From communication to always staying humble, here are the 17 answers to the question, “What are the most important traits of a leader and why?”
- Excellent Communication
- The Ability to Filter Information
- High Emotional Intelligence
- Clear Vision
- Progressive Thinking
- Be a Good Teacher
- Good Delegation
It all comes down to communication. Every chance I can, I answer something like this. I ingrain communication in every aspect of being a leader, and a leader without the ability to communicate will struggle to manage some of the most important aspects of a business.
We use communication for managing employee expectations and goals, building culture within your company, motivating team members to trust you, brainstorming with others, selling your product/service to investors, and so much more.
Can it be faked? No, I don’t believe we can fake proper communication in the long term. Communication is best represented when it’s authentic, natural, and can be done quickly and effectively at different times.
The best leaders I’ve worked with have been master communicators and used this trait to positively impact their company and the people around them.
Kurtis Forster, Sales Representative, Nu-Vista Premiere Realty
The Ability to Filter Information
Leaders find themselves at the cusp of everything in an organization and even an industry, which means a lot of information comes their way. While this ready access to loads of crucial insights is always welcome, it also makes the ability of a leader to filter information a vital trait.
Only when leaders can line up and connect essential insights, can they derive a plan that helps their organization and their teams? While helpful every day, this leadership trait proves especially critical in times of crisis. And teams would rather have an informed leader at the helm than one with access to information they cannot comprehend.
Riley Beam, Managing Attorney, Douglas R. Beam, P.A.
High Emotional Intelligence
If we are talking about effective leaders, then it’s always a mix of traits.
In my opinion, the most significant trait is high emotional intelligence. This allows leaders to build effective teams and productive relationships. I believe that the times of domineering and cold-blooded leaders are in the past.
I would also highlight such character traits as hard work and a high level of self-motivation.
Otherwise, it would not be easy to achieve goals and prioritize the next steps. For example, I often repeat: “If something can be done now, then it is better to do it now,” therefore, many decisions or actions would have been postponed until ‘better times’ without these traits.
Tatsiana Kerimova, CEO, Orangesoft
Leaders must have a clear vision for their company to lead their teams properly toward their goals. Sharing this vision keeps management and team members eyeing the same objectives and on track to do the work together.
Employees must understand what they’re working toward to deliver the best performance. A product team must understand how to improve a product, and a writing team must understand a business’s brand identity.
There isn’t room for wishy-washy thinking in steering business growth. Companies eventually grow into what we envision them to be. Any indecision from leadership on their company’s direction inevitably hurts employee performance and how products will be received by consumers.
Zach Goldstein, CEO & Founder, Public Rec
One of the most important traits of a leader is resilience. Leaders are constantly dealing with challenges and adversity, and those who can persevere and remain focused on the task at hand will be successful.
Resilience helps leaders stay motivated in difficult times, push through obstacles, and keep their teams moving forward toward their set goals. Furthermore, it also helps them to stay adaptable and adjust their plans in response to changing circumstances. The ability to remain resilient, no matter what the situation, is a key trait of effective leaders.
Amira Irfan, Founder & CEO, A Self Guru
One of the most important traits of a leader I have experienced is positivity. Being an optimist allows you to take on challenges with confidence and make the best possible decisions in any situation.
Positivity lifts spirits, leading to greater productivity and collaboration within a team, as well as higher levels of satisfaction from within yourself. Positivity gives energy to your leadership style, providing support for others and helping them stay focused on their goals.
For me personally, positivity is invaluable in my leadership experience; it has motivated me to keep going even when times were hard and enabled me to figure out creative solutions quickly and effectively. Without it, I’d definitely feel lost!
Lorien Strydom, Executive Country Manager, Financer.com
Many leaders create a persona to take on while they’re at work. Often, this persona is overly authoritative and uncompromising because they think it’s the best way to garner respect. However, that which they interpret as respect is typically fear.
A leader who is genuine earns unconditional and longstanding respect and is “real” with their employees. Authentic leaders exude confidence and reliability. They let their personality shine through and don’t become somebody else.
Eric Ang, Director, One Search Pro
Adaptability is an essential trait for any leader to possess; it is the cornerstone of strong leadership. Adaptable leaders can adjust their strategy and approach depending on the situation, enabling them to remain one step ahead and attain successful outcomes in a variety of contexts.
Adaptable leaders are able to calmly assess their actions and change their behavior according to the reactions they encounter. Moreover, they use this flexibility to expect potential opponents or changes in direction.
Adaptability allows a leader to tackle each challenge in the most efficient and effective way possible, evidence that is integral to achieving long-term success within the role.
Jim Campbell, CEO, Campbell Online Media
Leaders must focus on what is constructive to stay future-oriented. Leadership’s primary duty is to make the decisions that shape an organization’s future.
If leaders get stuck in problem-solving or reviewing issues of the past, they are not present in shaping the future. Positivity and progressive thinking keep us planning for tomorrow, even if things today are falling apart.
Vision is essential to business success because time and resources are limited from the start. The best leaders solve problems or delegate skillfully to orient their attention where it must stay–building today into a better tomorrow.
Jason Panzer, President, Hexclad
Prominent leaders are also great learners. As a leader, the goal is rarely to tell people what to do. Instead, it is to serve those we lead so that they can accomplish great things.
The only way to succeed at that is to be relentlessly curious about our team, their abilities, goals, perspectives, and challenges. Listening keenly is the path to discovering how we can support people in leveraging their own brilliance and closing the gaps in their ability that are blocking their own success.
Instead of trying to make people do things, learn what you can provide or illuminate for your team to be extraordinary.
Amie Devero, President, Beyond Better Strategy and Coaching
Be a Good Teacher
Not everyone will understand the tasks you assign them or work-related goals that need to be met. This is where good leadership comes in. You can teach employees a lot by example, or by discussing with them the upcoming task.
I find my tasks much easier when I understand exactly what our company needs or what my boss wants. I’ve learned a lot from him in terms of teachable moments and the importance of communication.
He’s never too busy to explain to me why this task is important or how to perform the task better. It shows he cares and when you can trust your leaders in teaching moments; it makes work much better.
Seth Newman, Director, SportingSmiles
Be willing to let go. Leaders take on all the responsibility, but if they’ve done a good job, they should also know when to relinquish some.
They’ll have cultivated a talented team, taught them, and trusted them. By delegating some of their workloads, a leader can really focus on other issues at hand. They’ll also boost morale by demonstrating respect for their employees, letting them know they think talent can take on more and do it well.
Being willing to relinquish some responsibility, and in the process boost morale, is an important trait of a leader.
Temoer Terry, Partner, Mommy Care Kit
Trustworthiness is one of the most important traits of a leader because, without it, productivity decreases because of a lack of order and efficient communication.
Thus, it is essential that a leader is trustworthy to keep an organization or team focused and operating satisfactorily. Trust is a non-negotiable trait to have for any well-functioning team or leader to be successful.
Sustaining a reliable presence via clear and concise direction and business practices should be a top priority for any leader in order to reduce workplace conflicts and foster a productive working environment.
Andrew Chen, Chief Product Officer, videeo.live
One of the most important traits a leader must possess is the ability to look past his or her biases in order to make impartial, open-minded decisions. In fact, it’s these biases that often hinder professionals from reaching their full potential.
The fact is, everyone has personal biases, but it’s the person who realizes this and can think and act outside of the preconceived notions that truly separate themselves from the crowd.
Leaders who exhibit this trait will not only make better decisions, but will also help develop a team culture that is built on acceptance, honesty, and fairness.
Alaina Ross, Co-Founder & HR Director, Sleep Family
Leaders with a clear vision of what success looks like are motivated and lead with purpose and clarity. These professionals know what they want to achieve and have refined strategies to help accomplish their goals.
Their pure ambition and sharp perspectives continuously lead them to opportunities that aid in their journey. Leaders with a clear vision of success are able to clearly explain this vision to others for their benefit.
This results in building a prominent network of connections, capable leaders, partners, colleagues, and employees who believe in their values and the work they’re trying to accomplish.
Nick Oberheiden, Founder & Attorney, Oberheiden
Integrity has always been one of the most important traits of a leader that I have looked up to. It means having strong moral principles, being honest, and always doing the right thing, even when no one is looking.
Integrity is important for a leader because it not only serves as an example to those around them but also presents an irresistible influence on team members and inspires trust. It stands out among other leadership qualities because it builds relationships between coworkers and prevents any semblance of corruption, which would tarnish one’s ability to grow and develop as a professional.
Whenever I observe someone who exhibits high levels of integrity, it always motivates me to strive to become a more effective leader myself.
Ludovic Chung-Sao, Lead Engineer & Founder, Zen Soundproof
Humility is key. The ability to admit your mistakes or weaknesses is a strength that speaks volumes. Beyond that, it gives those under you permission to do the same.
When an employee is honest about their weaknesses, other members of the team step up to help fill in the gaps. Before long, a staff of bonded employees who trust, encourage, and support one another is formed.
It all starts with a leader who is honest about their flaws. The impact of a humble leader is vast.
Kenneth Lin, CEO, BOOP Bakery