Every leader is different, with their own style and skills. But there are some qualities they all share—qualities are essential to success in leadership. In my work coaching leaders around the world, these leadership qualities are the ones I emphasize as most important:
Focused energy. Distraction is a constant, so knowing how to focus your energy and time is critically important. Focus is the key to balancing goal-oriented planning with the flexibility to face the unexpected. It allows you to be mindful and decisive.
Self-confidence. To inspire confidence in your leadership, you first have to feel it yourself. Confidence is contagious, and people are naturally inclined to have faith in a leader who shows confidence without crossing the line into arrogance and rigidity.
A purposeful vision. A clear, purposeful, well-expressed vision helps others resonate with your ideas; seeing and understanding the big picture gives purpose to their loyalty and hard work. A leader is only a leader when others are following them toward something.
Effective communication. The greatest leaders understand the power of words—to inspire and empower or to confuse and alienate. And they know that great communication often means listening rather than speaking and responding with thoughtful questions rather than their own ideas.
Resilience. Resilience allows you to challenge yourself as a leader every day with the willingness to do your best and fail and then get back up and fail again. It’s a perspective that allows you to see every experience as a valued teacher.
Decisiveness. Leadership requires the ability to be decisive—to trust your experience, knowledge and instincts and make decisions under pressure. It means knowing that the right decision is almost never the easy one, and that failing to decide is the worst decision you can make.
Positivity. Great leaders give off a sense of positivity and optimism that energizes everyone around them. If you can approach every challenge with a positive attitude, you naturally elevate others by showing them how to approach their own setbacks.
Responsibility. As a leader, you’re going to make mistakes, and blaming others or pretending the missteps never happened only serves to erode trust. Taking responsibility for your actions shows true leadership. It models accountability and makes it easier for others to face their own mistakes.
Humility. Often misunderstood as false modesty, humility shapes your character by allowing you to embrace your own limits while maintaining self-confidence. It opens the door to collaboration and to seeking input and ideas from others.
Creativity. Creativity is the frequently overlooked skill that turns good leaders into great leaders. Fostering creativity—your own and your team’s—leads to risk-taking, innovation, and the big ideas that lead to big accomplishments.
Lead from within: Leadership isn’t something people are born with—it’s a set of skills that can be cultivated over time. When you work to develop strong leadership qualities, you’re positioning yourself to achieve greatness and to inspire it in others.
#1 N A T I O N A L B E S T S E L L E R
The Leadership Gap
What Gets Between You and Your Greatness
After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.
Additional Reading you might enjoy:
- 12 Successful Leadership Principles That Never Grow Old
- A Leadership Manifesto: A Guide To Greatness
- How to Succeed as A New Leader
- 12 of The Most Common Lies Leaders Tell Themselves
- 4 Proven Reasons Why Intuitive Leaders Make Great Leaders
- The One Quality Every Leader Needs To Succeed
- The Deception Trap of Leadership
Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.