There are many leadership qualities that define a good leader in our modern society.
As Vince Lombardi once said…
“Leaders aren’t born, they are made. They are made by hard effort, which is the price which all of us must pay to achieve any goal which is worthwhile.”
This means that…
Everyone, including you, can become an influential leader.
You don’t see toddlers commanding other toddlers… (Otherwise, that’s something I’d like to see!)
Instead, you see leaders born after facing adversity after adversity helping them grow their mental toughness.
And along their journey, they gain many essential characteristics that are necessary to overcome those obstacles.
And that’s what we’re going to go over today, so let’s get started.
Integrity is a leadership quality that will separate a fake and true leader in the long run.
Having a leader with no integrity is like giving your house keys to a burglar – there will be the consequences.
When someone says he is going to do something and they don’t do something about it…
Well, people lose trust in that person.
And it’s mutual trust between the leader and followers that makes them truly strong.
Integrity is such a vital characteristic because it’s when a leader truly understands his core values and aligns his actions to them where he can create a genuine path to follow.
It is that inner compass that helps you decide things when you don’t know the right answer. It also helps you have no regrets in life if they truly align with your core values.
You build an unbreakable bond between yourself and your followers.
“The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively.” Bob Marley
Adversity will come.
There is absolutely no doubt about that.
The question is… How would you respond in the face of adversity?
Adaptability is one of the most necessary leadership qualities because life is unpredictable.
There’s only so much predictions and educated guesses someone can do because at one point there is going to be something unexpected that happens.
The world is changing every single minute, and you can’t predict every little variable that might affect you and your business.
It can be things like:
- Social media popping up in the early 2000s…
- Your business partner stole your business and left you dry…
- COVID-19 in 2020 (like what’s happening at the time of this post…)
And you are going to need to be adaptable because adversity will come and…
It truly just depends on how you respond to it.
Leaders have to take in all this information at once and learn to assess what’s the best decision…
And just go for it.
Leaders who are inflexible and can’t adapt to the situation rarely last long…
Think about how long a brick and mortar store that sells DVDs without taking advantage of the internet in the early 2000s will last? (I’m looking at you, Blockbuster!)
It’s all about making the right decisions during unexpected times that will make a person grow as a leader.
Listening is one of those leadership qualities that people know is important…
Yet most of us never truly practice it.
And it makes sense. We love talking about ourselves and our day because that’s how humans are like.
Here, next time you are in a conversation, check what you’re thinking during a conversation. Is your mind listening to the other person, or are you just thinking about the next thing you will say to them?
Leaders understand that in order to make their followers listen to them, they have to listen to them! (Shocker, I know!)
Because this is how you build bonds and trust with them.
And there are ways you can practice this every day by doing simple things like:
- Listening to what they are saying without zoning out…
- Nodding your head from time to time…
- Asking questions to get the details of the situation…
- And so on.
The primary reason active listening is so important is because it gives you another perspective.
Think about it for a second – You only have one perspective in life (AKA the one you are living right now…)
And most of the time, we like to think we are right most of the time.
But gaining another perspective is crucial because it helps you notice fallacies that you may not have noticed and learn something new.
So listening instead of staying in your head can be an invaluable tool for a leader.
Which leads us to our next point…
Communicnation is one of those leadership qualities that a leader naturally builds over time.
A good leader who listens to his followers will eventually need to communicate his ideas effectively.
Take two instances of real-life examples:
- A boss who mistreats and yells at his employees to get his work done…
- Or a boss who understands his employee and politely but firmly asking them to get a job done…
9 times out of 10 the second way is going to be significantly more effective! (But of course there are always those exceptional weirdos who actually work better being yelled at by their bosses we don’t talk about…)
An outstanding leader understands that a great idea that is mis-communicated can have disastrous results.
- A soldier heard his commander wrong and led his troops to the wrong area…
- Or if you told your employee you have a meeting at 5 pm and they came at 5 am…
- Or if you ordered a Big Mac at Micky D’s and they gave you chicken nuggets instead… (Oh, the horror!)
You get the idea.
If your idea gets misheard, then chances are they will not execute on your idea.
And if they don’t execute on your idea, then your idea will never come to fruition.
As John Powell says, “Communication works for those who work at it.”
A true leader can communicate his values to his followers, and they will know exactly what he wants without needing to say anything.
I have yet to see an outstanding leader in our world who did not have a purpose.
Their purpose may have changed along the course, but they always had some purpose along the way.
There’s a reason a leader needs a purpose…
And it’s because when things get tough and you feel like quitting, every single person is going to ask themselves this simple question: “Why?”
- “Why am I doing this?”
- “What exactly am I trying to prove here?”
And all these thoughts are going to be swirling in your head the instant you make your decision.
Rocky Balboa could’ve stayed down on the 14th round when he got an uppercut by Apollo and no one would’ve blamed him…
David Goggins could’ve just quit his training camp because he had broken legs and people would’ve understood…
Martin Luther King could have given up when he saw nothing was really changing with their civil rights…
Yet they all pushed forward because they had a driving force behind them.
And that was their purpose. Their guiding light.
And when you become clear on what your purpose is, it makes it so much easier for your followers to be behind you because they are doing something that is greater than just them.
Many things that great leaders strive for are things that they haven’t achieved yet.
What this means is that they have to step outside of their comfort zone to achieve their goals.
And that takes real courage. This means doing something completely different with no guarantee that the change will make them closer to their goal…
And yet they still do it.
They understand that doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result will never happen, which leads to one thing – they need to change something.
The reason courage is an essential trait is that it takes a lot of guts and is one of the essential traits that a leader must have.
It takes a lot of courage to lead people AND make the right decisions every single day.
When things get hard and things don’t start going your way… the only thing left for people to do is to look up to their leader to guide them.
To show them how to navigate through this crisis that everyone is going through.
And that… That is a lot of responsibility… And a lot of pressure.
Forcing you to become courageous to overcome any obstacle.
A skilled leader will have the respect from his followers.
It is one of those essential leadership qualities that can make or break you as a leader. If there is no respect at all your relationship with your followers can break pretty easily.
Consider this for a change.
Let’s go back to that stereotypical mean manager who berates everybody… including you.
But you don’t want to lose your job.
So you end up listening to him against your will.
And this means the second that you find a better job, you’re ditching him.
A leader with no respect from his followers isn’t a leader… He’s just a man barking orders to the surrounding people.
Learn to lead with respect with your followers and they will reciprocate back to you.
The world needs more patient people.
We are living in a society where instant gratification is controlling our lives.
Studies have shown successful people delay gratification to achieve their goals… (aka being patient…)
Leaders understand this well.
They can control their impulses and emotions to do what’s necessary to achieve their goals.
It’s being consistently patient every day, slowly but surely working on your goals to achieve the bigger picture.
The giant corporations and like Apple and Microsoft were not built in a day…
Rather, leaders who saw and patiently worked on their vision until it is the company you know today.
“He that can have patience can have what he will.”
― Benjamin Franklin
Humility is a leadership quality that isn’t essential but comes about when you are a leader for a long time.
After seeing progress in your life, you realize you can’t take things for granted.
- Amazing employees…
- Having a wonderful family…
- Or even those wonderful opportunities to progress in life…
You realize that you just can’t take them for granted.
This is because you have enough experience and enough hardship to realize that life doesn’t go the way you planned.
And that you just have to ride through it and appreciate the little things in life that happen.
You also realize that there isn’t really a point to showing off to anyone… because you realize that most people don’t care.
You either get:
- Envy from people who want what you want…
- Or Jealousy and hatred for being one of the “lucky” people.
Plus, they see you as respectable and confident if you don’t share your success all the time.
That’s why most great leaders realize that there is someone who is probably better than them.
Leadership qualities such as gratitude play a big role in how a leader acts.
Leaders appreciate the little things in life.
They realize things come and go and that not everything goes the way you planned it to be.
That can be tough for some people to realize… but sometimes it’s just better to continue on life while going through the difficulties and appreciating every brief moment.
The benefits of gratitude are things like:
- Coping with stress…
- Improving your mental health…
- Improving your physical health…
And many other things.
It’s also incredibly easy to apply in your life with just taking 5 minutes a day in your life.
All it takes is just 5 minutes to change your perspective every single day.
How powerful would that be over the course of a year?
The right connections can help spread the influence of a prominent leader.
You can do a lot yourself… but at one point whether it’s your corporation growing bigger, and your taking more responsibility, and eventually you realize at one point: you can’t do everything.
That’s why having the right connections can change everything for a leader.
But here’s a caveat – Having more influence is a double-edge sword that leaders must weigh.
A person with a considerable amount of influence may sway people easily, but it’s easy to get a poor reputation.
This is because they will know you throughout your community and it can spread any action that hurts your reputation like wildfire through social media.
Empathy is about understanding the other person… and real leaders truly understand how powerful this is as a leadership trait.
When you can put yourself in someone else’s shoes and understand their world just a little, it changes everything for your followers.
This is because you don’t see them as just a number, but as a human being.
Leaders intuitively understand this when they want to gain trust and loyalty from their followers. You can’t just treat them like crap all the time and expect them to follow you.
If you want to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of your followers, you have to look at it from their perspective instead of yours.
For example, let’s take a corporate job and if your followers work for 12 hours a day… every day…
And you want more quality more the first step is to be thinking in their shoes:
- “If I was working 12 hours a day every day how would I feel?” (probably dead…)
- How can I fix this to improve my followers’ happiness and quality of work? (Maybe add more breaks and create deadlines with shorter work periods…)
And don’t forget to ask them what’s the problem. Some of the most obvious problems are oblivious to us when we don’t hear it directly from them.
One of the most important leadership qualities to make you a prominent leader is perseverance.
Leaders aren’t a special breed where they work only when they want to: They work on their goals everyday regardless of how they feel.
Many people say they can’t do that, but…
Leaders are also people who feel that same emotion that makes us want to quit.
But they go through with it, strengthening their mental toughness along the way.
Leaders also feel the urge to just not work for the day and just watch TV or play games all day.
But they decided that the pain of inaction and not reaching their potential is greater than the pleasure of watching TV.
But of course, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
It’s through the mini decisions you make every day that slowly strengthens your mind and body to take action towards your goals.
It’s every time you say “no” to your impulses that you slowly become the ideal leader you have always envisioned yourself to be.
And yes… it will suck during this time… (I hate to break it to you!)
But you will be glad you did it for your future self.
Problem solving is one of the highest rated leadership qualities to develop as a good leader.
The world is filled with countless problems, and it’s the biggest problems where we look up to leaders on how to solve it.
This goes back again to dealing with adversity.
It’s when we are facing the unknown and don’t know exactly how to solve it is where people start to feel uneasy.
And it’s up to you as a leader to help them overcome this crisis.
You are the man (or woman) in charge.
This can be things like:
- An unexpected problem at your company…
- Horrible news about your family…
- Bankruptcy within your family business…
And you need to pick your battles wisely.
If you’re facing bankruptcy for your business, it’s not wise to focus on the color of your website…
You need to focus on the biggest problems that no one wants to face like more cold prospecting, fixing the unique value proposition, pivoting your brand, etc.
And it’s something that you can learn to become better as you start strengthening your mind to deal with any unexpected obstacles that come along your way.
Leaders have to be accountable: especially to themselves.
There’s no one forcing you as a leader to get your job done.
Sure, you might have some pressure from your followers, clients, friends…
But the only person who can push yourself to greater heights is you alone.
And that’s both a blessing and a curse at the same time.
It’s a curse because it’s hard. It’s truly hard staying accountable to yourself at all times because we’re human and we’re bound to make mistakes from time to time…
Yet it’s also a blessing, because it means we have the power to change ourselves.
Every time you stay accountable to yourself, it makes it easier to stay accountable (just like building a habit…)
But as you build more accountability and respect for yourself, it rubs off other people where people look at you with a different lens.
You will become much more trustworthy by sticking to your goals and thus gaining more respect from your followers.
Having the ability to think outside the box is an essential trait for a leader to have.
Being narrow-minded and closing your doors to options is not always in the best interests for a leader.
It’s where thinking outside the box that can enhance your reputation as a leader.
Think about it for a second.
All the greatest inventors like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Elon Musk created something new just from their ideas.
Sure, you won’t be right every single time, but you only need to be right once to have a lasting legacy.
And this doesn’t have to be as grandiose as building a company like Apple or Microsoft.
It can be things like solving daily problem like getting more customers for your business.
If you do social media outreach all the time, maybe you should try making the messaging more casual and see how it turns out.
Creativity is about expanding your ideas and testing them out in the actual world.
The more creative you are, the more options you have to play with to solve a problem.
And it’s always good to have options as a leader.
Having the ability to focus is one of the most essential leadership qualities a leader must have to lead his followers.
This is the trait we low-key want to have but for some maniacal reason we just procrastinate!
Now, sometimes procrastination is good (what?) but most of the time what we need to have is focus towards our own goals.
Focus and perseverance go hand in hand together. You have to push your mental cognition to the next level in order to reach your goals faster.
Our world is dominated by short-term gratification and our attention spans on average are less than a goldfish (It’s the sad reality…)
Having focus in this day and age will put you in a competitive advantage that most people struggle with.
One of the most valuable leadership qualities is the ability to inspire people…
Especially when the going gets tough.
Being able to inspire people requires a thorough understanding of their followers and having the ability to be charismatic.
Having the ability to inspire is of the utmost importance when things are looking bleak, whether it’s in an unfavorable situation in the military, a pending doom in your company, or an unexpected obstacle in your business.
When you can inspire people…
They will work towards the goal with hope.
And that’s a lot better than working without hope. Because without hope, people are going to half-heartedly put in the work for your company’s goals and may even give up along the way.
And without action towards your goals, they will only stay as goals.
Leadership qualities such as a growth mindset is something you develop over the course of your life.
Leaders understand that personal mastery and growing yourself is the biggest thing you can do for yourself.
Therefore, prominent leaders push themselves whether it be in:
- Reading books
- Doing challenging activities like starting another business…
It’s because each of these is outside of their comfort zone and it forces them to grow if they want to do it.
It’s because they understand that if you lose everything like your business, your friends, and even in the worst-case scenarios like your family, you will still have you.
So people who built their empire themselves and lost it can build it again…
It’s because they put in the years of growing themselves mentally and their skills.
Plus, it creates an epic scene to put for your future biography in your book to inspire others.
So How Do We Get The Essential Leadership Qualities Of Great Leaders
There is no magic pill to gaining these leadership qualities.
It’s not like you are going to wake up suddenly one day and have a complete mastery of all these skills (just like you see in those rom-com movies…)
Sadly, it doesn’t work like that and you need to put in some work…
But it’s not as hard as you think.
This is what you do: When you display one of these traits in your everyday life, take that decision.
Let me give you an example.
If you come home exhausted every day at work commuting for 1 hour a day with lots of traffic (we’re talking about New York City rush hour busy…)
And when you’re sitting in your car and realize you can use this time to do something productive, will you:
- Continue to listen to your favorite songs on Spotify?
- Switch to an educational Audible or podcast?
It’s during moments when you know finally that you grow is when you slowly start building yourself as a leader.
And it’s through these mini decisions that eventually turn into habits, making you a fearless leader as you continue with the momentum to build the confidence you need.
What is the best definition of leadership?
The best definition of leadership is the ability to lead a group of people to achieve a desirable outcome. This could be something small, such as organizing a school group to something big, such as setting a company to build rockets.
Why is leadership an important skill?
Having the ability to lead other people will take you far in life. Learning the essential skills of communicating, listening, and leading others will make achieving any goal much more efficient and effective.
What should a leader do?
A leader should always make the biggest decisions of the group… Especially when it has the consequence to pivot the business. It’s making those decisions that can change the fate of the entire group is where the responsibility lies in the leader.
What should a leader not do?
A leader should not betray the trust of their followers. They also can’t push the enormous responsibilities to their leader, otherwise they will lose trust.
These are the leadership qualities that will make you become a prominent leader.
It’s a lot to take in and you don’t need every single trait to become a great leader, but many of these come naturally to them over time as you grow as a person.
We went over 19 leadership qualities many of the famous leaders in our world had, and it’s something to reconsider from a fresh perspective. If you enjoyed this, please leave a comment if I missed any traits you think an outstanding leader should have!
“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” – Peter Drucker