10 Qualities of a Good Leader

What are the qualities of a good leader? In The One Minute Manager we learn about two dimensions of team leadership: directive and supportive behaviour. An effective leader has the ability to change their style to meet the changing needs of the team and the person.

Situational leadership theory takes us on a journey of group development. An appropriate leadership style is needed that complements the person and the situation. The styles a leader uses to manage the team may include telling and directing, selling and coaching, facilitating and supporting, or delegating. But what qualities does a good leader need to display? What traits are needed for the situational leader?

trait n. A distinguishing feature, as of a person’s character.

Qualities of a Good Leader

Here’s a list of qualities I reckon you need to lead. I think they account for most situations.

    1. Appreciative – A wise leader values their team and the person. Success is only achieved with the help of others. What’s more, genuine appreciation provides encouragement, develops confidence, and builds on strengths.
    2. Confident – Trust and confidence in leadership is a reliable indicator of employee satisfaction. Good leaders aren’t afraid of being challenged. Their confidence inspires.
    3. Compassionate – Compassion is a strength. A good leader uses compassion to perceive the needs of those they leads and to decide a course of action that is of greatest benefit to the person and the team.

When the great leaders work is done the people say, “We did that ourselves!” – Lao Tsu

      1. Courageous – Perhaps I should have put this at the top of my list? A courageous leader is prepared to take risks when no one else will. A courageous leader has faith in other people. A courageous leader raises difficult issues, is ready to give difficult feedback, and share unpopular opinions.
      2. Diligent – To persevere in conviction, courage, creativity, compassion, and character we need diligence. Good leaders work hard.
      3. Fair – Fairness is what people want. Good leaders don’t have favourites in the team. They reward for results not partiality; they promise fairness.
      4. Flexible – The good leader is able to flex. They alter and adapt their style according to the situation, context and circumstances they experience. They welcome new ideas and change.
      5. Honest – Wise leaders are not afraid of communicating the truth to their people. Honesty is about being truthful, having integrity, and building trust. Honesty leads to better more productive relationships.
      6. Impartial – Good leaders are impartial. They recognise their biases, prejudices, and predispositions. They also recognise biases in others and face them.
      7. Responsive – Good leaders are responsive to the needs of those they lead. They adjust their behaviour to best match the situation. They listen to their team; they value their team.

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Have Your Say

What qualities of a good leader would you add? Why not share them? Please join the discussion.

Creative Commons image courtesy Scott Cawley.

Last updated 17 May, 2014 1 CommentShare the knowledge …


  1. Kenneth Anegimo says

    Communication: Good leaders communicate effectively. They communicate clearly and timely to the team any information critical to the business and respect team members opinion. It gives them a sense of belonging which enhances productivity.

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