Every day, you see leaders in action. Whether you’re riding the morning train to work, eating lunch at a restaurant, or taking your child to ballet class, people who possess good leadership skills stand out. You may be considering leadership and wonder what makes a good leader. Here are fifteen leadership qualities that most people admire in a leader.
Do people learn to be leaders, or are some people born that way?
The age-old question about leaders is: are people natural born leaders or must they be taught to be good leaders? According to studies on this subject, it’s likely that it’s a combination of both things. Certainly, innate characteristics are needed to become a good leader, but hard work and experience develop a leader.
15 Leadership Qualities Most People Admire
Here are some of the qualities good leaders exhibit.
1 – Truthfulness is the top among all leadership qualities
So, how do you spot a leader who is lying to you? Researchers say it’s pretty hard to tell if somebody is lying to you by just looking at them, but these things could show a leader isn’t being honest.
- Too much head nodding
- Talking with their hands
- Hands covering their neck, chest, or head
- Over the top eye contact
- Filling in with “uh-huh” and “um”
- Voice has no inflection
- Scowling at you
- Fake smile
2 – Good listener
Out of all the leadership qualities, being a good listener is probably one of the most significant. Leaders who actively listen to people, who show sincerity and attention to what they’re saying, build trust and respect. They don’t assume they know more than others or disregard them because they lack experience. A good leader wants to learn everything they can. They’re humble and respectful. People admire bosses who give them attention. They feel like their opinions count toward something and this makes them want to work hard for a leader like this.
3 – Good communicator
The ability to communicate helps leaders be effective. They know how to get their message across. Good leaders enjoy talking to people. They like hearing their opinions and getting their input. A good communicator should possess these things.
- Non-verbal communication: Their body language sends a message. They’re relaxed, open stance, and have a friendly tone in their voice.
- Clear and concise: They don’t say too much or too little
- Friendly: Good communicators have a friendly tone and a normal smile. They encourage open discussion.
- Confidence: Show confidence in how they interact with others
- Open-mindedness: They’re flexible and open to others’ thoughts. They want to understand what other’s viewpoint.
4 – Able to delegate is one of the most coveted leadership qualities
Part of being a good leader is being a mentor. Mentorship is guiding others in a personal or professional setting. Part of a mentor’s role is to maximize a person’s skills by delegating responsibilities to them. Delegating isn’t as easy as it sounds. Many leaders won’t delegate out of fear of not getting the task completed how they want it. When they pass off responsibility to someone else, an insightful leader can let go and trust the person will get it done completely.
5 – Self-discipline
Self-discipline is often an overlooked leadership quality. A skilled leader isn’t impulsive. They stay focused to see a project through to the end. A leader who lacks self-disciple is a hindrance to those around them. What are some signs that a leader lacks self-discipline?
- The lack of impulse control: Their lack of self-control causes confusion and a lack of clarity about what they want.
- They create anxiety: A leader who lacks self-control stirs up anxiety for those who work for them.
- Unpredictable: They have lots of ideas, but little follow-through. You never know what they’ll do next.
6 – Shows appreciation
Can you imagine a boss who never says thank you? Showing appreciation is an admired quality in a leader. Good leaders value their people. They show appreciation for them and acknowledge their efforts. Leaders who understand the importance of recognizing their employees with mutual respect create an atmosphere where everyone can flourish. There is team spirit. Everyone wants to work together for a common goal.
7 – Being decisive, one of the important leadership qualities
Decisiveness means being able to make quick decisions when needed. A good leader evaluates a circumstance, collects the information, and then concludes. Decisive leaders focus on a direction and achieve work to achieve an aim. They don’t listen to rumors or react out of fear because of what others say about them.
8 – Accountable to others
People admire leaders who are accountable to others. Everyone knows those leaders who are answerable to no one. These loner-leaders think they don’t need to adhere to rules and regulations like everyone else. Of course, these leaders often lack honesty. They often end up in some kind of a legal mess, leaving everyone else around them to pick up the pieces of their chaotic leadership. An accountable leader owns up to their commitments and promises. They respect you enough to admit their mistakes and ask for help when they need it.
9 – Can motivate others
A leader motivates the people around them to achieve great results. They know how to empower them to use their talents and skills. A skillful leader sees the potential in others and encourages them to step out and pursue new ideas or ventures and conquer new challenges. When people lack guidance, they lose motivation and vision for what they can do.
10 – Being self-motivated is one of the intrinsic leadership qualities
Just as a good leader must be able to motivate the people around them, they must have self-motivation. This self-motivation doesn’t depend upon others to meet your goals. They keep going even if they face setbacks or challenges. They’re motivated to step out and take opportunities when they see them.
11 – Dependable
If you can’t depend upon a leader, it makes you feel uneasy. A dependable leader shows follow-through and responsibility. They do what they say. Dependable people can be trusted to do their share of the work and to work together to get through tough times. If someone is a good leader, you rely upon them to respond to your requests, to be accountable, and to show consistency in how they conduct themselves.
12 – Ambitious
Ambition is driving motivation. Leaders who possess ambition have a creative and entrepreneurial spirit. Ambitious leaders focus on performance because they’re so motivated to reach their goals. Of course, the negative side of ambition leads to a workaholic and creates anxiety for those around them. A good leader knows how to be ambitious without giving in to the extreme. Here are five things you’ll see in an ambitious leader.
- Goal setting: Leaders are goal-oriented, striving towards a new goal or idea.
- Risk-taker: They’re willing to take risks and not prone to anxiety or fear
- Not competitive with others: Ambitious people are more able to stretch themselves
- Open to new ways: These folks are open to innovative ideas and new ways of thinking. They love to learn.
13 – Not micromanagers
An admired leader doesn’t micromanage. They inspire and help you understand what’s needed, then they let you do the job. Leaders don’t get into the nitty-gritty of what you’re doing. They aren’t telling you how to do the job because they trust you to get the job done. Micromanagers tend to
- Never leave you alone to do your task
- They check on you all the time
- They’re constantly correcting you about what you’re doing and how you’re doing it
- Control freaks
Micromanaging sabotages people’s ability to complete their tasks. Not only does it ruin productivity, but it lowers morale, slows the work pace, and reduces people’s sense of loyalty to the project. A leader that micromanages isn’t admired.
14 – Don’t blame
Effective leaders aren’t into blaming others. Indeed, they understand that blaming people is never productive. A skilled leader recognizes people need to be inspired, not pushed down. They strive to help people feel successful and are quick to give credit to others. A good leader won’t blame the people around them for things that happen. They take responsibility and the blame when necessary.
15 – Reliable
Reliability is one of the essential leadership qualities. People feel they are dependable, which builds trust in those around them. If a leader isn’t reliable, people are afraid to follow them for fear of being led astray. How do you know if a leader is reliable? Here are some traits of a reliable leader:
- Remember to follow up with you
- Is clear about their expectations
- They’re on time
- Keep their promises
- Meet deadlines
- Don’t leave you hanging
Final Thoughts on Recognizing the Top Leadership Qualities
You know a good leader when you see them. It’s easy to admire someone who is a good leader. These leadership qualities are just some characteristics that most people admire in a leader. If you’re considering leadership, hopefully, this article will inspire you to become a leader that people admire.