14 Qualities That Define a Great Leader

Whether it is running a huge multinational company or a small local school, it is impossible to do it without an effective leader. Qualities that make a good leader are unique and difficult to master. A Forbes article reveals that only 3% of people can master the qualities of good leadership. But with practice, you can be a great leader too! We have researched and hand-picked some of the best qualities that make a good leader according to experts.

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It is said that leaders are the beacon of change. A leader has a significant influence on his employees and encourages them to achieve a common goal. There are various definitions of what a good leader should be like.

To be a truly effective and great leader, just qualifications isn’t enough. Only 19% of organizations say they are “very effective” at developing leaders. A great leader needs to have drive, ambition, and charisma.

Here are 14 qualities that all great and effective leaders have in common.

What Are The Qualities That Make A Good Leader?

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1. Devoted And Dedicated

“Dreams and dedication are a powerful combination.” —William Longgood.

A great leader is a dedicated soul. He is highly devoted and faithful to his job and his workplace. He is ready to give his all to his employees as well as his company.

When a leader has the passion, perseverance, and self-determination to do the best for others, he will eventually set a very optimistic example in front of his juniors.

Dedicated leaders have the qualities that allow them to overcome barriers and have effective communication, planning, and management skills. This will help them to stand out from the crowd.

2. Knowledgeable And Wise

“Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it.” ― Albert Einstein

One of the qualities that make a good leader is that he or she is highly knowledgeable and wise. Now being knowledgeable doesn’t mean that you have to have academic or bookish knowledge.

Rather these leaders have become known through their work and life experiences over the years.

A great leader will use all his work and life experiences while making any decisions or planning any events. Knowledgeable leaders have the understanding and skills that are required to excel in any given task.

They also have the interest to keep learning through various resources like books, courses, training, workshops, etc.

3. Humble And Accountable

“The price of greatness is responsibility.” – Winston Churchill.

All leaders are human, which means they all make mistakes from time to time. The best leaders are humble leaders. They not only treat others with respect but also give them credit when it is due.

In a recent survey of 1,200 professionals, 88 percent said receiving praise from a manager was either “very” or “extremely” rewarding.

A leader who is willing to take responsibility for his mistakes sets a positive example in front of others.

They are also ready to answer for the outcomes of their decisions, behavior, and actions, no matter if it is good or bad. Being grounded is indeed one of the qualities that make a good leader.

4. Emotionally Stable

“It isn’t stressed that makes us fall– it’s how we respond to stressful events.” – Wayde Goodall

One of the leadership qualities that make a good leader is an emotional stability. Emotionally stable leaders are calm during the storm. Their behavior is predictable. Their employees feel comfortable and safe around them.

They can easily address the emotions in the workplace. They can manage their anger and disappointment strategically without offending anyone.

5. Excellent Listener

“The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said.” – Peter Drucker

A great leader has to be an excellent listener too. Listening is the most important skill a leader can possess.

A survey conducted by Interact found that 69% of managers are often uncomfortable communicating with employees.

Communication skills may seem easy, but it is one of the toughest skills to master.

To listen to means to be more present, alert, engaged, open, and flexible. Leaders need to be available to hear the grievances of not only the customers but also their employees.

They should be able to understand their problems and assure them of finding a solution. It is said that leaders who don’t listen will eventually be surrounded by people who have nothing to say, which will eventually harm the company.

6. Impartial Behavior

“The way you see people is the way you treat them, and the way you treat them is what they become.” – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Another important quality that a great leader exhibit is his impartial behavior towards his employees. Being fair to all is what people want, and good leaders truly display this. They usually do not have any favorites in their team and treat everyone equally.

When it comes to rewarding the employees for the performance, they do it based on the results and not favoritism. A good leader is also impartial while evaluating his employees.

He/she always promises justice to their employees and treats them equally, especially while solving workplace problems.

7. Bridge Builder

“Choose a leader who will invest in building bridges, not walls.” ― Suzy Kassem

One of the qualities that fit under the definition of a good leader is acting as bridge builders. An effective leader also acts as a bridge between his organization and the community. He works to serve and fulfill the needs of the community.

A leader also bridges the gap between the employees through communication and motivation.

They conduct regular meetings, have team-building exercises, and resolve conflicts. They also bridge the gap between different ideas and reality.

8. Confident And Assertive

“A leader is a dealer in hope.” — Napoléon Bonaparte

Every great leader needs to be not only confident but also assertive in whatever he or she does. This quality is essential, especially when times are hard and things get tough.

A leader should not give up on his employees or his company during difficult circumstances.

Confidence is the basis on which leadership grows and is the biggest definition of a good leader. Confidence and assertiveness are the basic ingredients of effective leadership.

A confident leader always dares to direct his team towards fruitful results. It is easier to trust a leader who displays self-confidence and positivity.

9. Energetic

“The best thing a leader can bring to his team is his energy.” ― Andy Stanley

Great leaders are very enthusiastic about what they do. They are energetic and do what they love with great excitement and zeal. You can easily identify a great leader through the positive energy that they fill the room with.

They are both physically and mentally healthy, have a great sense of humor, and transfer and fuel this energy into their subordinates.

Working under an energetic leader not only inspires the employees but also help them to achieve great results.

It is reported that energetic leaders provide:

  • 114% higher sales,
  • 70% lower turnover,
  • 71% higher customer satisfaction
  • and 90% lower absenteeism, to name a few.

Being active and energetic is one of the qualities that make a good leader. So if you wish to be a great leader, you must fake it until you become it.

10. Visionary

“Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.” – Warren Bennis

A person without a vision of the future doesn’t fall under the definition of a good leader. A great leader has a clear idea and a vision of what they want to do and where they want to go.

They have a clear plan of how to get to their goals. Leaders have a clear vision and are mindful of what is going on in the organization at all times. They can see the potential in not only the organization but also in their employees.

11. Smart And Quick Thinker

“Don’t find fault, find a remedy.”- Henry Ford

A leader needs to be clever and effective, especially when it comes to making difficult decisions with limited time and information. An effective and great leader shows great skills during critical times. They possess critical thinking skills as well as various problem-solving skills.

Good leaders also surround themselves with trusted counselors so that they can access a continuous flow of information to make better decisions.

Smart leadership is all about making the most of your work hours by learning to delegate, prioritize, and simplify the different tasks.

12. Creative And Productive

“No great discovery was ever made without a bold guess.” — Sir Isaac Newton

One size does not fit all. Similarly, one solution may not apply to different problems or different situations. Therefore, creativity is essential.

The definition of a good leader is that they are someone who can think out of the box and find solutions to the existing crisis.

Creative leaders refuse to follow the same old orthodox rules and methods. They desire to bring about innovation in whatever they do. Leaders are curious to learn new things. They are not afraid to take risks.

Moreover, they also encourage and approach their juniors to think outside the box. They motivate their subordinates to take on challenging tasks and manage their time and resources effectively.

In 2010, an IBM survey found that creativity was ranked the most important leadership quality for business success, outweighing integrity, and global thinking.

13. Organized

“It’s not about money. It’s about the people you have, and how you’re led.” – Steve Jobs

A great leader is also well organized and can execute all the duties and responsibilities effectively. They can easily manage the time as well as the resources in hand. Many definitions of good leaders focus on how being organized is an important factor.

Leaders exactly know what they need to do and when they need to do it. They are also well planned and have proper control over how things happen in the organization. Organized leaders are profitable leaders.

14. Selfless And Inspirational

“Leaders don’t set out to climb the ladder. They rise by lifting others up.” — Jo Miller

The organization works on the formula of WE and not I. A great leader always puts the customers, organization, and employees ahead of their own needs. They know that when they help others succeed, they succeed. Leaders are great team players.

Selflessness is all about strength and not about weakness. A selfless leader is focused and can’t be distracted by “what was” and “what if.” Moreover, they are happy to see others prosper. Leaders inspire their teams. Great leaders lead others by example.

Key Takeaways On Definition And Qualities Of A Good Leader

  • Leaders play an important role in the development of the company, society, or nation.
  • To be a truly effective and great leader, just qualifications isn’t enough.
  • A great leader needs to have drive, ambition, and charisma.
  • The greatest definition of a great leader is a dedicated soul.
  • Moreover, they have a clear plan of how to get to their goals.
  • A leader also bridges the gap between the employees through communication and motivation.
  • Great leaders lead by example and inspire people around them.
  • Have a look at the infographic to understand the qualities of good leadership.

Final thoughts,

Being a leader is a huge responsibility conferred upon a person. To become a great leader and stand apart from the crowd, you must have these qualities within you. One needs to evaluate their selves and find out which qualities they lack.

These are the list of leadership qualities that make a good leader. Different successful leaders over the years’ have displayed different sets of qualities that were appropriate to their personality or the situation. However, focus, determination, courage, and kindness remain the basis of leadership qualities worldwide.

Your Thoughts

What is your definition of a good leader? Which leader is your inspiration? What do you think are the qualities that make a good leader?

Do share your thoughts with us in the comments section. Also, stay tuned with us for more interesting content by subscribing to our website.

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Felicia is a full-time teacher and a freelancer with interests in blogging. Also, a die-hard fan of the FRIENDS series.