Updated: October 09, 2022

23 Good Leadership Qualities

Here is our guide to good leadership qualities for professionals.

Good leadership qualities are attributes, talents, and character traits associated with success. Many companies search for employees with leadership potential to establish a strong workforce and cultivate future leaders inside the firm. Qualities of a good leader include vision, emotional intelligence, and integrity.

These characteristics are similar to leadership skills and can help people become good leaders and good managers. These qualities often appear within leadership books and in leadership exercises.

This list includes:

  • characteristics of good leaders
  • qualities of great leaders
  • positive leadership traits
  • signs of leadership potential

Here is the rundown.

List of good leadership qualities

Company success depends on the people you choose to fill key roles. Leaders inspire employees by exhibiting certain qualities in their personal and professional lives. The following qualities tend to be present in effective leaders:

1. Vision

Leaders with a clear vision can plan their actions methodically towards achieving their objectives. When leaders have a clear idea of the destination, they can inspire themselves and their teams to reach that end. These long-term objectives are visible through setting high standards and employing smart strategies.

Being visionary means dwelling less on past issues and channeling energy to the future while retaining a positive outlook. This thought pattern enables leaders to overlook short-term solutions in favor of long-term ones. This skill involves taking a holistic view of the situation. As a result, leaders can foresee the future, be proactive, and stay ahead of the competition.

2. Courage

Courage is one of the most critical characteristics of good leaders. Courage translates to readiness to take risks to reach goals. Generally, leaders and risk-takers know that even if they fail, taking a risk is better than not trying at all. To rephrase the words of Tom Krause, “courage is attempting even when you know you can fail.”

Due to the unpredictability of life, no risk can guarantee success. However, each risk can be a learning experience that gears you to fulfill your goals. The fortitude to get back up and try again after a fall is a sign of strength. There will be more failures in the life of a great leader than there will be achievements. Courage is a physically noticeable leadership quality.

3. Willingness to Listen

Good communication is more than verbal exchanges. Listening is essential to create trust and bonds with team members. Good listening skills help you learn what your people want and how they feel. The act demonstrates to the workers how much the manager values them. This quality might be hard to build because it can conflict with other positive leadership traits. It is common for strong leaders to take over a conversation or meeting since they are confident and have a lot of new ideas. Good leaders can balance competing tendencies and stay open-minded about fresh ideas by listening to others.

4. Integrity

Business leaders understand the importance of maintaining integrity and the readiness to stand up for convictions. A good leader never compromises personal principles, makes false promises, or cuts corners. Integrity means fair treatment of employees and clients and respect for company ideals.

Employees need to know that their bosses will be morally upright. For instance, by fulfilling promises and taking responsibility for personal errors instead of blaming the team. These behaviors inspire confidence and encourage employees to behave with integrity in turn. A leader should make judgments based on group well-being rather than personal interests. With a reputation for honesty and integrity, a leader can earn respect and admiration from team members.

5. Humility

Humility is one of the qualities of great leaders. This trait is rare because it demands controlling one’s ego. Leaders that can manage their ego are more realistic about their difficulties. These leaders are more open to listening and accepting that they do not have all the solutions. This mindset dictates that at any moment, anyone can teach you anything. Humility is a willingness to admit mistakes and give credits where credit is due.

Humility does not imply a lack of confidence or self-assurance. On the contrary, your ability to see the importance of others without feeling threatened is a sign of self-confidence and self-awareness.

6. Innovation

As Steve Jobs noted, “innovations differentiate a leader and a follower.” Being innovative does not necessarily mean being a creative mastermind. Rather, innovation means enabling others to offer unique ideas. Some people have amazing ideas but lack the drive, ambition, and willingness to act on them. However, inventive leaders do not fall into this category and do not allow their teams to grow stale.

Innovative leaders stay receptive to fresh ideas. These bosses challenge employees to break out of conventional thinking patterns. Such leaders have an advantage over their competitors since they search for new ideas and concepts.

Check out this list of innovation books.

7. Focus

Successful individuals never lose sight of the positive aspects of life, regardless of the circumstances. These folks ignore distractions and past failures. Instead, focused individuals concentrate on their objectives and their previous triumphs.

An effective leader must focus on strategizing and planning for success. Your efforts will go to waste without focus. Moving in multiple directions leaves you wandering without ever accomplishing goals. When you concentrate on the task at hand, you do not stray from the set route. Great leaders are action-driven, and their strategies exemplify their organization’s strengths to use collective effort to accomplish and succeed as a team.

The leader’s responsibility is to keep the team laser-focused on the objective. This aim means each teammate plays to their strengths and strives for maximum productivity.

Here is a list of books on focus and a list of goal setting activities to try.

8. Critical and Strategic Thinking

A good leader needs to think critically and evaluate the company or team. This reflection gives leaders clear insights into an organization or team’s strengths, flaws, opportunities, and dangers. After identifying these factors, leaders can strategize the next steps. Leaders need to reassess continually rather than simply making a call at the beginning of a project. Good leaders can review the work, size up progress, and adjust course accordingly to satisfy the team and corporate strategy and objectives.

To improve this skill, here is a list of problem solving activities.

9. Cooperation

In the words of Napoleon Hill, “you can get almost anything if your imagination leads you to comprehend how fast others fulfill your requests when those requests appeal to their self-interest.” Cooperation means working together to achieve a common goal and is one of the most crucial leadership skills.

As a leader, you need to communicate effectively with your team members and unite members around a common cause. True collaboration is vital to foster a productive work environment and achieve organizational success. To achieve cooperation, you need an understanding of your coworkers’ abilities and motivations. Individuals are more willing to collaborate when they feel understood. We all want to feel that our ideas and views are relevant.

Check out this guide on improving cooperation in the workplace.

10. Flexibility

Adaptability and nimbleness are necessary qualities of a leader. Every situation is different, and no matter how big or small the problem, you will need to pause, rethink the situation, and develop a new plan of action. To succeed in business, leaders must embrace the ever-changing nature of the corporate world. Likewise, bosses must be able to inspire the same resilience and adaptability in employees.

11. Excellent Communication

The capacity to communicate effectively and persuade others is another quality of a good leader. Effective communication means being able to listen and think before speaking.

Clear communication creates a space for open dialogue. Team members will be able to ask questions, express problems, and develop solutions. There will be fewer mistakes and difficulties if team members understand the job and can discuss it freely.

Many of history’s most illustrious leaders are also exceptional communicators. Practicing public speaking can improve your communication skills. Aside from vocabulary improvements, you will get a confidence boost as well.

12. Honesty

Dishonest and insincere leaders have difficulty keeping teammates on the same page. If you are not transparent, then your team will lose faith in you and your efforts.

Honesty is essential in both good and bad circumstances. For example, complimenting a teammate who has done an excellent job or being compassionate yet straightforward when critiquing an employee who has made a mistake. Honesty and transparency are inextricably linked to communication and humility. Self-awareness enables you to be open with yourself and your team.

Honesty is also a personal virtue. When we are mistaken or do not know the solution to something, it is tough to accept our mistakes or lack of knowledge. However, you will remain well-grounded if you are open and honest about your strengths and faults. Making a change begins with owning up to your error and using it as a springboard for future success.

13. Fairness

Everyone is prone to prejudice or personal bias. The ability to think and act outside assumptions can differentiate a strong leader from the rest of the pack. Unfortunately, many leaders do not rise to higher heights due to their prejudices.

A great leader must be fair to their team members and the company’s procedures. These bosses recognize and appreciate the good in others and create an empowering environment for all employees. These leaders know that injustice and discrimination hold the team back from reaching its full potential. Great leaders know that fairness achieves better outcomes in the long run.

14. Empathy

Empathy and compassion rank high on the list of the most essential characteristics of good leaders. Leaders can sometimes grow overly focused on objectives and high stakes. However, nothing is achievable without a strong team. Therefore, you must keep an eye on your team and ensure they feel understood and supported. A team that feels heard is more likely to collaborate and engage.

Empathy means knowing when teammates feel overwhelmed or depleted and providing needed support. A leader without empathy will often drive their team to accomplish tasks yet fail to provide them with the resources needed to sustain that performance. Great leaders must relate to and empathize with their employees to reach objectives.

Here is a list of ways to increase empathy at work.

15. Delegation

A competent leader must possess the quality to delegate duties and responsibilities effectively. Leaders must delegate their duties to stay focused and fulfill management goals. By delegating duties, you empower team members to grow and take on more responsibilities.

Delegating duties demonstrates your faith in your staff and their efforts. Employees will likely be more motivated to deliver high-quality work to maintain confidence and respect. Delegation demands knowing the strengths of each team member. This knowledge makes assigning the proper tasks to the right individuals easier. Be sure to recognize your team’s hard workers and leverage their skills and drive to achieve team objectives.

16. Reliability and Trustworthiness

Leadership requires a strong feeling of accountability and duty. Employees tend to be more loyal and work harder when they know that bosses have their backs. Team members should see that you will always meet up with your end of the deal, support them during challenges and assist in achieving both joint and individual objectives. Being dependable inspires employees to behave in the same way.

17. Resilience

The ability to bounce back against adversity is a hallmark of resilient leaders. Resilience enables leaders to maintain a high energy level in the face of adversity and disruptive events. Professionals who possess grit and determination can overcome adversity without resorting to destructive or hurtful actions. High-performing leaders are resilient and can bounce back from adversity stronger than ever.

18. Realistic Expectations

Employees may appreciate optimistic leaders. However, ridiculously high expectations can be stressful. Great leaders believe in the success of their employees and then work to help teams reach that potential. It is important to set attainable goals because otherwise, employees can get discouraged or burnt out when faced with impossible objectives. Hopeless employees are unhappy and hesitant to try. Keeping expectations high yet realistic helps teams to feel inspired in the moment and accomplished after the fact.

19. Creativity

Creativity is the most sought-after soft talent in a workplace. Leaders need creativity to devise innovative approaches to challenges. Great leaders are open to new ideas and prepared to try new tactics. Creativity means getting the best answer, even if it is not conventional or obvious. This trait enables leaders to react when circumstances change. Even when a current strategy is not working, creative leaders will gather their teams to develop fresh ideas for tackling the prevailing challenges.

Great leaders practice creativity and foster imaginative thinking within teammates.

Check out this list of books on creativity.

  1. Desire for Improvement

Leaders know perfection does not exist. Development is a continuous process for themselves, their team, and their organization. A good leader must be ready to help their team’s personal development, whether by teaching new skills or identifying weaknesses. These leaders can devise and implement action plans to help employees and the company grow. Perhaps most importantly, these leaders can reflect on their strengths and weaknesses and take action to address them.

21. Emotional Intelligence

Good leaders have a significant impact and can control situations by reading and responding to emotions. This ability relies upon developing connections through a high level of emotional intelligence.

Leaders should be emotionally intelligent to manage their mindsets, improve social awareness, ensure better communication, and resolve conflicts. Leaders can prevent negative emotions from impacting their decision-making abilities by learning to regulate their emotions. Furthermore, emotionally intelligent leaders are adept at identifying and empathizing with the feelings of others around them. This leadership attribute plays a significant role in resolving conflicts and maintaining healthy workplace dynamics.

22. Ability to Solve Problems

Management and delegation are not the only responsibilities of a leader. The scope of a leader’s duties has expanded for modern corporate executives. Leaders must have problem-solving abilities and analyze the issues from multiple angles. For organizations to run smoothly, leaders should practice sound judgment. Problem-solving abilities are a must for every leader who wants to be successful. These individuals can recognize and define issues. Positive problem response means doing research, analyzing data, and communicating findings clearly and promptly.

23. Self-Discipline

Good leadership demands instilling discipline in others, and that habit starts at home. Self-discipline and strong time management are essential qualities in good leaders. These managers promote a culture of discipline and self-accountability among team members. This trait is learnable and improvable with patience and perseverance. Being self-disciplined will inspire people to follow your lead.

In a fast-paced workplace where workers are overburdened with work, being more disciplined may help them do more while reducing stress.


Leadership entails leading a group of people or an organization toward a desired outcome, result, or degree. Organizations may reap several advantages by identifying and developing members’ leadership potential, and these attributes are critical to this process. You can guarantee that your firm has the future leaders it needs to succeed by fostering these qualities. It is possible that developing a company’s future leaders would enhance the way workers deal with customers and inspire them to take on additional tasks.

Every leader has the desire to lead, inspire, and positively impact the world around them. As a result, good leadership qualities are essential. Self-belief and persistence are the keys to success. Leaders must practice and hone these skills for lasting growth.

Next, check out this guide to team building leadership and this exploration of managers vs. leaders.

FAQ: Good leadership qualities

Here are answers to questions about good leadership qualities.

What are good leadership qualities?

Good leadership qualities include emotional intelligence, integrity, vision, and good communication.

What are some signs of leadership potential?

Some signs of leadership potential include cooperation, empathy, critical and strategic thinking, and readiness to listen.

How do you know if you will be a good leader?

You know you will make a good leader when you can inspire a group of people to believe, act, and work together to accomplish objectives.

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People & Culture Director at teambuilding.com.
Grace is the Director of People & Culture at TeamBuilding. She studied Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University, Information Science at East China Normal University and earned an MBA at Washington State University.

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