What Makes a Good Leader?

Information Last Verified: October 7, 2021 by Jordan Fabel

Are you looking to enter a career or position of leadership? Do you want to know what it takes to be a good leader? Finding out what makes a good leader is a great way to develop the right skills and qualities.

Some leaders are born. Others cultivate the right skills and attitude. Let’s look at some of the top qualities and skills necessary to become a good leader.

What Makes a Good Leader

Top Qualities of a Good Leader

Courage

You need to be courageous if you want to lead. Think about it this way; if you were leading on a battlefield, you might be the first one going into the fight.

While you might not be going to war, courage is necessary. You will need to make decisions people might not like. It’s also necessary for leaders to correct behavior.

Focus

One of the most important qualities of a good leader is focus. You have to be very clear on the goals of the team, even when others aren’t.

Passion

You must be passionate about the goal of the team. Leaders have to have incredible passion and be able to motivate others towards the goal.

Collaboration

Leadership includes collaboration. While you might be in charge, you cannot do everything yourself. You have to work with your team, with vendors, with contractors, and with other companies. Therefore, collaboration is a key quality of a good leader.

Active Listening

The best leaders are great listeners. They know how to receive feedback and make people feel heard. Leaders have to listen to their team.

Humility

Great leaders have humility. They know how to admit when they were wrong.

Accountability

Leaders have to be able to hold themselves accountable. If you want to be seen as weak, blame others. True leaders take ownership and hold themselves accountable for the actions of the team.

Patience

When mistakes happen, patience becomes a key trait of a good leader. You have to be patient and provide guidance for your team.

Resilience

Leaders also need to be resilient. Things don’t always go as planned. You might need to create a new process, hire new people, or change the actual goals of the project to succeed.

Communication

Of course, if you want to be a good leader, you have to be willing to communicate. Good leaders know how to get through to their team in meetings, during projects, and in all other situations.

Trust

You cannot be a leader without the ability to trust others. You have to be able to delegate tasks to lead a team. Of course, this goes both ways. Good leaders also need to be trusted by their team.

Flexibility

Understanding how to be flexible makes a good leader. The worst leaders are rigid and stubborn. If you can learn how to be flexible with your team, you’ll be a better leader.

Confidence

Leaders have to be confident. If you’re not confident in your abilities and your team, chances are, you will fail as a leader. On the other hand, with confidence, a strong leader will stay calm in all situations.

Honesty

As a leader, honesty is always the best policy. If you’re not a truthful person, you will likely fail as a leader. On the other hand, good leaders are honest; they won’t like it even when they know it will lead to consequences.

Top Skills Needed to Be a Good Leader

Ability to Motivate

One of the key job duties of a leader is to motivate their team towards the goal. Good leaders can inspire employees to work harder, do better work, and achieve their goals. They know how to light a fire and keep someone going when they cannot do it themselves.

Incredible Communication Skills

There is no such thing as a good leader with poor communication skills. However, if you want to be a great leader, you better learn how to communicate.

You will need to provide constructive criticism to your team members. It’s also common for leaders to fire people and hire new people. Communicating with your team and with others is vital to your success as a leader.

Decision-Making Skills

Leaders must be decisive. You have to make quick decisions, and they need to be the right decisions. If you don’t have good decision-making skills, you may not be a good leader.

Creativity

Not everything is black and white when you’re a leader. Coming up with creative solutions to problems is vital to most projects. As a leader, you will need to develop new ideas and help your team achieve its goals.

Negotiating Skills

Leaders will often negotiate with vendors and contractors. They may also need to negotiate contracts with employees. Therefore, negotiating skills are important to become a good leader.

Ability to Delegate

If you cannot delegate tasks to your team, you won’t become a good leader. Therefore, learning how to delegate and how to hire well is very important to becoming an effective leader.

Expertise

There is nothing worse than someone in charge of a team that doesn’t know what they are doing. Therefore, before you step into a leadership position, you should have expertise in your field. If you’re not at least on the path to becoming an expert, you may fail as a leader.

Time Management Skills

Deadlines are looming around every corner when you’re the leader. You must manage your time well, whether in the office or working remotely. Stay on top of deadlines and the requirements for your staff.

Analytical Skills

Your ability to analyze a situation and analyze data is necessary as a leader. You have to know what is going on to make good decisions.

Organizational Skills

As a leader, you will need to stay organized. You might be in charge of the schedule for employees, the project tasks, and numerous other things. Often, poor leaders lose control because they aren’t well organized.

Problem-Solving Skills

As a leader, one of your main jobs is solving problems. Whether it’s an issue an employee is struggling with or an issue with a task at hand, you have to come up with solutions.

How to Improve Your Skills as a Leader

As a leader, you should always be working to improve your skills. Some of the skills can be learned, while others simply need to be practiced and developed. Here are a few tips to help you improve your leadership skills.

Know your Style

Leadership styles vary from one leader to another. Knowing your style will help you to address the necessary skills you should work on. Common leadership styles include:

Figuring out your style will help you to develop your skills to become a better leader.

Define your Strengths and Weaknesses

A good leader can recognize the areas they are weakest. They know their strengths, and they know where they need the most work. Identifying your strengths and weaknesses can help you focus on improving your leadership skills.

Set Smart Goals

As a leader, you need Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic goals with a Timeline. These are known as SMART goals. When you set this type of goal, it’s easier to achieve.

Get a Mentor

The best leaders have a mentor to help coach them through becoming better leaders. If you want to be a great leader, find someone to mentor you. They can help identify things you should work on when you cannot see the issue.

How to Build Your Leadership Skills

Maybe you’re not in a leadership position yet, but you want to build up your skills. There are some easy ways to ensure you can become a leader. Let’s look at three great ways to build your leadership skills.

1. Get more Responsibility

If you want to become a leader, you have to ask for more responsibility. This is important when you’re at a job, and you want to move up. Of course, you might not want to do this after a few weeks at a new job. But, if you’ve been around long enough, ask for more responsibility.

When your manager gives you more to do, they will get to see your skills. In addition, they will be able to see if you’re trustworthy with more tasks.

2. Take the Initiative

Some managers want you to do things outside your job description without needing to be told. However, good leaders never say, “that isn’t my job.” Instead, they take the initiative and show their worth to their company.

3. Work on Specific Skills

You can get specific with building your leadership skills, too. For example, if you struggle to communicate well, maybe you can take a class in communications. Sometimes just reading a book and putting the tips into practice can help.

Jordan Fabel

Jordan Fabel

Covering different 'paths' that people's lives can take. Creative, foster parent, ticket dismissal, you get the idea. Exploring the requirements, certifications, exams, and obviously, approved courses along each path. I, personally, am the high school dropout son of two teacher parents. So how did I get here? That story takes more time. Coming soon!