10 Qualities of a Good Leader
Good leaders possess self-awareness, garner credibility, focus on relationship-building, have a bias for action, exhibit humility, empower others, stay authentic, present themselves as constant and consistent, become role models and are fully present.
If you have worked for a bad leader, you likely already have the answer to why good leadership matters. Good leadership can make the difference between enjoying your job and tolerating your job.
Before we dig into what makes a leader good, let’s think about the costs of bad leadership. Even before the Great Resignation of the COVID 19 pandemic, bad leaders cost their organizations in terms of reduced productivity and employee turnover. For example, it’s estimated that poor leadership reduces team member productivity by up to 7%, according to The Ken Blanchard Companies (PDF Source).
Additionally, bad leaders also cost their organizations by increasing the potential for employees to become burned out. Gallup research suggests that in June 2021, 74% of employees said they sometimes experienced burnout on the job, and burned-out employees are 23% more likely to visit the emergency room. The human costs of bad leadership are just as bad and include low employee morale and decreased job satisfaction. In other words, bad leaders are the difference between a job you love and a job you might leave.
Here is the list of 25 essential leadership qualities that help leaders to achieve greater success
Integrity is a core quality that every leader must possess. You cannot run any business successfully if you lack integrity. Self-development author Brian Tracy says that whenever he holds a strategic business meeting, the first value every executive agrees on is integrity.
Business leaders know- Integrity is the foundation of good leadership, and one must stand for their beliefs. No matter how hard a situation, a good leader inspires with his principles without compromising; they refrain from making false promises or take shortcuts, choosing thoughts and action over personal gain. Delivering the said promises as ethically and morally grounded is necessary to pay the dividend in the long run.
An innovative leader is not a creative genius with thought-provoking ideas but gives others the freedom to develop their ideas. You would always find people with great ideas who lack the will, determination, and fear of taking any actions. But innovative leaders are not one of them.
Innovative people are always open to new ideas and discussions. They listen to everyone actively and also motivate others to think out of the box. This quality gives them an edge over others since they are always hunting for creativity and innovations. As the innovative leader, Steve Jobs himself said, ‘Innovations distinguish between a leader and a follower.’
One of the essential leadership qualities is the possession of honesty. Honesty is expected from leaders to garner trust and respect from people for reliability. Moreover, we look upto people who are loyal to their words and are accountable. Thus, honesty is the most valued trait for any business leader or any leader in general.
4. 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 is an excellent quality to have when it comes to leadership. Good leaders listen to people with great attention and sincerity. It helps them understand people and their perspectives. Active listening builds trust and relationships in the long run. Good leaders communicate with care, focus on the person and the message; they don’t interrupt and acknowledge what is being said. And that is what the world needs; leaders who listen to its people. Acquiring this skill is not easy; it needs self-awareness and humility to respect others’ thoughts.
Self-confidence is found abundantly amidst true leaders; hence they know about their competencies and leadership qualities. They are sure about their competencies and leadership skills. They have a sense of self-assurance and self-esteem and, most importantly, believe that they can make a difference. As Rosalynn Carter rightly said, ‘You have to have confidence in your ability and be tough enough to follow through.’
Self-confidence is critical for leadership because it gives them wings to take risks, accomplish goals, and fly high. Organizational leaders take charge themselves and march with positivity and confidence. It allows them to make immediate decisions, solve organizational problems and conflicts. Good leaders take full responsibility and quick actions without passing on issues, ignoring, or procrastinating.
How to improve your leadership skills
1. Perform an inventory of your leadership skills
It’s hard to improve your leadership skills if you don’t know where you’re lacking. Because of this, one of the very first things you should do is take an inventory of your strengths and weaknesses in leadership.
You can also ask others for feedback, such as friends, colleagues, or even your boss. Because they know you well and may have even worked with you, they can provide valuable insight into your strengths and weaknesses.
2. Set goals
In the areas that you lack, you can set goals for how to further develop. In areas that you think you’re doing well in, you can set goals for how to use these skills in a leadership capacity.
For example, let’s say you lack positivity. In order to develop this trait, you could start keeping a gratitude journal that you write in every morning. This way, you start consciously focusing on the good in your life.
3. Seek out opportunities to practice
One of the best ways to better yourself is through practice. If you want to develop new leadership skills, or utilize ones you already possess, you need to seek out leadership opportunities that will challenge you.
4. Get help from others
Seeking help from others is an important step in improving your leadership skills. It allows you to learn from others and see perspectives you may not have considered on your own.
How to use leadership qualities in the workplace
You don’t have to be in a management position to exercise the qualities of an exceptional leader. Leaders are the ones who help and motivate the people around them. They have good ideas and set a good example.
Build strengths and overcome weaknesses
For example, maybe your listening skills leave something to be desired. The next time you talk to a colleague about a project, make a conscious effort to remember each point and follow up on the important ones.
Be a knowledge sponge
Learn everything you can about your industry and your organization. Seek out training for new skills. You can do this through self-directed learning, or you can participate in formal programs. You can also utilize learning modes such as microlearning.
You might have all the skills you need for your current position, but learning new things opens up future possibilities. If you’re already in a management role, continuing to learn will help you have better ideas and develop a stronger strategy.
Develop your people skills
Every day is a new opportunity to become a better leader by improving your people skills. Whether you’re starting an entry-level job or taking on a major leadership role, you’ll have many chances to:
Do outstanding work