What are the leadership qualities of successful leaders?

What does good leadership look like?

How can you become a good leader?


These are questions that many people ask themselves, and the answers could be different depending on who you ask.

In this article, we’ll explore the leadership qualities of good leaders and what it takes to be one!

What Is A Leader?


A leader is someone who guides, inspires, and influences.

You do not have to have a title, a fancy office, a reserved parking space, collected degree programs, or other “leadership status” measures to be a leader. Leadership is not a title or any of those things. It’s how you act.

A leader is someone who can inspire the team, challenge the status quo, and communicate with others about the vision for the future.

A good leader knows when it’s time to take charge and will step up without expecting nor demanding that anyone else follow them.

People choose to follow leaders. People see that you have a positive attitude and the potential to lead, so they choose to follow your example and goals.

One of my favorite quotes on effective leadership is from Simon Sinek:

“Leadership is not about being in charge. Leadership is about taking care of those in your charge.”

I believe the good business leaders in this world, the true leaders who are the most successful, understand and appreciate that their role as a leader is to help others succeed.

 Related: The Difference Between Leadership & Management

What Makes a Good Leader?

Good leaders inspire, motivate, and guide their team members to success.


What Leadership Qualities Set A Leader Apart From Another?

A positive attitude? Good communication skills? Active listening? Emotional intelligence? Self confidence? Problem solving? Decision making?

There is no single quality that defines good leadership. It’s a collection of leadership qualities.

Here are 15 important leadership qualities in no particular order from real world experience that every good leader should have.


15 Most Important Leadership Qualities

  1. Self Confidence: Effective leaders are confident in their skills and a relentless drive towards making a difference.
  2. Actions Inspire: An effective leader knows how to lead people by example, whether they are a peer or a direct report, by involving them in decision making instead of just telling their team what to do.
  3. Empathy for others: Good leaders need to be empathetic because it connects with people emotionally, builds trust, and respect.
  4. Humility: Humble leaders make the team feel more comfortable. Humility makes leaders approachable.
  5. Resilience: When things get tough, a resilient leader doesn’t give up. They keep moving forward.
  6. Self awareness: A good leader understands the effect their actions and behaviors have on others.
  7. Authenticity: An essential leadership quality of good leaders because people can see right through fake leaders who lack integrity and authenticity. Authentic leaders are more trustworthy and respected.
  8. Good communicator: Communication is essential for leaders to be understood and their expectations met.
  9. Listens more than talks: Good leaders listen. Leaders who practice active listening are better at understanding the needs of others, and they can then meet those needs.
  10. Ability to adapt: A great leader adjusts their approach and leadership style depending on the situation and team members.
  11. Problem solving:  A good leader sees the big picture and takes ownership of problems, and fixes them quickly without blaming others.
  12. Passionate about the work they’re doing: True leaders have a positive and caring attitude towards leading others to do work that matters.
  13. Delegate effectively:  A great leader is self aware that they can’t do it all, so they focus on delegating tasks to others to accomplish more and develop others for their future success.
  14. Understand team dynamics: Leaders should be aware of team members strengths, how they work together, and what motivates them.
  15. Collaborative: A great leader knows they don’t do anything on their own and are most successful when working collaboratively. A good leader stays open to new ideas from others and keeps an eye out for emerging opportunities.

I know I said 15 leadership attributes of good leaders, but here’s a bonus absolutely crucial trait of strong leadership.

Never Stop Learning

Good leaders stay curious and never stop learning. Good leaders focus on their professional and personal development as they know that inspiration and new ideas can come from anywhere.

Check out The Leadership Skills Glossary: A Complete Guide to Key Terms and Concepts

Related: How To Become A Leader In 20 Minutes Or Less

Being A Good Leader

Stepping into a leadership role and being a good leader, it’s not easy.

If it were, then we would be surrounded by the best leaders.

Employee engagement would be higher than 15%, and the statistic wouldn’t be 75% of employees who quit do so because of their boss! As reported by Gallup.

But fear not, don’t give up all hope to be a good leader and make a difference for those around you because this is what our world needs right now — your commitment to being a better leader!

Good news, I’ve read (because I’m a nerd like that) so you don’t have to the substantial and ever-growing research surrounding the connection between leadership, people, and profits.

I’ve organized the critical leadership qualities of good leaders and their leadership skills into three important qualities of great leadership: I call it The Triad of Awesome Leaders.

The Triad Of Awesome Leaders

Triad of awesome leaders grapic

1. Strong Character & Confidence

Great leaders have strong character and confidence. Great leaders lead from who they are and not from power or what their position is.

Character leadership qualities include personal values, such as integrity and courage, and doing the right thing even when it is not easy or the most popular.

Like being humble and admitting when you are wrong or don’t know something. Many leaders make the mistake of pretending to know it all and that they have all the answers. A great leader knows no one knows everything and when you pretend you do, you aren’t fooling anyone!  So it’s better to just admit, “I don’t know, but I’ll find out!”

Good leaders with strong character are forthcoming with information! They make themselves accessible and available to direct reports.

They also have forgiveness which entails forgiving others (and yourself) when they make mistakes and giving someone another chance without holding grudges against them.

These character leadership qualities help shape how leaders make decisions and how people view them as leaders.

2. Communicate

Communicating is an integral quality of an effective leader.

Good leaders know they need to be able to articulate their thoughts and ideas clearly. Great leaders know there is no such thing as too much communication. This sometimes includes repeating important messages in different ways in a variety of formats, including emails, in team meetings, or in 1-1s to ensure understanding.

However, communication is more than just speaking effectively; it’s also about listening carefully so you can understand the needs of others and then responding accordingly.

Ineffective leaders may think they are communicating well with their teams, but if it’s not a two-way conversation where everyone is fully engaged in an open dialogue, there could be some issues that need to be addressed.

In addition to good listening and communication skills, great leaders also follow up on conversations to check for understanding and see if anything has changed.

3. Care and Connect

The last theme in the Triad of Awesome Leaders is Care and Connect. Great leaders know how important these leadership qualities are for real success.

Great leaders know that people work for people.

To be successful, they need to care about those they work with and connect with them as humans because it will help them increase engagement, retention, productivity, and enthusiasm on the entire team.

Care is about understanding the needs of each individual on your team and helping them succeed by being supportive, affirming, trusting, generous, compassionate, and giving feedback in a way that respects the person.

Caring for your employees is about supporting their needs by helping them succeed in their job or providing resources and development if they do not have what they need to do their best work.

Good leaders connect with others.

Connecting is about developing relationships based on mutual trust and commitment through communication. Everyone feels valued as a team member and creates an environment where everyone can be their authentic self, leverage their skills, and do their best work.

Connecting with your employees is also about being a person who wants to get to know them as a human.

Hear their stories, their hopes, their dreams, and yes, even about their pets. Leaders need to be genuine and authentic when connecting with other people because it will make them feel valued and seen as humans.

Leaders who make an effort to care and connect with employees build stronger relationships and create stronger business results.

If you want to build the leadership qualities to be an awesome leader, one people trip over their own feet to follow read on.

In this article, we’ve shared the 15 most important leadership qualities and broke them down into three themes—The Triad Of Awesome Leaders.

We hope that these tips will help you improve your skills as a great leader or inspire you to take steps towards becoming one.

And if reading all these great ideas isn’t enough and you want a leadership program to help you develop these leadership qualities, join The Awesome Leader League, The Ultimate Collection Of Leadership Skills To Help You Be A Better Leader.

You’ll get access to exclusive content alongside other aspiring great leaders like yourself who are building their leadership skills at the same time too. So what do you say? Join us!

Rebecca Morgan, PhD, is an award-winning former Disney leader and founder of The Awesome Leader League (T.A.L.L.), the ultimate collection of leadership skills, strategies, tools, and resources to lead the team everyone wants to be on while skyrocketing your career. Without EVER being a soul-sucking “boss-hole.” Join us here.