This blogpost will discuss the 20 qualities of a good leader. A great leader needs to have the characteristics that enable them to inspire and guide others in the proper manner. These characteristics are usually called leadership traits. Organizations and teams generally look for individuals who have leadership qualities in order to create successful environments.
What are the 20 qualities of a good leader?
The 20 qualities that make up a good leader are described as follows:
Accountability of their tasks
Good leaders show great accountability in their tasks. This means being open and honest while completing even the smallest assignment. They also are accountable for any mistakes they might have made and take full responsibility for it. Through accountability, leaders can gain the admiration and respect of their peers.
Honesty with others
Leaders need to be honest with their work and with their words. They display honesty even while giving feedback and criticism. However, they are also cautious not to hurt anyone else’s feelings. Since they show great honesty and integrity, they are found to be trustworthy. This automatically gains the attraction of others.
Responsibility in their work
Great leaders are highly responsible in their work. They show responsibility and ownership of the team goals and the organizational goals as if they were personal goals. When the leaders are responsible, they can avoid careless errors which may become costly for the company. They can also make better decisions for the team.
Self-awareness is one of the most important leadership qualities. If an individual does not possess enough knowledge about themselves, they are not apt to lead others. When a leader is self-aware, they know their strengths as well as their weaknesses. They seek the support and resources of others in order to fill in their gaps.
High levels of assertiveness
Leaders may need to make quick decisions and also stand up for them during discussion and meetings. Assertiveness is basically standing up for one’s rights. This can also help them stand up for someone else who may not possess enough assertiveness or other resources. Assertiveness is required for leaders to create a position of strength and influence in the team.
Leaders also need to show high self-confidence as well as self-esteem. This is largely contributed due to their self-awareness. Leaders are confident about their skills and qualifications. This enables them to take on tricky projects and also work with difficult team members. When a leader is highly self-confident, it encourages other team members to believe them.
Communication is the key for any process in a team or an organization. Good leaders possess great communication skills in all the forms, whether it is verbal, non-verbal and even written. They particularly use their non-verbal skills like eye contact and body language to drive a message home and influence others around them.
Not only are leaders great at communicating messages, but they also listen intently. An essential technique that all leaders must practice is active listening. Through active listening, they listen with an aim to understand and not simply respond. They also show patience and empathy while listening to what others have to say, thus increasing their understanding of the message.
Empathy is another important skill that good leaders display. Empathy is different from sympathy which involves showing compassion and kindness to another person. Empathy means placing yourself in the other person’s shoes and viewing the problem from their perspective. Through empathy, leaders can understand their employees better and cater to their needs.
Organization and planning
Organization and planning is another great requisite that leaders need to have. Since an organization or any project requires a good deal of planning and organizing, leaders need to have developed these skills in the right manner. Without proper organization and planning, the work processes may fail even if they goals are set well.
Good leaders show high reliability. This means their peers or employees can rely on their presence and support at any time. It also means they are easily accessible and available for any problems and other scenarios. If the leaders are not reliable, the other team members may not approach them for anything, leading to a breakdown in team cohesion.
Innovation and creativity
Leaders need to show innovation and creativity. As an alternative, they need to be open to the innovation and creativity of others. This requires a lot of open-mindedness from the part of the leader. It is only through innovation and creativity that problems can be solved and new products and designs can be created.
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Knowledge and expertise
Team members and other employees may require assistance or resources at any point of time in the work process. In these cases, they may first approach their leader. For this, the leader needs to be highly knowledgeable and an expert in their field or profession. This helps them make the right decisions and solve problems efficiently.
Willingness to learn
Leaders are of course highly sought after members in the organization. However, even though they may possess a position of power and influence, this does not mean they should stop learning. In fact, leaders need to be open to learn more than the other team members. Through constant learning, they develop themselves continually.
Willingness to teach
Leaders should not only be willing to learn but also willing to teach others. Since team members look up to their leaders for guidance and support, they may be need to taught and trained by their leaders. While teaching, the leaders need to show great patience and tolerance with their fellow employees.
A team collaborates closely together and is very goal-oriented only when they are persuaded by the vision. The leaders of the team need to be great visionaries and take in projects that can create much larger impacts. In doing so, they impart a greater sense of purpose in their team members and allow them to relate better to the project.
Great at delegating
Leaders should also be great at delegating tasks and assignments. A project may have a shared goal but also have individual goals for the team members. Leaders should be smart enough to assign the right assignments to the right team members so that the work is done properly and efficiently. Delegating can require the leader to know the team members well on a personal level.
Nobody likes a partial leader. It can lead to conflicts and resentments in the organization and toxic politics among the management. Great leaders are non-partial to any person and accept everyone as equally responsible and accountable. When leaders are non-partial, they gain the respect and support of their team members.
Ready to celebrate diversity
Diversity is a great asset for any organization and team. But for it to be used as an asset in the right manner, it should be understood well. Good leaders take the time to communicate with individuals from different cultural and ethnical backgrounds and develop their understanding and appreciation of diversity.
Good at self-management
Since the team members or employees look up to the leader to start, guide and end the process, the leaders themselves should be great at self-management. They have great self-starters, ready to take up initiatives and manage their work processes. When they manage themselves well, they can easily manage the work of others.
In this blogpost, we have described the 20 different qualities of a good leader. We have not only explained the personal qualities a leader should have like empathy and honesty, but even other work skills like organization and self-management.
Frequently asked questions: (What are the 20 qualities of a good leader?)
What should a good leader do?
A good leader plays many roles in an organization. They are visionaries who help the team work with a greater sense of purpose. They also are strategists who implement techniques and tools to guide the work process. In addition, they also empower and motivate others to use their hidden talents and the skills for the sake of the team.
Are leaders born or made?
There have been many research studies on the topic of leadership, particularly to know if leadership traits are innate or can be developed. However, the consensus today is some traits like charisma and a sense of humor which are essential for leadership are mostly innate. Still, some other important skills like public speaking, critical thinking and organization can be developed.
What is poor leadership?
Just like good leadership can be defined by many characteristics, poor leadership also has its own set of bad behaviors and actions. Let’s look at some of in brief:
They are highly self-centered
Bad leaders don’t care about anyone but themselves. They would seek to strengthen their position in an organization and develop their careers. They do not want to empower or support their team members. In this manner, they only cater to the needs of their superiors while not caring about those working under them.
They are not good decision-makers
Teams and organizations require quick decisions to be made often. Decision-making as a skill is highly essential as you need to reduce the damage and satisfy the parties involved as much as possible. Poor leaders are terrible at making decisions. They might take too long to come up with one or may make poor decisions which hurt more than help.
They don’t listen properly
Listening is an important skill in leadership. This is not just about listening but practicing active listening through which a person can clearly understand the message while respecting and valuing the speaker. Poor leaders are not great listeners and this can lead to many misunderstandings and conflicts in the team.
They are unwilling to learn and develop
Learning and development is an important requirement for leaders and employees alike. When a leader is willing to learn, it has an added advantage of inspiring other team members to do the same. However, bad leaders are not willing to learn and grow and as a result their thinking and strategies might be highly outdated and ineffective.
They fail to keep promises
When leaders fail to keep promises, the team members stop trusting them. They thus, lose the respect of their employees. Poor leaders fail to keep promises they have made to the team. They either make unreal promises and then under-deliver or might be dishonest and make fake promises and refuse to fulfill them.
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