What makes a good leader?

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In this post, we will be discussing what makes a good leader. We will be looking closely at what good leadership is and also how leadership and emotional intelligence work together. Even though leadership may have many definitions and may come in many forms, what matters most is whether the leader can get the job done.

What makes a good leader?

A good leader is defined by many characteristics and traits such as:

  • Inspiring others
  • Being honest and showing high integrity
  • Ability to delegate tasks
  • Good problem-solving skills
  • Being solution-focused
  • Having great communication skills
  • Having the ability to relate with others
  • Being subject-matter experts
  • Willingness to help others grow
  • Focusing on a greater cause

These traits were studied in a research of 300,000 leaders, focused on the most important traits of successful leadership. We can look at them up close below.

  • Inspiring others in the workplace

 Great leaders inspire others to improve themselves. It is not done by words or policies but by actions and real-life examples. Many leaders motivate other through their lives, pushing people forward to achieve great things. If a person inspires someone to do great things in their communities, that is the sign of good leadership.

  • Being honest and showing high integrity

Being honest is not always easy. It becomes a challenge especially when things are not going according to plan. But a great leader always displays high integrity and honesty even if it is bitter. While it may create temporary pain and stress, the results will always be fruitful in the long run. When employees find their leaders honest, they also tend to be open and honest with them, creating a smoother workflow.

  • Ability to delegate tasks

Good leaders tend to split the work in a proper manner to ensure its effective completion. When team leaders are confused as to how to delegate a particular task or project, it creates mistrust among their team members. It also leads to improper understanding of responsibilities, eventually leading to ineffective task management.

While delegating tasks, it also is important for leaders to be able to connect them with the personas of their team members. If tasks are delegated randomly, then there is a chance the work also will be done randomly without any clear plan or goal.

  • Good problem-solving skills

Great problem-solving doesn’t require a leader to be a knowledgeable scientist. It also means the ability to look at the problem from different angles and perspectives and being able to knock on the right doors for the right resources. Of course, great leaders need to have efficient analytical skills with excellent people-skills as well.

  • Being solution-focused

While problems and speed bumps may arise now and then, teams need a leader who is solution focused. When the entire team is focusing on the problem, blaming others and creating more conflicts, the leader needs to steer the team towards the solution. This perspective and mindset does not come easily to everyone. It additionally needs patience, long-term thinking, critical thinking and a positive mindset.

Being solution focused also means being persevering. When one plan fails, leaders need to be equipped with backup plans so that there are no gaps in the work process. It also needs people to be proactive and do something about the situation rather than be a passive observer.

  • Having great communication skills

Good communication skills do not always mean good pronunciation, vernacular or an excellent vocabulary. It means being able to communicate the right things in the right manner with the right people. Great leaders communicate regularly and frequently with their team members. This not only builds healthy relationships but also garners an environment of mutual trust and respect.

Communication is not always by speech. Leaders need to be able to effectively communicate by any means possible. It can be through texting, e-mails, team meetings, done both face-to-face and virtually as well. When communicated right, team members can be persevered to accomplish great things in the organization.

  • Having the ability to relate with others

Leaders need to have the ability to form healthy relationships with their subordinates. Without relationships and trust, there will not be any teamwork. This may lead to a decrease in productivity.

Good leaders take the time to create healthy relationships with others. This also inspires others in the team to do the same, ultimately leading to better harmony in the team. When leaders great stronger relationships, it also motivates them further to be a better leader. The more you are invested in your people, the more you would do for them. But relationships take time, effort and patience. However, this investment leads to a great return in the future.

  • Being subject-matter experts

Team-members will always look up to the leader in every kind of way. They will want the leader to take charge, jot down the plan, create goals, assign tasks and ensure the project is completed effectively. They will also expect them to help the team maneuver tough challenges and motivate them when things are not looking bright. This can only happen when the team leader is strong in their subjects or areas of proficiency.

When team members feel that the leader is not expertized or knowledgeable, they ultimately won’t respect the leader. They also wouldn’t trust them with their problems thinking they are not capable enough to handle the challenges. Leaders should be open to building on their knowledge and skill-set, staying one level ahead to ensure proper team effectiveness.

  • Willingness to help others grow

Great leaders go out of their way to help others in the team grow. Team members work toward team as well as personal goals. The better these are aligned, the more accountable the team members become. Individual goals don’t only refer to roles for that particular project or task but also in personal lives. When leaders give a leg-up to individual team members, motivating them and helping them grow, that is the sign of great leadership.

This perspective of helping others grow needs leaders to set aside their own personal egos. It also takes extra time and effort. It needs the person to look beyond the short-term goal and focus on the bigger picture for the sake of the organization and the individual.

  • Focusing on a greater cause

Great leaders tend to be focused on a greater cause. They inspire their team members to innovate and change their communities and localities positively. They don’t look at the growth of the organization but also the growth of the world around them. They bring new perspectives and issues to the table, hoping to make a difference with the help of their team. When leaders focus on a greater cause, it inspires the team members to do the same.

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What is good leadership?

Though we see the term leader as a matter of position in an organization, it actually is the set of traits that an individual possesses. Across languages, cultures and borders, a good leader can be easily recognized by his/her observable actions. They tend to pave the way for others to follow, even though it might be something never done before. They also have a strong vision and have the ability to share their vision with others.

Good leadership is when old traditions are challenged and new processes take place, sparking innovation and creativity. And it can happen at any level in an organization, as long as two or more people interact with each other.

How is leadership related to emotional intelligence?

Emotional intelligence is crucial for great leadership. If leaders are knowledgeable experts alone and don’t possess emotional intelligence, they will ultimately fail in their leadership. Emotional intelligence help people lead better through the following ways:

  • Increased self-awareness

If the leaders themselves are not highly self-aware, then they won’t be able to perceive strengths and weaknesses in others. Leaders need to be aware of their own positives and negatives along with a strong knowledge of their thought patterns and judgements. This not only makes them self-managed and self-driven, but also helps them manage other people in a better manner.

  • High level of motivation

As someone who the team members look up to, team leaders need to be the most motivated in the group. Their enthusiasm and energy gradually trickles over and inspires everyone else to work harder for the project. Possessing strong emotional intelligence helps leaders be better motivated as they are aware of the source of their strengths.

  • Better people-skills

When leaders have high emotional-intelligence, they can manage people better. Emotional intelligence positively affects the way we look at people and work with them.


In this post, we have discussed what makes a good leader. We looked closely at what good leadership is and also how leadership and emotional intelligence work together.

Frequently asked questions:

What are the top 5 characteristics of a good leader?

The most important characteristics of a good leader are as follows:

  • They give importance to personal development

When leaders give importance to personal development, it means they know their own short-comings. Knowing their areas of weaknesses or areas that need to be improved, they tend to use this as a positive experience by developing themselves. This inspires other team members to do the same thus creating a positive learning environment.

  • They help to develop others

Good leaders not only develop themselves but also inspire and motivate others. They go out of their way to develop others, whether it be in their careers, task management, or even personal lives.

  • They have strong morals

Good leaders are usually those with strong principles and integrity. This allows people to trust them and respect them without coercing. This also naturally inspires others to be a better person.

  • They are great problem-solvers

Good leaders tend to be good problem-solvers. They not only apply critical thinking, but also bring empathy, emotional intelligence and different perspectives into the picture.

  • They make the best use of diversity

While some people might look at diversity as a challenge, a good leader tends to open up interactions between different cultures. They look at diversity as a great source of information and strength and use it to improve the quality and productivity of work.

What are the 3 most important roles of a leader?

In a team, a leader can play many different roles. Three of them are mentioned below:

  • They lead the team by creating goals and sharing their vision
  • They develop the strengths of their team members
  • They create plans and solve problems that may arise

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