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Right now, the US is going through a pretty messy Presidential election. It seems both candidates are leaders with their dedicated following but completely repel (or maybe even repulse) their opponent’s constituency.

Without diving into this heated political debate in any form or fashion, this issue does bring up some very important questions about leadership in general. What does it take to be a leader? What leadership qualities or skills are most vital?

Leadership qualities can be characteristics one is born with, but the general consensus on the question as to whether leaders are born or leaders are made, is that the answer is somewhere in the middle.

Thus, there doesn’t seem to be much argument that having certain leadership qualities, combined with learned leadership skills, is the best predictor of whether or not one will ever become an effective leader. Furthermore, it is important to remember no leader can really lead and be productive in her or her goals and objectives… if no one will follow.

A leader must be someone those below him or her has confidence in and can trust to recognize – and lead them down – the right roads.

5 Leadership Qualities that Characterize Great Leaders

Strong leaders have integrity

It is important for a leader to be honest and have at least some level of moral platform others can aspire to emulate. Have you ever tried to accomplish something in your job or within your company without getting buy-in from your team? It’s nearly impossible. A leader simply cannot be productive without support.

To get this support, the leader does not need to be perfect, of course. However, it is vital whatever admirable qualities the leader does have, are “large” enough to inspire others. Furthermore, that inspiration should also be “big” enough that the followers wish for – or seek out – those qualities in themselves.

Effective leaders express authenticity

Some of the greatest leaders in history weren’t necessarily the nicest or most pleasant people to be around. Some had horrible tempers, others had drinking problems, and so on… Yet, one thing they all shared was they were true to themselves. They were genuine and authentic. Likewise, their mission and goals were fairly transparent too.

People respect authenticity. It inspires confidence and of course, people must have confidence in their leaders or they will not follow.

The best leaders put “their people” first…

Inspirational leaders value people over numbers. A good leader with strong leadership skills thinks about the feelings and emotions of those on their team and makes fulfilling their needs a priority. To do this they will ask questions and actively seek out ways to help their team members more successful.

Ever heard the expression, “You can get whatever you want if you help enough others get what they want?” Perhaps that is one of the greatest secrets of productive leaders and productive people in general – assisting others in the achievement of their goals helps you create positive momentum that drives you faster and more directly to yours.

Excellent leaders consistently strive for excellence

In everything they do, excellent leaders seek and exhibit highest levels of performance. Long-term potential is not sacrificed for short term gains. Likewise, commitments are honored and expectations are not just met, but exceeded.

The best leaders exhibit discipline

It is really hard for people to follow a leader who does not demonstrate discipline in all aspects of life. Again, this does not mean the leader has to be a perfect individual. However, he or she should never appear “average” or “normal” in the eyes of the team. Relatable – yes. Average – no. Remember – a leader must be someone with qualities the follower aspires to… Thus, always be conscious of how you look in your team’s eyes. And if there is an area of your life where you are showing a lack of discipline either consciously or subconsciously, make a commitment to yourself to correct that issue – or those issues – today!



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