26 Leadership Characteristics To Effectively Manage Teams

Updated March 10, 2023

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Effective leaders help their companies organize teams and make challenging decisions. While every professional has a unique leadership style, their common characteristics include empathy, communication and delegation. Developing these skills can help you advance your career and contribute to your organization's success.

In this article, we explain what leadership characteristics are and discuss 26 qualities that can help you manage your team or organization effectively.

What are leadership characteristics?

Leadership characteristics are the qualities that professionals use to manage a project, team or organization. A professional can use traits like communication and delegation to guide employees toward a common goal. Successful leaders often possess these characteristics naturally, though it's possible to develop them through practice.

Related: How To Become a Strong Leader in 10 Steps

26 leadership characteristics

Here are 26 leadership characteristics to consider developing:

1. Integrity

Integrity ensures leaders retain the respect of other employees and promote a positive image of their organization. You can demonstrate this characteristic by abiding by your industry's general moral code and the organization's unique ethical considerations. When a leader displays integrity, other employees are likely to follow.

Related: Leadership Skills: Definitions and Examples

2. Positivity

It's your responsibility as a leader to set the tone for the workplace. Moderate your behavior and make sure you stay positive even in the face of challenges. By acknowledging the positive aspects of each situation and finding solutions to the negative components, you encourage your employees to adopt a similar mindset.

Related: 11 Ways Leaders Fail (And How To Fix Them)

3. Passion

Leaders tend to be passionate about their industry, as genuine excitement for their work is what might have allowed them to obtain such a coveted position in the first place. This attitude can motivate employees to care about their work in the same manner and inspire innovation in your industry. If you ever find yourself lacking passion for your work, remind yourself why you entered your field and look to other leaders for inspiration.

Related: Functional Leadership Model: Key Components

4. Empathy

Great leaders listen sincerely to employee problems and do their best to mitigate concerns. Check in with your employees regularly and consider adopting an open-door policy. Make sure you are meeting their workplace needs and providing the necessary support.

Related: Leadership Philosophy: What It Is and How To Create One

5. Loyalty

Leaders are loyal to the organization and its employees. Demonstrate your loyalty by being transparent about decisions and including your employees in important organization-wide conversations. This allegiance makes everyone more confident about the organization's longevity, encouraging them to invest more into their work.

Related: What Is Situational Leadership? Definitions, Pros, Cons and Examples

6. Accountability

Just because someone is in a leadership position doesn't mean they're free from accountability. In fact, their position holds them accountable for everything the organization and its employees do. You can hold yourself to a high standard and encourage others to ensure you're fulfilling your duties. You can also admit when you make mistakes and work to better serve your organization, employees and customers.

Related: What Is Operational Leadership? (Importance, Duties and Traits)

7. Vision

Organizational members look to their leadership for guidance. Leaders with a clear vision of the organization's future and how to get there can offer much-need direction. Provide your employees with the company's long-term goals, or establish them if they aren't already clear. If employees know what they're working toward, they may be prepared to manage setbacks.

Related: 18 Types of Leadership Assessments

8. Confidence

By demonstrating confidence when making a decision or managing a challenging situation, leaders make their employees feel comfortable. You can demonstrate confidence by supporting your decisions with research and using appropriate body language. While it's important to be firm in your decisions, good leaders tend to acknowledge concerns others have.

Related: What Is Achievement-Oriented Leadership? (Plus Benefits)

9. Delegation

Recognizing talented people and allowing them the space to work can improve the organization. Focus on developing talent rather than solely managing day-to-day tasks. This characteristic not only saves you time but also sets the organization up for long-term success, especially after you leave or switch departments.

10. Sense of humor

A sense of humor isn't necessary for every leader, but it can be a great characteristic for various situations. You might use humor to alleviate awkward situations and build relationships among new team members. You can also rely on humor to maintain a positive attitude, establish trust with clients and relay challenging or complicated information.

11. Emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence describes your ability to build relationships with others and understand their feelings. This characteristic also concerns how in touch you are with your own emotions, which is especially important for leaders. By managing the frustration, stress and uncertainty that come with your position, you can complete your duties efficiently and maintain a healthy work-life balance.

12. Empowerment

Allow employees to be creative. Empower employees and show that you appreciate and respect their work and contributions. Create an environment in which your employees feel excited to try new procedures or practices.

13. Humility

In addition to being accountable for your decisions, you can practice humility in other ways. Respect the authority you have and only use your powers in a way that benefits the organization. You can also recognize that relying on others is a strength rather than something that diminishes your abilities as a leader.

14. Sincerity

Leaders show sincerity in their commitment to their organization, employees and product. Your employees respect you more if you are sincere in your communication with them, as well as with other stakeholders. Try to follow through on your commitments and only make promises you intend to keep.

15. Creativity

Fostering a creative atmosphere is a great way to face challenges. Leaders demonstrate creativity themselves as well as facilitate creative problem-solving for their employees. They might accomplish this goal by providing training activities and rewarding innovation.

16. Trust

Trust between an organization's leaders and its employees is vital. The leaders must trust the employees to do their work effectively, and the employees must trust the leadership to make good decisions for the organization as a whole. Be honest and transparent with your employees so you can expect the same in return.

17. Communication

Transparency promotes an organizational culture of strong ethics and understanding. Employees appreciate understanding why executives make top-level decisions and can work more effectively with all information. Whenever possible, communicate organizational changes to everyone in the company.

18. Resilience

Occasionally, an organization may face a challenge for which the leader is responsible. Resilience following a setback increases the organization's foundation by showing that the leader is confident in the company's recovery. Resilience is especially important when the organization is facing a recession or public relations scandal.

19. Patience

Delegation, creativity and empowerment lead to a strong work product, but these strategies take time to develop. Be patient as you give your employees room to work and grow. Demonstrating patience allows your employees to experiment and create successful new practices and procedures.

20. Influence

Great leaders can influence their employees positively. Earn the trust and respect of your organization so that you can encourage them to work hard, remain positive and demonstrate creativity. You can influence directly through mentorship programs or indirectly by demonstrating the actions you want employees to mimic.

21. Perspective

Leaders oversee long-term goals and expectations. Delegate short-term goals and assessments to others within the organization and focus on reaching the larger long-term goals. Adopting both of these perspectives make it easier for the organization to fulfill its designated mission.

22. Problem-solving

Solving problems is arguably the most important job a leader has. Be creative and decisive when solving a problem. Look to your employees and colleagues for ideas.

23. Open-mindedness

Great leaders are always open to improvement. Be open-minded as you face challenges and receive ideas and feedback from other members of the organization. Your position allows you to advocate for innovation when others might initially overlook it.

Related: 20 Qualities of a Great Leader (With Tips)

24. Courage

While leaders tend to make practical decisions, they might also encounter situations that require them to take risks. Courage can help you navigate these challenging circumstances and advocate for unpopular ideas. By not fearing failure, you can motivate others to stand up for their beliefs.

25. Gratitude

Gratitude is the practice of expressing appreciation whenever possible. You can thank your employees, stakeholders and customers for their contributions. In addition to showing gratitude on a personal level, leaders can incorporate appreciation into larger initiatives. For instance, they might provide company-wide monthly lunches for employees to recognize their hard work.

26. Self-awareness

Self-awareness is the ability to reflect on your own abilities and identify areas of improvement. If you know your strengths, you can focus on tasks that allow you to capitalize on what you're good at doing. Recognizing your weaknesses helps you determine how to improve.


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