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Professional success

15 qualities that make a great leader

Hopeman Engineering Building in spring

Leadership is a skill used at every level. High-level executives, managers, and contributors all use leadership to drive activities and projects forward.

Whether you’re leading a team or a meeting, developing leadership skills that make you an effective leader is a goal you can strive for at any stage in your career.

Key leadership qualities

While many different qualities can contribute to a great leader, there are a few common ones that can be helpful when developing leadership skills:

  1. Accountable: Leaders must hold themselves and their teams responsible for the work each is responsible for. Ownership is a vital part of leadership.
  2. Courageous: Leaders must have courage in various instances, such as correcting behavior or making unpopular decisions.
  3. Effective communicator: Communicating in a clear, positive way creates a path for the rest of the team, project, or meeting you are leading.
  4. Empathetic: Leaders need to understand how the people around them feel about projects, decisions, morale, and more.
  5. Flexible: Working with a team of people means tasks, goals, and responsibilities will shift. An adaptable leader can adjust and maintain ownership of the group, project, or meeting at hand.
  6. Focused: Being clear on goals will help the rest of the team be efficient and focused.
  7. Humble: Great leaders admit their mistakes and elevate those around them. Humility is essential when leading a team.
  8. Innovative: Leaders should be able to develop ideas, filter the opinions of others, solve problems and complete many other tasks that require innovation and creativity.
  9. Passionate: Teams are motivated by a drive towards a common goal. The leader of this team should be passionate about a plan, creating unity among their team to work together.
  10. Patient: Mistakes, miscommunications, and failures are inevitable. Leaders need to be patient through these times.
  11. Problem-solver: Developing problem-solving skills allows teams to move past roadblocks with minimal disruption.
  12. Resilient: Leaders must also bear the burden of pushing through to improve what they own. This might mean creating new processes, hiring new people, or changing the status quo.
  13. Respectful: Great leaders treat their teams with respect, gaining respect in return.
  14. Transparent: Being open and honest makes work more efficient and enjoyable.
  15. Trusting: Leadership requires delegation–trusting their team to complete what they are assigned with excellence produces positive morale and mutual respect.

These are just a few essential qualities found in great leaders. While these are all soft skills or “people skills,” having strong technical skills in your industry is also necessary when assuming a leadership position.

Paying attention to, honing, and improving upon qualities that make you a great leader can help you on your career path. No matter your career level or industry, spending time practicing outstanding leadership can lead to promotions and make you a competitive candidate for jobs.

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