Top 10 Personality Traits of Great Leaders

Written by on July 27, 2020

It’s not easy to be an effective leader. It requires a unique set of skills and the specific personality traits of a good leader. Few people are born with all of them, but everyone can maximize their leadership skills and qualities.

woman leader holding white mug while standing

Many of us want to be better leaders, but don’t know where to start. There are many great books on leadership skills, but the effectiveness of skills is limited without the proper personality to execute those skills.

Develop these personality traits and be a great leader:

  • Boldness: Being a great leader takes guts. It’s not just about making decisions; it’s about making hard decisions in tough situations. When you’re at the helm, your team looks to you for direction and assurance. A bold leader steps up, owning their choices, steering the ship through rough waters. This trait involves risk-taking but with a calculated approach. Remember, boldness is not recklessness; it’s about thoughtfully taking the lead, especially when the path isn’t clear. Your team’s trust in you grows when they see you handle uncertainty with resolve and determination.
  • Assertiveness: You can’t be timid and be a great leader. Assertiveness is about clear, effective communication. It’s understanding the balance between aggression and passivity. An assertive leader communicates their vision and expectations with clarity, ensuring that the team is aligned with the goals. It’s also about boundary setting – knowing when to say ‘yes’ and more importantly, when to say ‘no’. This trait is crucial in conflict resolution and in making decisions that might not be popular but are necessary for the well-being of the team and the project.
  • Confidence: Confidence is intoxicating. It’s the backbone of leadership – the belief in oneself and one’s abilities. This trait is contagious; when a leader exudes confidence, it trickles down to the team, instilling a sense of security and trust. A confident leader is also open to feedback and criticism, understanding that these are opportunities for growth. This confidence isn’t just about believing in yourself; it’s about empowering your team to believe in their abilities as well.
  • Emotional Stability: When you lead others, there are many ups and downs. Emotional stability in leadership means maintaining a level head amidst the chaos. It’s about being the calming force in a storm, providing reassurance and stability. This trait involves a high level of self-awareness and self-regulation. It means being able to process emotions healthily and not letting personal feelings adversely affect decision-making or team morale.
  • Tenacity: You can never give up. A tenacious leader embodies resilience and a relentless pursuit of goals. This trait involves bouncing back from setbacks with a renewed sense of purpose and a plan to overcome obstacles. Tenacity is about consistency in effort and commitment, even when the journey is fraught with challenges. It’s about showing your team that perseverance pays off, and that obstacles are just stepping stones to success.
  • Inspirational: Being inspirational is about sparking motivation and enthusiasm in your team. It involves painting a vision that others want to be a part of and leading by example. An inspirational leader is passionate and driven, capable of rallying the team around a common goal. It’s about recognizing and harnessing the unique strengths of each team member and encouraging them to excel.
  • Humility: It can be challenging to be a confident leader and be humble at the same time. Humility in leadership is acknowledging that you don’t have all the answers and that every team member’s input is valuable. It’s about being approachable and open to learning from others. A humble leader prioritizes the team’s success over their ego, fostering an environment of trust and respect.
  • Dealing with Complexity: When you’re leading a large group of people, things are complex. Effective leaders are adept at navigating this complexity, breaking down large problems into manageable parts. They’re skilled at understanding the interconnectedness of actions and decisions and can anticipate the ripple effects. Dealing with complexity also involves being adaptable and flexible, adjusting strategies as situations evolve.
  • Charisma: Charisma is a little hard to define, but everyone knows it when they see it. Charismatic leaders have a magnetic presence that naturally draws people towards them. They’re skilled communicators, able to articulate their vision in a way that’s compelling and relatable. Charisma involves a blend of confidence, empathy, and the ability to engage with others on a personal level.
  • Integrity: Without integrity, no one will trust you. Integrity in leadership means consistency in actions and words, standing by your principles, and being honest and transparent. It’s about making ethical decisions and taking responsibility for both successes and failures. Leaders with integrity are trusted and respected by their teams, creating a culture of honesty and openness.

How do your own personality traits stack up? What can you improve to become a more effective leader? Not everyone is born with natural leadership skills and attributes, but everyone can become a good leader with development.

If you want to become a great leader, work on these traits and become the best leader you can be.

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