15 Essential Leadership Qualities That Define Great Leadership

Business team discussing their ideas while working in office

There are many different qualities that make up a great leader. While some may be more essential than others, all of them play a part in defining what it means to be a leader. Leadership is something that can be learned and practiced. If you work on developing these essential leadership qualities, you will be well on your way to becoming the kind of leader people want to follow. So, what are these essential leadership qualities? Read on to find out.

What is leadership?

Defining leadership can be difficult. There are many different interpretations of what it means to be a leader. For some people, leadership is about taking charge and being the boss. For others, it’s about inspiring and motivating people to achieve common goals.

Leadership is the process of social influence in which one person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task. Leaders are often thought of as being at the forefront of change, although their followers must also play an active role in any leadership process. In order for leadership to be effective, there must be a clear and shared goal between leader and followers, and both parties must be committed to achieving it.

The concept of leadership has been studied extensively over the years, and there are many different theories that attempt to explain how it works. However, there are some essential qualities that all great leaders share, no matter what their specific style or approach may be. Great leaders also have the ability to build relationships, create a positive working environment and make tough decisions when required. They possess a clear vision and are able to communicate this effectively to those around them.

The 20 essential leadership qualities

A good leader is someone who can inspire and motivate others to achieve their best. Other than this, there are many leadership qualities that are essential for great leadership.

1. Self-Confidence

Great leaders have self-confidence. They trust their own abilities and instincts, and they are not afraid to take risks. They are confident in their own judgement and they are able to make decisions quickly. Leaders who lack self-confidence tend to second-guess themselves, and they may hesitate to make decisions. This can lead to indecision and a lack of action, which can ultimately damage the leader’s credibility.

Self-confident leaders inspire others with their confidence. People are drawn to leaders who seem assured and certain of themselves. When people see that a leader believes in their own ability to succeed, they are more likely to believe in the leader’s vision and follow them willingly.

2. Visionary

A great leader is a visionary. They have a clear idea of what they want to achieve and are able to articulate it to others. They are able to inspire others to buy into their vision and work together to make it a reality. They know that in order to achieve something great, sometimes you have to put everything on the line. They are willing to take calculated risks and make bold moves when necessary.

A visionary leader is also a good communicator. They are able to clearly articulate their vision to others and get them on board with their plans. They understand that effective communication is key to getting people on board with their vision and achieving their goals.

3. Possess Self-awareness

In order to be a great leader, possessing self-awareness is one of the  leadership qualities that one must have. This means being aware of your own strengths and weaknesses, as well as your impact on others. It also involves being able to regulate your emotions, so that you can stay calm and focused in challenging situations. Great leaders are able to take an objective view of their own behavior, and they are constantly seeking feedback from others in order to improve.

4. Accountability

One of the most essential leadership qualities is accountability. Leaders must be able to take responsibility for their own actions and decisions, as well as the actions and decisions of their team. Leaders who are accountable for their own actions and decisions are more likely to be effective in achieving their goals.

5. Integrity

Great leaders always adhere to a strict code of ethics and integrity. Business leaders know- Integrity is the foundation of good leadership, and one must stand for their beliefs. This means that they are always honest, transparent, and accountable in everything they do. They never cut corners or take shortcuts; instead, they always strive to do the right thing, even when it’s difficult.

As a result, people trust and respect great leaders. They know that these leaders always have their best interests at heart, and they can count on them to do what they say they are going to do. This trust creates a strong bond between leader and followers, which is essential for any successful team or organization.

6. Focus on Relationship Building

Leaders who can develop strong, positive relationships with their team members, clients, and other stakeholders are more likely to be successful in achieving their goals. Relationship building is not just about networking or making small talk. It’s about developing trust, mutual respect, and a sense of common purpose. Great leaders know how to listen as well as talk, and they are always looking for ways to build bridges rather than walls.

Invest time in getting to know your team members and understanding their individual needs and motivations. Seek out opportunities to connect with others, and always be ready to lend a helping hand. By cultivating strong relationships, you will create a foundation for success that will benefit everyone involved.

7. Humility

There are many essential leadership qualities that define great leadership, but one that is often overlooked is humility. A humble leader is someone who is able to put their ego aside and work for the good of the team.

Humility is a quality that is often undervalued in our society, but it is an essential trait for any leader who wants to be successful. A humble leader knows that they are not above anyone else and that they are always learning. A humble leader also understands that they are not perfect and that mistakes will happen. However, they are willing to learn from their mistakes and grow as a result. This shows their team that they are committed to improving and becoming the best leader possible.

Group of people working out business plan in an office

Group of people working out business plan in an office

8. Empower the Team

When you empower your team, you give them the ability to take ownership of their work and make decisions that are in the best interest of the company. This not only allows your team to be more productive, but it also builds trust and loyalty between you and your team members.

To empower your team, start by delegating authority and responsibility to team members. Give them the resources they need to succeed, and then get out of their way. Trust them to do their jobs, and don’t micromanage their every move. Additionally, keep an open mind to new ideas from your team members, and encourage them to think outside the box. By empowering your team, you will create a more engaged and motivated workforce that is capable of achieving great things.

9. Stay Authentic

Leaders who are authentic are those who are true to themselves and their values. They are not afraid to be who they are, even if it means being different from the rest.

Leaders who are authentic are also honest. They tell the truth, even when it is difficult to do so. This quality allows them to build trust with those they lead. People know that they can rely on their leader to be truthful, which makes them more likely to follow them.

Leaders who are authentic create an environment where people feel safe being themselves. They encourage diversity and respect individual differences. People feel comfortable expressing their opinions and ideas, knowing that they will be heard and valued. This type of atmosphere fosters creativity and innovation, both of which are essential for any organization to succeed.

10. Decision-making Skill

Good leaders are decisive and know how to help the organization, employees, stakeholders, and customers.

You would never envision a leader who is unclear and uncertain. Good leaders are aware of the fact of how their decisions can make or break businesses. They evaluate a given circumstance many a time before coming to any conclusion. They collect the necessary information required before making any announcements. Also, they do not believe rumors but examine a situation or a problem themselves before making a decision.

11. Tech-savvy

Another one of essential leadership qualities is being a tech-savvy. With the ever-changing landscape of technology, it is important to be able to adapt and change with the times.

Being able to utilize technology is one of the key component of being an effective leader in today’s business world. Technology has revolutionized the way businesses operate and communicate, and those who are not up-to-date on the latest trends and tools will quickly fall behind. They have access to more information and can quickly find solutions to problems. Additionally, they can better connect with employees and customers who are increasingly reliant on technology.

12. Innovative

Innovative people are always open to new ideas and discussions. They listen to everyone actively and also motivate others to think out of the box. This quality gives them an edge over others since they are always hunting for creativity and innovations. As the innovative leader, Steve Jobs himself said, “Innovations distinguish between a leader and a follower.”

13. Be Fully Present

As a leader, it is essential that you be fully present in every moment, both physically and mentally. This means being aware of your surroundings and taking in everything that is happening, while also being present in the moment with your thoughts and emotions. It can be easy to get lost in your own head or become distracted by other things going on around you, but if you want to be a great leader, it is important to focus on the task at hand and be fully present in the moment.

Businesswoman having rising hand having marketing question during business meeting

Businesswoman having rising hand having marketing question during business meeting working at company presentation in startup office. Diverse businesspeople discussing strategy analyzing graphs

14. Active Listening

Active listening is a cornerstone of great leadership. It involves taking the time to truly understand what others are saying, and then responding in a way that shows you have heard and understand their perspective. When you actively listen to others, it not only shows that you respect them and value their opinion, but it also allows you to gain a deeper understanding of the situation, different perspectives, and making sound decisions.

Active listening requires leaders to set aside their own assumptions, biases, and judgments in order to really hear what others are saying. This allows your team to be open to new ideas and feedback. They understand that everyone has something valuable to contribute. By listening to others, they are able to build trust and respect.

15. Respect

Most importantly, Respect. Treating people with respect on a daily basis is one of the most important things a leader can do. It will ease tensions and conflict, create trust, and improve effectiveness. A leader who shows respect for others will also be seen as someone who can be trusted. When people trust their leader, they are more likely to follow them willingly and with loyalty. Trust is built over time through consistent actions and words that show respect.

Respect is earned through acts of kindness, integrity, and fairness. A leader who shows respect to their followers will in turn be respected by them. Followers need to know that their leader cares about them as individuals and not just as part of a group. Leaders who take the time to get to know their followers on a personal level and show genuine concern for their well-being will earn their respect.


A great leader is someone who possesses a combination of essential qualities that enable them to inspire and motivate others to achieve their best. While there is no one-size-fits-all definition of what makes a great leader, the qualities on this list are some of the most important ones that successful leaders have in common. If you can develop these qualities yourself, you will be well on your way to becoming an effective and respected leader. Fore more leadership insights, visit Uphires.

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