23 Leadership Characteristics To Be a Good Leader

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated May 18, 2022 | Published February 25, 2020

Updated May 18, 2022

Published February 25, 2020

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Successful leaders often share characteristics that contribute to the success of their organizations, such as dedication, strong communication ability and empathy. Outstanding leaders can be integral to the success of a company. Great leaders can be developed by learning leadership characteristics. In this article, we discuss what leadership characteristics are, as well as 23 leadership characteristics that make a leader successful.

What are leadership characteristics?

Leadership characteristics are the qualities that successful leaders demonstrate through leading a group of people or organization. Excellent leaders tend to share the same characteristics whether they are leading a small group of peers, a few employees or a large company. Successful leaders tend to be multifaceted and capable of guiding individual employees as well as an entire organization.

Research suggests that leadership qualities are not inherent and can be taught. If you want to become a better leader, study and practice the leadership characteristics demonstrated by successful leaders.

Related: How To Be a Leader

Characteristics of a good leader

Characteristics of successful leadership vary as much as styles of leadership. However, the following leadership characteristics have been determined to be universally helpful in fostering good leadership:

  1. Integrity

  2. Positivity

  3. Passion

  4. Empathy

  5. Loyalty

  6. Accountability

  7. Vision

  8. Confidence

  9. Delegation

  10. Sense of humor

  11. Emotional intelligence

  12. Empowerment

  13. Humility

  14. Sincerity

  15. Creativity

  16. Trust

  17. Communication

  18. Resilience

  19. Patience

  20. Influence

  21. Perspective

  22. Problem-solving

  23. Open-mindedness

Related: Leadership Skills: Definitions and Examples

1. Integrity

Great leaders demonstrate integrity in all their actions. Make sure you are modeling moral clarity to your employees and colleagues. Integrity will help you earn the respect of your employees and motivate them to work ethically.

2. Positivity

Positivity begets positivity. If an organization's leader is positive, the employees are more likely to mirror that positivity. It is your responsibility as a leader to set the tone for the workplace. Moderate your behavior and make sure you are staying positive even in the face of challenges.

3. Passion

Leaders should feel and demonstrate a passion for their work. Employee buy-in will be higher if their leader shows that they care about the work they do. Stay excited about your work and share that enthusiasm with your employees.

4. Empathy

Great leaders care about their employees. They listen sincerely to employee problems and do their best to mitigate concerns. Check in with your employees. Make sure you are meeting their workplace needs and providing the necessary support.

5. Loyalty

Leaders should be loyal to the organization and its employees. Demonstrate your loyalty to your employees as often as you can. Be transparent about decisions and include your employees in important organization-wide conversations.

6. Accountability

Strong leaders are accountable. They hold themselves to a high standard and expect their employees to do the same. Everyone makes mistakes. Model for your employees how to recover from a mistake graciously and professionally.

7. Vision

Organizational members look to their leadership for guidance. Leaders should have a clear vision of where the organization is headed and how to get there. Provide your employees with the company's long-term goals. If they know what they're working toward, they may be better equipped to manage setbacks.

Related: Visionary Leadership Style Explained

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8. Confidence

Leaders must display confidence, particularly in their actions. Be confident when you make a decision or take action. Demonstrate confidence even in the face of challenges. If you are confident, your employees will mirror your behavior.

9. Delegation

The best leaders develop other leaders. Recognizing talented people and allowing them the space to work will only improve the organization. Focus on developing talent rather than solely managing day-to-day tasks.

10. Sense of humor

Demonstrate levity when you can. Keep your employees positive with appropriate humor. Don't be afraid to laugh at yourself.

11. Emotional intelligence

Leaders should check in emotionally with their employees from time to time. Be aware of any emotional strain and provide support for employees facing challenges. Good leaders develop emotional intelligence along with business intelligence.

12. Empowerment

Allow employees to be creative. Empower your people 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

Strong leaders are humble. They recognize when they make mistakes and take decisive action to correct any errors. Acknowledge when you are wrong and have a plan to move forward honestly and with positivity.

14. Sincerity

Leaders should show sincerity in their commitment to their organization, employees and product. Your employees will respect you more if you are sincere in your communication with them as well as with other stakeholders.

15. Creativity

Fostering a creative atmosphere is a great way to face challenges. Leaders should demonstrate creativity themselves as well as facilitate creative problem-solving for their employees.

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.

17. Communication

Transparency promotes an organizational culture of strong ethics and understanding. Employees appreciate understanding why top-level decisions are made 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.

19. Patience

Delegation, creativity and empowerment will 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 will allow 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.

21. Perspective

Leaders should 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.

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.

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