty and integrity

Dwight David Eisenhower, the 34th President of the United States, once said: “The highest quality of leadership is unquestioned integrity. Without integrity there can be no real success, whether in a group, on the football field, in the military, or in the office."

Honesty and integrity are two important factors that make a good leader. If you don't have these traits yourself, how can you expect your followers to be honest?

Leaders thrive when they adhere to their core values ​​and beliefs, which would not be possible without ethics.



To be an effective leader, you must have enough confidence to make sure others follow your commands. If you are unsure of your decisions and qualities, your subordinates will never follow you.

As a leader, you need to be confident and show some bravery and determination to earn the respect of your subordinates. That doesn't mean you should be overly confident, but it should at least reflect the level of confidence it takes to make sure your followers believe you're a leader.


motivate others

Leading is probably the most difficult task for a leader: convincing others to follow. This is only possible if you lead your followers by example. Faced with a very difficult situation, they will look at you and see how you react to the situation. If you handle it well, they will follow.

As a leader, you should think positively and this positive attitude should be reflected in your actions. Remain calm under pressure and keep motivated.

As John Quincy Adams says, "When your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, achieve more, and be more successful, you are a leader." If you can successfully motivate your subordinates, you can empower all current and future Master challenges easily.

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commitment and passion

Leadership drives your team to look up to you, and if you want your people to do their best, you need to have a passion for it, too.

When your teammates see you getting your hands dirty to win, they'll do their best too. This will also help you earn the respect of your subordinates and breathe new life into your team members by helping them do their jobs better.

When they sense that you are not fully engaged or lack passion, it becomes a difficult task for leaders to motivate their followers to achieve their goals.


great communicator

If you don't clearly communicate your vision to your team and show them strategies to achieve their goals, you will struggle to get the results you want.

Put simply, if you can't effectively communicate your message to your team, you'll never be a good leader.

A great communicator can be a great leader. Big words have the power to motivate employees and push them to do more than they ever thought possible. If you use them effectively, you can also get better results.


Decision Making Skills

A great leader must not only have a vision for the future, but also have the ability to make the right decisions at the right time.

A leader's decisions have a profound impact on their team. A leader must think deeply before making a decision, but once the decision is made, they must stick to it.

While most leaders make their own decisions, it is strongly recommended that you consult with key stakeholders before making any decisions. After all, they are the ones who will benefit or suffer from your decisions.



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When it comes to accountability, you must follow the approach emphasized by Arnold H. Glasow, who said, "A good leader takes on as much responsibility as they deserve."

Make sure each of your subordinates is accountable for what they do. If they do a good job, you can pat them on the back and encourage them. But if they're not keeping up, be honest and let them admit their mistakes and work together to improve.

When you hold employees accountable for their actions, you give your subordinates a sense of ownership and take their jobs more seriously.


Delegation and Empowerment

You can't do everything, can you? It is important for a manager to concentrate on the core tasks and leave the rest to others.

By that I mean empower your followers and assign tasks to them.

Continuing to manage your subordinates down to the smallest detail creates a lack of trust and, more importantly, you can't focus on the important things you should be doing.

Assign tasks to your subordinates and see how they behave. Provide them with all the resources and support they need to achieve their goals and give them the opportunity to take responsibility.


creativity and innovation

What is the difference between a good leader and a follower? Steve Jobs, the greatest dreamer of our time, answered this question like this: "The difference between a leader and a follower is innovation."

To thrive in today's fast-paced world, leaders must be creative and innovative.

Creative thinking and constant innovation are the keys to making you and your team stand out from the crowd. Go out of the box, come up with unique ideas and turn those ideas and goals into reality.



Last but not least, empathy is important. Leaders need to develop empathy for their subordinates and empathy for their followers.

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Unfortunately, most leaders follow an authoritarian style and completely ignore empathy. Because of this, they fail to create a stronger connection with their followers.

Understanding your employees' struggles and feeling their pain is the first step to becoming an effective leader. Even that isn't enough until you work hard and provide your followers with the right solutions to their problems.



When push comes to shove, the resistant keep going. You've probably heard this saying many times, but did you know that great leaders also follow this rule?

You are resilient, adaptable and have a positive attitude. No matter how difficult the situation, you'll find them rallying their followers.

While most people are busy complaining about the problem, great leaders are always focused on the solution, not the problem itself.


emotional intelligence

Leaders with high emotional intelligence always have higher levels of influence, but how do they increase their influence and get people to believe what they say? They do this by making emotional connections with people. This is where emotional intelligence comes into play.

Here are some reasons why leaders should have high emotional intelligence.

Effective management of emotions

better social conscience

perfect communication

conflict resolution

With emotional intelligence, leaders can control their emotions so that negative emotions don't interfere with their ability to make decisions. Consequently, leaders with high emotional intelligence are less likely to make hasty decisions.

Also, leaders with high emotional intelligence are good at understanding the emotions of others and caring about their feelings. That's not all; Leaders with this leadership quality are not only better at dealing with conflicts, but also play an important role in resolving them.

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"Pride makes us act, humility makes us true. --Thomas Merton"

How do you feel when you are promoted to a management position? You will be proud. A great leader is always selfless and always thinking of his followers.

For this reason, the leadership style of most great leaders places a heavy emphasis on problem solving and team dynamics, rather than a focus on self-promotion.



One of the best ways to earn the trust of your followers is through transparency. You must share information openly with them, not hide it.

By allowing your followers to see the big picture, they will align with your vision and help you achieve your goals. Most importantly, transparency gives your followers clarity and autonomy, making them feel empowered while keeping them engaged.


vision and goals

"Good business leaders create a vision, articulate it clearly, are passionate about it, and drive it tirelessly. -jack Welch"

Great leaders always have vision and goals. Not only do they envision the future, but they also share their vision with their followers.

When your followers can see the big picture, they can see where they're going. A great leader goes the extra mile to explain why they are moving in that direction and shares the strategy and action plan to get there.


To join the elite club of great leaders you must possess all of these qualities, but if you lack some of them, you may find it difficult to make a name for yourself in the executive world.

You must set a good example for others. This is where your commitment, passion, empathy, honesty and integrity come into play.

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Excellent communication skills and decision-making skills also play a crucial role in executive success and failure. Finally, innovation and creative thinking along with a vision for the future are some of the must-have leadership qualities that make a great leader.


The 15 Leadership Qualities That Really Make Great Leaders? ›

A good leader should have integrity, self-awareness, courage, respect, empathy, and gratitude. They should be learning agile and flex their influence while communicating and delegating effectively. See how these key leadership qualities can be learned and improved at all levels of your organization.

What are the top 10 leadership qualities that make good leaders? ›

The Top 10 Qualities of a Great Leader
  • Strategic & Critical Thinking. ...
  • Interpersonal Communication. ...
  • Authenticity & Self-Awareness. ...
  • Open-Mindedness & Creativity. ...
  • Flexibility. ...
  • Responsibility & Dependability. ...
  • Patience & Tenacity. ...
  • Continuous Improvement.

What qualities make a good leader answer? ›

A good leader should have integrity, self-awareness, courage, respect, empathy, and gratitude. They should be learning agile and flex their influence while communicating and delegating effectively. See how these key leadership qualities can be learned and improved at all levels of your organization.

What are the 3 most important qualities of a great leader? ›

If you want to become an effective and inspiring head of your team, focus on honing these three essential leadership qualities.
  • Communication. ...
  • A positive attitude. ...
  • The ability to delegate.

What are the 7 leadership qualities of great leaders? ›

While some people might naturally be drawn to management roles, good leadership is a combination of skills that anyone can master.
  • Strategic thinking. ...
  • Delegation. ...
  • Communication. ...
  • Integrity. ...
  • Empathy. ...
  • Flexibility. ...
  • Enthusiasm.
Jul 30, 2021

What are the top 7 keys to successful leadership? ›

7 Keys to Becoming a Super Effective Leader
  1. Don't take It all too seriously. Without a doubt, running a company is serious business. ...
  2. Recognize achievements. Every employee wants to do a good job. ...
  3. Set goals. ...
  4. Delegate wisely. ...
  5. Think about lasting solutions. ...
  6. Make time for employees. ...
  7. Communicate.
Jan 29, 2018

What are the 21 qualities of a good leader explain? ›

These qualities are as follows: Character, Charisma, Commitment, Communication, Competence, Courage, Discernment, Focus, Generosity, Initiative, Listening, Passion, Positive Attitude, Problem Solving, Relationships, Responsibility, Security, Self-Discipline, Servanthood, Teachability, and Vision.

What 3 words would best describe your leadership style? ›

Words such as influence, wisdom, inspiration, passion, drive, power, knowledge, credibility, energy, foresight, sensitivity, charisma, action, perseverance, uniting, and responsible are just a few of the terms that are used to define leadership (out of over 16,000 responses).

What are 3 skills for strong leadership? ›

Valuable leadership skills include the ability to delegate, inspire and communicate effectively. Other leadership traits include honesty, confidence, commitment and creativity.

What are the three keys to be a leader? ›

Intelligence, relevant business and professional knowledge, experience and skills.

What are the 4 keys to leadership? ›

Here are 4 keys to successful leadership – Self-awareness, openness to change, asking for help, and building a network.

What are 4 important leadership qualities? ›

What is a Successful Leader?
  • Possess Self-awareness. One of the most important qualities of a good leader is self-awareness. ...
  • Garner Credibility. ...
  • Focus on Relationship Building. ...
  • Have a Bias for Action. ...
  • Exhibit Humility. ...
  • Empower the Team. ...
  • Stay Authentic. ...
  • Present Yourself as Constant and Consistent.

What are the four 4 most important leadership characteristics? ›

Effective leaders are competent, skilled, secure, and considerate. These leaders find time for everyone; they are genuine and authentic in their communications and actions.

What are the six 6 major qualities of a good leader? ›

These six traits are inspired by my book on applied ethics called Cap al cor del món ('Getting to the heart of things').
  • 1/ Self-demanding attitude. ...
  • 2/ Learning from failure. ...
  • 3/ Authenticity. ...
  • 4/ Acceptance. ...
  • 5/ Empathy. ...
  • 6/ Take the long view.

What are the 14 leadership traits? ›

The precursor to the Marine Corps' 14 Leadership Traits (Bearing, Courage, Decisiveness, Dependability, Endurance, Enthusiasm, Initiative, Integrity, Judgment, Justice, Knowledge, Loyalty, Tact, and Unselfishness) originally appeared in the Department of the Army Pamphlet No. 22-1 “Leadership” in 1948.

What are the 6 types of good leader? ›

The six styles of leadership
  • Coercive leadership.
  • Authoritative leadership.
  • Affiliative leadership.
  • Democratic leadership.
  • Pacesetting leadership.
  • Coaching leadership.
Jul 24, 2020

What are the 8 principles of leadership? ›

If you wonder whether your own management style is conducive to success, consider the following eight leadership principles and then ask yourself how well you embody them.
  • Intellectual Curiosity. ...
  • A Talent for Goal-Setting. ...
  • Wise Delegation. ...
  • Accountability. ...
  • Respect. ...
  • Mutual Trust. ...
  • Efficiency. ...
  • Commitment To Diversity.
May 7, 2019

What are the 12 proven habits of winning leaders? ›

Among others, Byrd emphasizes these healthy habits: " Get your people talking " Put good work ahead of money " Don't try to go it alone " Never rest on your laurels " Earn credibility every day " Pursue new ideas no matter what " Humble yourself By using Byrd's twelve proven practices, leaders in all businesses and ...

What are the 12 qualities of 21st century leaders? ›

25 Essential 21st Century Leadership Skills
  • Leaders Serve. ...
  • Cultivate Courage. ...
  • Think in Terms of Relationships. ...
  • Create Value. ...
  • Advance Your Customers' Values to Create Value. ...
  • Vision Remains the Foundation of Leadership. ...
  • Make Management a Vital Part of Your Leadership. ...
  • Aim to be Best in the World.

What are leadership qualities 11? ›

Top 11 Qualities Of A Good Leader
  • Think about some of the most influential leaders in your life. They could be family members, mentors, co-workers, celebrities or even historical figures. ...
  • What is Leadership? ...
  • Empathy. ...
  • Confidence. ...
  • Creativity. ...
  • Accountability. ...
  • Transparency. ...
  • Delegation.
Apr 29, 2021

How do you describe a leader in one sentence? ›

“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way.” supreme quality of leadership is unquestionably integrity.” Without it, no real success is possible, not matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field , and army, or in an office.

What is leadership in one word? ›

1 administration, management, directorship, control, governorship, stewardship, hegemony. 2 authoritativeness, influence, command, effectiveness; sway, clout.

What is a strong leadership style? ›

Strong leadership is when you can encourage, motivate, inspire and challenge your team to produce their best work. Strong leadership connects a team together through a common purpose and builds relationships in the workplace that allow for effective communication, more creativity and better problem-solving skills.

What are the three 3 C's of an effective leader? ›

Competence, commitment and character -- three equal, but required traits -- none more important than the other. Leadership is both an art and science, and requires practice to hone, but mastering the three "C's" will provide a strong foundation upon which to grow.

What 3 qualities do you look for in your leadership team? ›

Top 10 Qualities of a Good Team Leader
  • Leadership is not all about you. ...
  • Honesty, Integrity and Humility. ...
  • Hold your team (and yourself) accountable. ...
  • Good leaders make a decisive commitment to a vision. ...
  • Know thy self and believe in thy self. ...
  • Successful team leaders speak well and listen better. ...
  • Achieve goals in good time.

What is the most important skill as a leader? ›

The ten most important leadership qualities
  1. Communication. The ability to communicate is deemed an important leadership quality by many. ...
  2. Set a good example. ...
  3. Readiness to take on and give up responsibility. ...
  4. Motivation. ...
  5. Recognise and foster potential. ...
  6. Tolerate mistakes. ...
  7. Flexibility. ...
  8. Set goals and expectations.

What is the golden rule of leadership? ›

It, being the Golden Rule of leadership: Leading others is a privilege that is earned not a right. Leaders who understand that leading others is a privilege understand that leading first and foremost, is about service.

What is the core of leadership? ›

With self-awareness, communication, influence, and learning agility as the core of your leadership skills development, you can be confident that you're building capacity for new opportunities and the next level of responsibility — because these 4 are core leadership skills needed for everyone, and every career stage.

What are 5 effective leaders? ›

What makes an effective leader? While the answer to this question can vary widely based on the industry, the results from a number of studies by Michigan State University show that effective leaders share five essential skills: innovation, vision, inner values, inspiration, and communication.

What is the 7 most common leadership style? ›

The seven primary leadership styles are: (1) Autocratic, (2) Authoritative, (3) Pace-Setting, (4) Democratic, (5) Coaching, (6) Affiliative, (7) Laissez-faire.

What are the 4 mindset for effective leadership? ›

Leadership research conducted by GP Strategies uncovered the need for four particular mindsets to lead effectively: growth, inclusive, agile, and enterprise. Inside a steady-state or business-as-usual environment, these mindsets can ground leaders, helping them support their teams, each other, and their organization.

What are the 3 most important leadership styles should a leader possess? ›

Lewin identified three styles of leadership: Autocratic, Democratic, and Laissez-faire.

What are the four C's of leadership? ›

The importance of the four C's in leadership: Candor, Commitment, Courage and Competence are necessary to maintain strong and effective soldiers. A reflection of a good leader shows in his followers.

What is the most important trait of a leader? ›

The ten most important leadership qualities
  1. Communication. The ability to communicate is deemed an important leadership quality by many. ...
  2. Set a good example. ...
  3. Readiness to take on and give up responsibility. ...
  4. Motivation. ...
  5. Recognise and foster potential. ...
  6. Tolerate mistakes. ...
  7. Flexibility. ...
  8. Set goals and expectations.

What is strong leadership? ›

Effective leadership is the ability to successfully influence and support a team or group of people. It's important to point out there's much more to effective leadership than just delegating from the top. A great leader is also a great negotiator.

What are the 6 attributes leadership mindset? ›

The Six Attributes of a Leadership Mindset: Flexibility of Mind, Mindfulness, Resilience, Genuine Curiosity, Creating Leaders, Enterprise Thinking.

What are the 12 types of leadership? ›

12 LEADERSHIP STYLES for successful leaders
  • Bureaucratic.
  • Transactional.
  • Authoritarian.
  • Authoritative.
  • Visionary.
  • Pacesetting.
  • Democratic.
  • Coaching.
Jul 1, 2020


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