Traits That All Great Leaders Have

Traits That All Great Leaders Have

There are many different kinds of leaders.  It is impossible to fully define what makes a great leader.  There are, however, some common characteristics that all of the world’s most successful leaders share.  Some of these traits are inborn, while others are easy to teach and develop.  If you want to be a great leader, work on developing and honing the traits below.

1. Communication Skills 

No matter how smart, capable, or talented a person is, no one can do it all on their own.  The best leaders know this and don’t try to: they delegate, they work with others, and they communicate effectively with those on their team.  If you can’t communicate with your subordinates, it will be completely impossible to lead them successfully. 

2. Persistence 

Leaders also cannot run from failure, and need to be able to persist through hardships.  Whether you’re leading a Fortune 500 corporation or your kid’s Little League baseball team, struggles and tough times will come up.  Leaders can’t shy away from these situations.  They need to be ready and willing to face them head on.  A good leader will be the last to throw in the towel when the going gets tough. 

3. Emotional Stability and Intelligence 

One important trait needed to weather the storms mentioned above is emotional stability.  When there are struggles and challenges, leaders need to not only persevere, but also to stay calm and keep their team calm with them.  A panicky leader is not a good one.  

Similarly, great leaders must have a high level of emotional intelligence.  They need to not only control their own emotions through trials and tribulations, but also must be able to read and understand the emotions of those around them.  Understanding their teams’ emotions will help them connect, and also help them know how to best help their team to be as successful as possible based on the states they are in. 

4. Empathy 

This may be one of the more surprising traits shared by most successful leaders.  On the surface, it doesn’t necessarily team to be tied directly to success.  But leading a team well does require empathy, the ability to see things from others’ perspectives and really relate to the way they are feeling.  Empathy goes hand in hand with emotional intelligence, and both can help facilitate more effective communication.  A leader must understand their subordinates and teammates to know how to best lead and guide them.  They cannot be detached, or take a one-size-fits-all approach, if they hope to ultimately achieve success. 

5. Self-Confidence 

If a leader doesn’t believe in themself, then how are they ever going to get others to believe in and listen to them?  To be a leader, you have to be confident and self-assured.  Of course, taking this too far to the point of cockiness can be harmful instead of helpful.  But every leader needs a healthy dose of confidence in themself and their abilities.  Leaders will not be effective if they are constantly doubting their decisions, second-guessing their courses of action, and struggling to believe in themself.   

6. Persuasiveness 

Finally, leaders need to not only be confident, but also instill confidence in others.  They need to be able to convince their team to follow them.  No matter how self-assured a leader is, it will not mean much if their team isn’t behind them.  To succeed, leaders must use persuasive techniques to convince their team to back them up completely.  This goes far beyond using their authority to merely force their team to obey them.  To lead well, a leader’s team must truly believe and buy into the team’s goals and actions. 

Some of the above traits of successful leaders are more obvious than others.  No one of these characteristics alone would be nearly enough to make a leader effective.  But altogether, these traits represent a well-rounded individual, who is competent and able to lead a team successfully. 

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