10 Qualities of a Great Leader: Leadership skills and characteristics

Great leaders aren’t born, they are developed

We often hear a person referred to as a “born leader.” While it is true that certain people naturally possess characteristics of a good leader, all hope is not lost if you feel like you were born in the shallow end of the “gene pool!” Leadership skills and characteristics can be developed over time with some hard work and dedication.

A leader is defined as someone who guides people, is ahead of others in a race or competition, a powerful person who influences what other people do and a person who leads a group, organization, country, etc. A leader is someone who can execute ideas, motivate teams and achieve results. As cited in Forbes Magazine, “Top 10 Qualities That Make a Good Leader,” every leader should possess the following key qualities:

  1. Honesty – Strong ethics and values form a foundation for success.
  2. Delegate – Perhaps Andrew Carnegie said it best, “No man will make a great leader who wants to do it all himself, or to get all the credit for doing it,” or Dwight D. Eisenhower who said, “Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.”
  3. Communication – Many of the problems that occur within an organization are the direct result of poor communication. Knowing how to properly communicate thoughts, goals and expectations is key to success.
  4. Confidence – This inspires the best effort from team members.
  5. Commitment – The finest leaders lead by example. The more a leader is committed to a goal, the more effective they are at influencing the team.
  6. Positive Attitude – Avoiding personal criticism and pessimistic thinking leads to more effective teamwork.
  7. Creativity – There is a relationship between change, leadership and creativity. As Lee Iacocca once said, “Leadership is about managing change—whether you’re leading a company or leading a country. Things change, and you get creative.”
  8. Intuition – One reason why leaders can make tough decisions is because they trust their intuitive instincts.
  9. Inspire – Leaders challenge others but give them the support, tools and training to pursue their goals and become their personal best.
  10. Approach – Knowing that all people are different and being able to customize approach and style on a case-by-case basis optimizes leadership effectiveness.