Being a leader is a tough job, it usually means you need to be the voice of reason and the person that steers the ship back into calmer waters. There are qualities you need to be able to lead effectively, you want your team to follow you with respect and because they want to, not just because they have to.

Let’s look at 10 qualities you need to be a great leader.

1. Be passionate
This is a pretty obvious one and I start with this because I think it is very important. If you love cats and hate dogs, you’re going to find it very difficult to sell people on dogs because you’re not sold on them yourself. This isn’t the best of examples but you get the idea, you have to be passionate about what you do, obsessive even. Business is tough, no matter what kind of field you’re in, there are always barriers and strong competition and if you’re not passionate your team won’t be either. To fill them with the fire they need to do great work you need to empower them and for it to come naturally you need to working in an industry or with a product(s) that you are passionate about.

“Passion will move men beyond themselves, beyond their shortcomings, beyond their failures.”
Joseph Campbell

2. Be Communicative
This is a difficult one because there are always going to be differences of opinion, some people will feel that they have a better solution or idea. This is where your communication skills come in, you need to be willing to give and take, take their ideas/thoughts on board and discuss so you can all move forward in agreement.

The work you do should always feel like a collaboration rather than a leader dictating what should/needs to be done. This will give your followers an empowering sense of importance and responsibility. Open communication allows for great work to be done and although you may be an expert on x, y and z, a different point of view may allow for a better solution but you’ll never know unless you work on your communication skills. The most successful people in the world will have a great way of getting their message across.

3. Be Positive
Who likes to be around a Negative Nancy? No one, (shout out to all you Nancy’s out there who are filled with positivity). Being optimistic is a choice, no one is born always seeing the glass as half full, but making it a habit will help to make it feel natural. It isn’t easy at the best of times, lots of roadblocks will fill you with pessimism but if you are to be a great leader you must show your team that nothing can bring you down. Pessimism is a sure way of bringing down your ability to see opportunities that may be staring at you in the face. Be optimistic, always.

“A pessimist is one who makes difficulties of his opportunities and an optimist is one who makes opportunities of his difficulties.”
Harry S. Truman

4. Be Likeable
This is how you will get the people you’re leading who will follow you no matter what, that’s because you’ve made a great connection with them and you’re a very personable person. This personality trait is good to have because it will mean people respect you, want to be around you and see value in what you do. The very core of this comes down to being focused on other people and their needs rather than your own. Looking for ways to help other people, genuinely, is a great way to form a strong bond with people.

5. Have an open mind
We were born with two ears, two eyes and one mouth, this should tell you that it is more important to take information in than give it out. No matter who you are having a discussion with, you can learn something from them. Everyone has lived a different life, had different experiences in and out of the work place, this makes them perfect to give a different point of view. Leaders need to be able to listen, this is coming back to one’s communication skills again. It is so important. Being flexible will allow you to ride the tide of the economy, there will be times where you need to switch things up a bit and this is what separates the good leaders from the great, a great leader will have an open mind and adjust to the climate.

“I remind myself every morning: Nothing I say this day will teach me anything. So if I’m going to learn, I must do it by listening.”
Larry King

6. Be Confident
A confident leader will be able to take charge of his followers, a leader with low levels of self esteem or a leader unsure of the path he wants to take will find it hard dealing with the difference of opinions that come across in the workplace every single day. A confident leader should be able to empathise with their followers, show a clear vision for the future and be able to communicate it effectively. Having confidence in your short comings is also a great way to get your followers trust and respect, nobody’s perfect at everything and showing that you understand that is another form of confidence.

7. Have Integrity
This is a quality which is hard to come by in this day and age, people sacrifice their ethics and integrity to fit in, or make money. Sticking to your values in the bad times as well as the good times is the mark of a strong leader, being authentic is more important now than ever in the world of business. All these attributes will form a great company culture which in turn will attract great employees and customers.

“There is no higher value in our society than integrity.”
Arlen Specter

8. Be Inspiring
Great leaders inspire their followers to do great work, go the extra mile. A leader should be able to trust his followers are doing great work but without the leader being an an individual his or her followers aspire to be, that won’t always be the case. Showing great work ethic, the ability to deal with pressure and collaboration between different sets of people and departments is something you want your followers to do. Do as you want your followers to do, if you are lazy, they’ll be lazy.

Always be willing to offer inspiration to anyone, be it someone in the gym, a person in a park while you’re out going for a walk or your employees. A little piece of advice you give may change their life, listening to people and genuinely caring can go a long way. As a leader, you should be there for your followers with any work related issues as well as on a personal basis.

9. Be Focussed
A leader needs to be able to get a bird’s eye view on everything, there will always be times when you must delve down into the fine print, but on the whole to get a better idea of processes, looking in from the outside is always best. Getting stuck in minor day to day issues won’t help you with the future.

Delegation is key for a leader, he or she must be able to trust that they can delegate certain tasks and that they’ll get done. As a leader you should try to adopt selective ignorance, focus on the task at hand, for example, if you are looking to get out a new product, don’t get bogged down by what your competitors are doing, just do you. Focus is imperative.

10. Be Transparent
A high level of transparency develops trust, your followers should know that what they’re seeing is 100% authentic, no surprises and that you’re fully committed to them and your cause. Any flaws you have, anywhere you feel you’re lacking, talking about it with your team will help to build team spirit. As humans, we all want to belong, belong to a club, belong to a person, a family. If you can make the workplace feel like home, you’re onto a winning recipe. Invest time and effort in your team, it will have great returns.


Great leaders value their followers more than anything, a team that trusts in you and your vision will be able to take you to the moon and back. Adopt these and use these qualities to become a great leader and really make a difference. GSY