In this blog, we list down the top leadership qualities that can transform you into a good leader. Let’s get started!
Can you think about the best boss you ever had? (What are you talking about? ‘Bosses’ and ‘best’ don’t get along together!)
Did we just telepathize your thoughts? (Well, don’t worry, we’re no Professor X!) It was just a shot in the air that apparently hit the right spot!
Now, let’s just think about the most influential boss you have had in your lifetime. It may take some time, but there might be at least one person you can call the “best boss ever”. As you have his/her picture in your mind, think about the qualities that attracted you and everyone else towards them. Was it their intelligence, confidence, humility, or communication skills? If not these, they might have a bunch of other qualities that made them likeable to your colleagues.
The role of the leader is of prime importance in a corporate setting. It’s the leader that influences the employees’ productivity in the office, increases their love for the job, and encourages growth among them.
At some point in your career, you might want to learn these leadership qualities to untap your potential and to be a better leader yourself. If that is the case, you’re in the right spot!
In today’s blog, we’ll be discussing the 25 qualities that make you a good leader and that would help you grow professionally and succeed at work! Stay tuned till the end.
But before that, let’s understand what leadership is.
What is Leadership?
A simple Google search will land you on thousands (if not more) of definitions of leadership from the greatest of minds. Perhaps the one that stands out is by the American author, leadership coach, and speaker, John Maxwell. He says, “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way”.
It means that contrary to the popular assumption, leadership is more than giving orders, having more authority and charge. An efficient leader is one who has a strong conviction in what s/he’s doing, takes challenges, and guides their team throughout the way.
Remember, good leadership is not confined to ‘titles’. That said, not every boss is a great leader, and not every great leader is a boss.
Good leadership calls for intelligence and experience with a mix of humility and an attitude toward helping others. That means good leaders don’t go around bossing over subordinates. Rather, they empower their employees to achieve success and contribute towards the organization’s growth.
Now let’s move on to the 25 leadership qualities with no further ado.
25 Leadership Qualities of Every Great Leader
1. Excellent Soft Skills
Soft skill is a broad spectrum of skills that cannot be learned from a traditional course or books (although there are tons of courses or books on the subject). Instead, soft skills are those learned by experience and by noticing others.
The ambit of soft skills for good leaders includes excellent communication, interpersonal, problem-solving, analytical, research, time management skills, and much more. Most of these will be dealt with later on, however, let’s discuss communication skills for the time being.
It’s a known fact that good leadership calls for excellent communication skills. Efficient leaders are able to put across their message in a swift way. They have excellent oratory skills that can convince people to put their trust in him/her.
Moreover, good leaders attempt to strike a perfect balance between listening and speaking. While speaking, they choose their words wisely. They often have a polite tone and are aware of the non-verbal cues they’re emitting. That brings us to the next trait of good leaders,
2. Active Listening
In a world obsessed with speaking, active listening is the rarest of rare skills found in people these days.
Most of us confuse listening with hearing, but they are not the same. Hearing is simply perceiving sounds (and reacting to them in some cases) however, active listening consists of attempting to understand what is being conveyed.
To be a good leader, being an active listener is a must. Efficient leaders attempt to listen to people and understand their points of view. They acknowledge the speakers’ efforts and do not interrupt when another person is speaking. Even if they do interrupt, they make it as unoffensive as possible. It’s true that the relationship between employers and employees thrives when the communication channel is open and when the latter feels heard by their superiors.
There is no denying that acquiring this skill is difficult. It calls for the presence of mind, concern, interest in understanding other people’s thoughts and opinions, and humility on the part of a person.
Humility is one of the most underrated skills of a good leader.
Let’s take an example. MK Gandhi has been referred to as one of the most humble leaders of all time. From his simple lifestyle to his advocacy of passive resistance and non-violence in thoughts and actions, Gandhi was undoubtedly one of the most humble and down-to-earth people. It was this attitude of Gandhi that earned him respect from people across the globe and the title of “Mahatma”.
In the corporate setting, too, it’s the humble leaders that make the best leaders. It calls for empathy towards other people and a mindset to lead with cooperation and not domination.
There’s no doubt that integrity is one of the most important qualities of a good leader. It is an integral leader who has sound ethical and moral principles in life. S/he doesn’t compromise them for personal or professional gains.
In times of adversity, they do not make false promises, instead, they deal with the situation upfront. Further, a good and integral leader is loyal to their words and does not encourage his teammates to take the shortcut to success.
5. Innovative Mind
An innovative leader is not necessarily one who pumps up creative and innovative ideas now and then. However, s/he must have an eye for seeing between the lines and thinking out of the box. Further, s/he must also allow creativity and innovation to flourish within their team.
Thus, innovative leaders are open to new ideas, discussions, techniques for doing some work, etc. They actively listen to new ideas and motivate their teammates to think outside the box. This innovative mindset is what sets them apart from the rest.
Confidence in yourself and confidence to lead a team – that’s the basic ingredient of leadership. There’s no doubt that leadership calls for big decisions that often come with big risks. This might be scary because if things go down the hill, you’ll have to bear the brunt of the mistake.
Further, confident leaders are poised and collected in their thoughts, speak with conviction, and back their decision with data or experience to win the approval of others.
Moreover, sometimes some decisions are bound to generate criticism. In such a scenario, a confident leader defends his/her stance and wins the approval of others with their conviction and demeanour.
7. Decision-Making Skills
A good leader is never indecisive, and they don’t decide in a jiffy. So, how do they decide? Well, there’s no foolproof blueprint. But, here’s what goes into the decision-making of good leaders:
- Critical evaluation of a problem/situation: Good leaders are very well aware of how one decision can make or break the company. That’s why when faced with a dilemma, they critically analyze all the possible solutions, talk with their team members and proceed with the trust of the majority.
- They go by data and experience: good leaders are not those who act merely on rumours. Instead, they search for relevant data in the field coupled with experience before concluding.
- Conviction: Although every decision has its share of pros and cons, a good leader is aware of the consequences of his decision and stands by it.
8. Problem-Solving Skills
Today, business leadership is not confined to managing teams and delegating tasks. Rather, an efficient leader is expected to have amazing problem-solving skills. It means s/he must have the eye for identifying and assessing problems, coming to a conclusion backed by adequate data, and communicating the issues with various stakeholders to solve them at the earliest.
9. Learning Mindset
There’s no doubt that we live in an uncertain and fast-paced world. Similarly, the work trends are also evolving at a pace faster than ever.
For instance, the pandemic shifted the work-from-office culture to one of work-from-home. Only an adaptable leader, with an optimistic and learning mindset, could make the best out of any situation. That’s why having a learning mindset is so crucial to be a good leader.
Unlearning is as important as having a drive for learning new things. But, what is unlearning? Simply put, it’s shedding your long-held beliefs, ideas, perceptions, and prejudices (that no longer hold relevance) and moving forward to learn the new.
For instance, MK Gandhi was a firm believer in the caste system of Hindu society. However, with the influence of BR Ambedkar, his views changed. Later, he advocated for abolishing untouchability in Indian society.
Rigidity can be a dangerous skill when you’re in a leadership position. A leader should constantly unlearn and embrace changes – both cultural and technological. This is a way to improve and create a better culture.
A couple of decades back before the dotcom boom, no one knew digital marketing. But today, companies of all sizes allot a major chunk of their marketing budget to advertise on social media platforms and create high-quality content.
A good leader is always accountable. Accountable not just for their own performance, but also for their team’s performance and organizational goals. However, being accountable is difficult. It calls for a commitment to the promises you made and, being answerable to those, you made the promise.
12. Challenges Status Quo
Good leaders play safe, but great leaders play big. They do not shy away from experimenting and challenging the status quo. Rather, they are those who take risks and try new ways to attain the success goals of their organization. Not only this, with their conviction they win the trust of various stakeholders and stick with their team even if something goes down the hill. S/he motivates and inspires others to think out of the box and try new and creative ways of completing a task.
Good leaders are those who see a silver lining in every dark cloud. They trust their decisions and their team’s ability and transcend this positive energy to their employees. This motivates their employees to work harder and achieve their success goals.
However, staying optimistic in adverse situations is difficult. Thus, good leaders train themselves to be poised in times of adversaries and to think and act rationally.
A good leader is not one who expects his team to succeed, but one who makes it possible by collaborating with them, hearing, motivating, and providing guidance to them.
Thus, s/he sets realistic goals for the employees to achieve. This motivates them to put in the effort because the desired outcome feels within their reach. On the other hand, setting unrealistic goals will demotivate the employees as they’ll think that no matter what they do their leader will never be satisfied. Thus, setting realistic goals is essential for a good leader.
There’s no denying that in today’s fast-paced and quick-fix world, people lack patience. However, patience is another quality that distinguishes a good leader from regular bosses.
During a crisis situation, a good leader should lead from the front. When a team member commits a mistake, a good leader should work with them to resolve it and motivate the employee. He should provide ample time and space for the employee to thrive.
The best teams are the ones that follow an open work culture and ensure complete transparency. Leaders should strive to provide complete clarity to their team about performance expectations and goals. They should also hold one-on-one meetings regularly to ensure transparency and motivation amongst employees. Further, a good leader knows to strike a balance between the information that must be disclosed to employees and those that shouldn’t.
17. Delegating Tasks
Delegating tasks is so essential. Why? Because let’s admit it, being the jack of all trades is tiring. Thus, a good leader must know how to delegate tasks among employees to maximize their productivity and bring better results to the table. This calls for an understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of your employees and delegating the task to those who have expertise in the same.
18. Professional Expertise
A good leader must have expertise in his field. For instance, a reputed law firm’s CEO may not know how to create an MoU. But they must certainly have a deep knowledge of corporate law and the trends and tendencies in the industry. With professional expertise in his/her field, a good leader can have an achievable vision and practical ways of accomplishing their firm’s goals.
A good leader is one who is highly motivated and infects this motivation among his employees. S/he guides them in times of adversaries and acts as their mentor. Moreover, as Dale Carnegie had put it good leaders are “heart in their approbation and lavish in their praise”. This increases the morale of employees and motivates them to put even more effort to achieve the desired results.
20. Care and Concern for Others
Good leaders treat their employees, customers, and shareholders as humans. They understand that only if their employees are physically and mentally fit, would they be of benefit to their organization. Further, they understand the importance of work-life balance and do not interfere in their employee’s personal life.
21. Passion and Drive
Great leaders are those who are passionate about what they’re doing. This makes them believe in the true vision of the organization and keeps them motivated throughout the journey. In fact, their motivation is so contagious that it infects the employees too and they strive to work harder!
22. High Ethical Values
A good leader is one who possesses high ethical and moral values and does not sacrifice them for financial or professional gains. Further, s/he must treat every employee equally and refrain from favoritism on the part of a few employees. This will foster a healthy work environment for his/her employees.
23. Techno Savvy
We’re living in a digital era and digitalization has taken over almost every business in this world. Thus, if you want your company to stay ahead in the game, having a strategic digital plan is a must. For this, you’ll need leaders who are well-versed with the latest technologies, trends, and tendencies, to take your business forward through the digital medium.
There’s no doubt that the world of business is uncertain and ambiguous. Thus, it demands resilient leaders who can bounce back from any adversary and become better than ever.
Resilient leaders are very much self-aware and know how to handle themselves in good or bad situations. They recover from adversaries without inflicting harm on anyone.
In the world of sympathizers, the need for empathy is increasing more than ever. Good leaders with sound emotional intelligence empathize with people around them. By active listening, they understand the thought process of their employees, guide them and offer moral support.
How to Improve Your Leadership Skills?
Trial and Error
The path to being a good leader is full of ups and downs. However, staying motivated and optimistic is essential. Reading books about leadership and entrepreneurship will definitely help.
While reading, keep an eye on qualities that set them apart and try to imbibe them in yourself. Further, you can take the help of the internet and read blogs, e-books, and newsletters from leadership coaches and top leaders of your industry. There are also amazing podcasts and interviews that can help you in honing your leadership skills.
Enrolling for Leadership Coaching from Bricoleur
If you want to learn the top leadership skills from professionals, enrol in our Leadership Coaching program. This program is designed to improve the communication, analytical, and problem-solving skills of the employees in an organization. Further, the program will inculcate the qualities of inclusivity and EQ training among future leaders!
Want to know more? Check out our Leadership Development service now!