The 6 Traits That Make a Great Leader ... Do You Have Them?

Business.com / Leadership / Last Modified: July 19, 2017
Photo credit: Yuganov Konstantin/Shutterstock

Being a great leader is one of the most important jobs you have in ensuring a profitable and successful business. The same holds true for the people you employ; all employees should strive to be a leader in one sense or another. We cover some leadership traits you can adopt and foster today.

An organization is a group of diverse people who have different interests, come from different backgrounds and have different ways of thinking. Managers are there to plan and organize the efforts of all employees and manage routine tasks and operations. But ultimately, it's the leaders who create a vision for the company and align all efforts to make it a reality. 

Leaders possess the ability to help themselves and others by setting a direction. While managers focus on doing something at the right time, leaders focus on doing the right thing at the right time. Leadership maps out where the organization is heading and integrates efforts to achieve that goal. In short, an organization without an effective leadership is like a train without an engine. 

Besides the managerial planning, organizing and controlling skills, leaders need to have specific traits in order to exert influence on employees:

Integrity

A leader should have the integrity to distinguish between right and wrong. They should be able to take the right decision and keep interests of all stakeholders safe. The integrity of leaders establishes them as trustworthy and reliable. As such, they should be responsible toward themselves, their employees and their organizations at large.

Emotional stability

Leadership is not free of stress. The role of leaders demands endurance and emotional stability, even in the face of a tough challenge. Frustration and anger are natural emotional responses to stress. But leaders have to take complete control of themselves and act sensibly. They cannot be driven by negative emotions, which usually lead to wrong decisions.

Focus

A leader who knows their goal and takes all possible actions toward it also takes organizations to greater heights of success. They have a clear vision in mind and remain focused on making it a reality. They don't let negative influences deviate them from their objective. Self-discipline and focus are thus vital qualities of a leader.

Respect

A leader should be respectable and respect others at the same time. They should not play favorites or express any form of discrimination, whether financial or cultural. They should consider all employees equal in terms of rights and benefits. The ability of leaders to be fair and just to everyone earns them the respect of employees.

Confidence

A leader should be confident, and not overconfident. They have to have faith in themselves before anybody else. They should exude confidence in their actions. They should be confident while communicating their decisions and should be able to justify their actions. Leaders should be able to make their points with conviction, without emanating arrogance and overconfidence.

Empowerment

Last but not least, a leader should empower their subordinates. They should feel emboldened and powerful in the presence of their leader. A leader should have the courage to stand up for the rights of their employees. A person with an aura of humility and compassion makes a better leader. They should motivate employees to contribute and achieve more and take the organization to greater heights of success. 

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