These 25 qualities are the makings of great leaders

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Credit: Getty Images

Credit: Getty Images

What makes a great leader? Here are 25 leadership qualities that make a positive impact on an organization.

1. Lives values: Employees must trust leaders to operate with integrity and weigh ethical consequences of decisions. Great leaders model company values daily and ensure those values resonate with everyone.

2. Sets direction: When they convey a clear direction, employees are more willing to give discretionary effort and commitment.

3. Practices accountability: They are responsible for holding others accountable. They set clear goals and expectations, fostering trust.

4. Mentors others: A passion for mentoring others is contagious and will trickle down to managers and employees across the organization.

5. Communicates well: They have an impressive ability to connect with people while keeping key business goals in mind.

6. Shows gratitude: They model meaningful appreciation daily because they understand the importance of employee recognition.

7. Appreciates flexibility: They remind others to be flexible when things do not go as planned. Embracing changes with flexibility and positivity motivates others to do the same.

8. Thinks strategically: They always think about improving their systems and using data to justify decisions. Plus, they are adaptable to new ideas and stay open-minded.

9. Encourages innovation: People want to work for leaders who encourage innovation because it shows the organization values creativity, flexibility and growth.

10. Delegates work: Thoughtful delegation requires leaders to understand their teams’ strengths, weaknesses, and professional development goals.

11. Acts empathetically: Being empathetic and emotionally intelligent helps leaders care for, respect, support, and understand employee well-being.

12. Practices discipline: They keep themselves and others on track by holding themselves to a higher level of accountability, coordination, and commitment.

13. Shows resilience: Resilience grows from difficult situations. Great leaders can quickly recover because they have confidence, experience and optimism.

14. Gives support: When leaders care for and support employees, they create an environment of trust that encourages everyone to be more authentic, confident and productive.

15. Empowers others: True employee empowerment comes from understanding people’s motivation styles, personal passions and professional development goals.

16. Thinks creatively: Business improves when leaders are creative. It helps them motivate others to think creatively. It allows companies to achieve higher levels of competition and innovation.

17. Has self-awareness: Clued-in leaders are aware of what is happening at and around their company. They value open communication, learn from the frontlines, and stay updated on industry trends.

18. Seeks collaboration: Creating a collaborative culture saves time and improves productivity, which helps companies find higher levels of success at a faster rate.

19. Embraces learning: The more leaders learn about themselves, their company, and the world, the better they are at their job.

20. Acts transparently: Being an open, transparent leader helps everyone feel more clued-in to the business, which improves employee engagement and trust.

21. Actively listens: They give people their full attention, ask thoughtful questions and follow up with solutions.

22. Demands inclusion: An inclusive workforce is full of diverse people and perspectives. This leads to more competitive ideas, increased collaboration and higher profits.

23. Inspires others: They share a deep passion for others, the business, and the future, which helps employees feel more confident in the company’s direction.

24. Exudes confidence: Leaders who are confident about themselves and their company inspire others to believe in the direction and the mission.

25. Inspires motivation: They get energy from motivating others to reach their full potential.

Great organizations encourage leadership development or risk losing top talent to competitors who understand the benefits of great leaders.


Bob Helbig is media partnerships director at Energage, a Philadelphia-based employee survey firm. Energage is The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s survey partner for Top Workplaces. To nominate your organization as a Top Workplace, go to ajc.com/TWPnominate.

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