Characteristics of Good Leaders
You may often hear the phrase “He/she is a great leader” – but what exactly does that mean? What are the characteristics that define good leaders and separate great leaders from mediocre ones?
Here are 10 characteristics of great leaders:
- 1) Confident – it is well-known that confident people are attractive, inspiring people and this is just as true for leaders. A person who is confident will also inspire confidence in others and gain the loyalty and trust of their team. A person who displays confidence in a project or organisation is also more likely to gain other people’s faith in the project or organisation.
- 2) Enthusiastic – genuine enthusiasm is infectious and good leaders who are enthusiastic about their work or cause and their role as leader will be able to use their enthusiasm to motivate other members of their team. Enthusiasm from a leader also helps to show him/her as part of the team, working towards a common goal and not just a “lofty boss” directing others around.
- 3) Fair – being consistent and just will earn people’s trust and respect, so a good leader is always fair-minded and consistent in their dealings with all others, based on a personal code of values.
- 4) Imaginative – great leaders are innovative; they are able to think outside the box and approach a problem laterally and find new methods and solutions which may not conform to conventional thinking but which may be significantly better.
- 5) Open-minded – a good leader is always happy to consider new suggestions and ideas from others, even if these ideas do not conform to the conventional way of doing things. They value participation from all members of their team.
- 6) Trustworthy – a good leader must have integrity and display honesty in all aspects of their dealings with others. Without this, they will not have the trust of their followers and will not be able to direct them. By “walking the talk”, a good leader earns the right to have responsibility for and authority over others. Good leaders also understand and set the moral tone and ethical standard of a group or organisation.
- 7) Focused – great leaders understand the art of keeping the long-term goal in view but at the same time, looking at the situation as a whole and breaking it down into manageable steps, in order to make progress. They are good at balancing long- and short-term interests, at prioritising for the present while still maintaining a vision for the future.
- 8) Courageous – good leaders do not take reckless risks but they do have the courage to seize opportunities and to make changes for future benefit, even when it may seem safer to maintain the status quo. In addition, they also have the courage to persevere in the pursuit of a goal, regardless of the challenges and obstacles in their way, and to display a confident calm when under stress.
- 9) Committed to excellence – good leaders know that second best does not lead to success so they not only strive continually to maintain high standards within their team or organisation but are also pro-active in constantly raising the bar, so that they can continue to achieve excellence in all areas.
- 10) People-savvy – in order to get the best out of their teams, good leaders know how to read their followers and adapt their style to suit; they also have the ability to see potential in others and how to foster it, to build stronger teams and more successful organisations.