List of Good Leadership Qualities You Need

Updated on December 31, 2016

What makes a good leader? That's a great question. In my view, a leader is someone who motivates people and is able to gain their respect and help them grow. Sam Houston, a 19th century American politician, is quoted as saying, “A leader is someone who helps improve the lives of other people or improve the system they live under". I like this quote and tend to agree with it. But have you ever wondered exactly what qualities make a leader? There are a number of leadership qualities that many great leaders seem to share. Do you have what it takes to be a great leader?

Source

A Leadership Qualities List

Below is a list of traits that many great leaders share.

  • A vision - It is important for good leaders to have a clear vision of what success looks like, share that vision with their followers, and have an idea as to how to go about achieving it. Jack Welch, former chairman and CEO of General Electric said, "Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision and relentlessly drive it to completion."
  • Ambition - Ambition, or desire to succeed is a very important trait of good leaders. When a person is ambitious, that leads to persistence, and achieving goals.
  • Courage - Courage is a great skill for good leaders to have. A courageous leader takes the actions s/he needs to take, even though s/he may be afraid of taking the necessary actions.
  • Delegation skills - Effective delegation skills are important in leaders as by delegating work, leader free up their own time, develop their subordinates, and motivate the workforce.
  • Empathy - Empathy is the ability to put oneself into someone else's shoes and understand how they feel. This skill provides the ability to understand the impact actions will have on others, taking into consideration the workforce.
  • Integrity - A leader serves as a role model. As a role model to followers, a good leader should have integrity. Integrity involves the three R’s: Respect for self; Respect for others; and Responsibility for all your actions.
  • Optimism - It's important for a leader to be optimistic, provide followers and/or subordinates hope and to continually improve.
  • Prudence - Prudence is an important trait in leaders but one that's hard to come by these days. A prudent person considers different consequences before making final decisions. This type of leader makes intelligent decisions by using reasoning for long-term success.
  • Reliability - Reliability is an important trait in leaders because when a leader is reliable, people count on them. To be reliable, you need to be dependable, which in turn builds trust from followers.
  • Social skills - Social skills are important in leaders because leaders need to socialize with others. Leaders need to develop and guide others and people are more willing to follow leaders who they are able to socialize and relate to.

Most of the above-mentioned attributes can be studied, tried out through trial and error and perfected, although each one alone don’t make a leader. I think in addition to these qualities, there are two essential personal characteristics, intelligence and charisma, which are necessary for effective leadership and these two traits cannot be learned. Charisma is a magnetic quality one is born with, that most people don’t possess. We know charisma when we see it and I think that when we think of good leaders, those that really stand out, they are all charismatic people – JFK, Martin Luther King, Clinton, Barack Obama, Tony Blair, Nicolas Sarkozy, etc. These two factors, coupled with the leadership qualities I mention above are the factors that lead people. People connect emotionally with a charismatic leader in such a way that they get energized and feel a desire to act together toward achieving the leader’s mission.

Leadership is important because it provides an inspirational and influential figure to lead a group of people toward the picture of the future the leader paints. Good leaders propose organizational goals in such ways that the followers feel inspired, confident, stimulated, hopeful, and strive to achieve the leader’s vision. Leadership is essential to the success of an organization.

What’s your leadership style? I lean more toward the

See results

Various Styles of Leadership

According to "Leadership That Gets Results" by Daniel Goleman, there are essentially six different leadership styles. Each style comes from different competencies that a person has and each one can work best in specific situations. As a leader in an organization, it is best to be flexible and use the style that fits the situation best since each one creates different work environments and different results.

  1. The coercive style: This is the "do as I say" approach to leadership and is great in crisis situations or even with a difficult employee but should be used with caution in any other situation. Under normal, non-crisis circumstances, this leadership style creates a hostile work environment, doesn't permit flexibility, and demotivates employees. It’s best to only use this style when the situation calls for it.
  2. The authoritative style: This is the “come with me” approach to leadership and is great to use when a team or company seems like it has no defined strategy. In this situation, an authoritative leader defines the goals or strategy and the subordinates, or followers, accomplish those goals in their own manner.
  3. The affiliative style: This is the “people come first” approach to leadership and is great for team building, camaraderie, and high morale at the office. It’s especially good to use this style in situations where teams are under stress such as when there’s a reorganization of a department and staff question where they fall in the new organization. Since this approach focuses on praising employees, it can lead to poor performance to go uncorrected and no constructive criticism to help employees grow.
  4. The democratic style: This style gives employees a voice in decision making, allows for flexibility within an organization, and is great for coming up with fresh ideas. Unfortunately, this style leads to too many meetings so as to give everyone a voice and employees feeling like they lack a leader.
  5. The pacesetter style: This style is exemplified by a leader who sets high performance standards. This style is excellent for self-motivated and highly competent employees but not so much for others who are left feeling like the leader is asking too much of them.
  6. The coaching style: This style focuses on developing staff competencies and not specific tasks. It’s a wonderful approach to use on employees who are aware of their weaknesses and want to improve, but can backfire when used on employees who don’t want to change.

Leadership In Different Cultures

The Global Leadership and Organizational Behavior Effectiveness (GLOBE) Research Study, conducted by House, et al, in 1994 in 62 countries, analyzed 17,000 middle managers with the objective of understanding the relationship between national culture, organizational culture, and leadership. They made some very interesting findings about how leadership differs in different cultures and countries. The study found that people in different countries have different expectations of leaders and leaders exhibit different qualities, depending on the country.

The GLOBE research found that there are both "universal", as well as "culture-specific" leadership characteristics.

"Universal" leadership characteristics include:

  • Charisma - Charisma is the ability to influence others based on personal magnetism or charm. Charismatic leaders may be highly assertive like JFK or not assertive at all like Nelson Mandela or Mother Theresa.
  • Team orientation - Team orientation is the ability to collaborate as a team toward a common goal.

"Culture-specific" leadership characteristics include:

  • Self-Protection - Self-protection is a trait in some leaders who look out only for their own self-interest. They seek safety and security through status enhancement and "saving face". These type of leaders are usually after power and are conscious of status.
  • Participation - Participative leaders allow others to participate in decision-making. These type of leaders usually involve others and empower team members.
  • Humane orientation - Leaders who have a humane orientation are those leaders who are compassionate toward their followers and coach their team members, always available to help them out.
  • Autonomy - Leaders who are autonomous are those who are individualistic and expect their follows to take orders from them.

Importance of Different Leadership Characteristics Between Cultures

Country
Charisma
Team Orientation
Participation
Humane Orientation
USA
6.1
5.8
5.9
5.2
Britain
6.0
6.2
6.1
4.8
China
5.6
5.6
5.1
5.2
Mexico
5.7
5.8
4.6
4.7

Questions & Answers

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • FSlovenec profile image

        Frank Slovenec 5 years ago from San Francisco, CA

        Good information. You may have missed humility as a characteristic of leaders who are able to be leaders for the long term. This is a very well thought out and informative Hub..thank you

      • Global-Chica profile image
        Author

        Anna 6 years ago from New York, NY

        Thanks so much, Teresa!

      • Teresa Coppens profile image

        Teresa Coppens 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        This hub is packed with information on what qualities make an excellent leader! Voted up.

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, toughnickel.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://toughnickel.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)