Leadership Characteristics to be a Successful Leader

Leadership Characteristics written on a chalkboard strong communicator courageous self-aware authentic decision maker gracious/humble positive empathetic flexible accountable

Being a great leader takes a lot of hard work, determination and discipline. There are certain leadership characteristics you must have and skills you need to develop. Don't despair if you lack any of the qualities we are going to discuss. While some will be more naturally predisposed to some of these qualities compared to others, all of them can be developed.

If you are willing to put in the hard work, all of these leadership attributes can be developed, fine tuned and perfected. Remember, leadership is a verb as much as it is a noun. Developing your leadership qualities is an ongoing process that you will work on your whole life.

Don't be discouraged if your self inventory of your leadership abilities doesn't stack up to this list. Start small and start working towards developing the qualities you want improve the most. Little by little you will start to see progress!

While we will discuss many habits, characteristics and attributes below, let's start with one habit you SHOULD NOT get trapped into. While growing your leadership qualities, it is very easy to become impatient.

We look at ourselves and our leadership everyday and might ask for too much feedback or advice. We then give too much weight to the feedback when we get it. Be patient, growing your leadership skills takes time and builds character.

If you stared at a tomato plant after putting a seed in the ground, it will seemingly never grow. Water it everyday and look at it after a week and you start to see the growth. Take great care of it and before you know it, it is bearing a lot of fruit! Below are some good leadership qualities, characteristics and habits that will make you a better leader.

Remember, as you grow these important leadership qualities, be kind to yourself and give yourself time to grow.

Leadership Characteristics


judge pointing at a piece of text

Everything begins and ends with the leader. From design to production, from new employees to separation, from beginning to end. Regardless of the context leaders find themselves in, they are responsible for not only the outcome but for all of the details in between. Leaders must act like they are on center stage.

Being accountable to their team and employees is one of the best ways for new leaders to earn respect. Lack of accountability is also one of the fastest ways for even the most seasoned of leaders to lose respect. There is a great book on this topic that we highlight in one of our leader resources.

Leaders must own everything in their world, their is no one else to blame - Jocko Willink


The world is changing faster today than it arguably has at any point in human history. Everything is faster. Communication, flow of information, employee learning curves, food delivery, just about everything. If leaders cannot or will not adapt to the ever changing landscape around them they will fail.

It is the leader's job to be flexible with what needs to change while remaining positive and resolute for the employees that follow them. The leaders that can successfully adapt and pivot (and do it quickly) will have a huge advantage over those that can't.

Flexibility is the key to stability - John Wooden


have no fear written in black text on white paper laying on the ground

Being a good leader means doing things that might frighten you in your career. It means standing up for what is right and acting quickly to protect that which matters most to your team, organization or family. It means having the necessary but difficult conversations with those people that need tough feedback. It means staying calm when everyone else is panicking.

It can also mean being vulnerable with people you care about to make a true connection with them. The leader must remain steadfast in the face of adversity and pressure without becoming calloused in the process. In today's world they will face plenty of both but will always need to be understanding as well.

Fear is a reaction, courage is a decision - Winston Churchill