Top 10 Must Have Qualities of a Successful Leader


Heather NeavesBusiness Analyst and Writer

Thursday, June 21, 2018

The difference between a good leader and a great leader is divided by these 10 must-have qualities. Do you have them all?

Article 7 Minutes
Top 10 Must Have Qualities of a Successful Leader

According to John C Maxwell,

A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.


Successful leaders are the intellectual power houses of every organization.

Leaders are the visionaries in charge of steering their organizations around pitfalls.

They are cognizant of seizing the opportunities and rallying the employees to work hard towards the organizational goals.

They find a way to strike the right balance between enthusiasm, self-assurance and charisma, with a healthy dosage of timing and luck.

Every successful enterprise requires efficient leaders who can galvanize their subordinates to get jobs done.

Great leaders are made not born.


Leadership traits can be refined, enhanced and improved and can be managed effectively with practice and time. Along with furnishing inspiration, guidance and direction, great leaders also showcase confidence, commitment, ambition, passion and courage. They nurture the talents and strengths of their workforce and fabricate teams devoted to accomplish common goals.

Here’s a list of the top 10 must-have qualities of a successful leader

1. Creates a vision

“Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision and relentlessly drive it to completion.”  -  Jack Welch


One of the most significant qualities of a great leader is vision.  This is the quality that differentiates followers from leaders.

A sound leader has a vision to look into the future.  They are very clear with respect to their idea of where they are and where they want to go, and are exceptional strategic planners. Great leaders tap into the sentiments of their employees, while managers look at getting their jobs done.

2. Honesty and integrity

Dwight.D.Eisenhower i.e. the 34th president of the United States of America said, “The supreme quality of leadership is unquestionably his integrity” and no tangible success is feasible without it. 

Integrity and honesty are the two traits that model an ideal leader. Successful leaders stick to their core beliefs, ethics and values.

A fair treatment of their people will reward the leader with dedication and honesty; adherence and consistency of their morale are important qualities of these leaders.

3. Great communicator

The ability to perfectly articulate there thoughts and vision is another skill every good leader attempts to master. Even though facing a crowd can trigger nerves for most of us, conquering this fear is what turns a good leader into a great leader.

Unless you clearly and succinctly explain your company goals and vision to the members of your team, it is hard for you to attain the desired result. Great leaders are effective communicators and are aware of when to talk, what to talk about and when to listen.

They communicate on all levels; they communicate with individual departments like they communicate with the entire staff, via e mails, social media or on a one on one basis. Communication is a flow of non-verbal and verbal exchange of information and ideas. So working on involving people and being approachable can work wonders.

4. Responsible and accountable

“A good leader takes little more than his share of the blame and little less than his share of the credit”. - Arnold H Glasow


A good leader ensures his team is accountable for everything they do. Holding your subordinates responsible for their actions enforces responsibility and gravity.

Successful leaders are cognizant of employing appropriate amounts of authority and power in any given situation without overpowering or overwhelming their employees. They take responsibility for their actions and expect the same from the team.

They function within the established modules and are efficient and productive in their decision making. They encourage, support and appreciate teams along with understanding the significance of following organizational policies and regulations.

5. Delegates and empowers

Empowerment and delegation are the two core qualities of a leader. There is only some value you can deliver without being ineffective and overloaded; hence you are expected to delegate your responsibilities which is critical in maintaining the effectiveness of the organization, reducing stress levels for yourself and developing your teams’ skills.

Empowerment and delegation involves delegating responsibilities to your team for efficient delivery of tasks, while exercising certain control over the process and the result. It is a powerful technique of diversifying a role, while keeping them motivated.

6. Makes decisions

Decision making is part of the daily expectations of a leader, which makes decision making a very significant element of leadership. Leaders often have to make challenging decisions like, should you share bad news with stockholders or do you retain an employee, fire or reposition him. Making a good decision in difficult circumstances is a big deal as these decisions often involve uncertainty, change, anxiety, unfavorable reactions and stress.

Real leaders know when to buy time, when to proceed quickly with the information in hand, when to seek more relevant information and when to stop. 

7. Emotional intelligence

A leader’s mood connects with the others and lays a foundation for the emotional climate in the organization. The ability to understand and manage your emotions and that of your subordinates is the most significant quality of a leader.

Emotional intelligence comprises of self-management, social awareness, relationship management and self-awareness. Leaders are always aware of their state of emotions and are able to manage intense emotions in order to make smart decisions.

  • Self-awareness is the basis of all the facets of emotional intelligence, which requires accurate assessment of oneself.
  • Self-management necessitates a proper understanding and control of ones emotions, an optimistic outlook and adaptation to changes.
  • Social awareness is similar to self-awareness, with an external point of focus involving perception of feelings, thoughts, and actions.
  • Relationship management is significant for ideal leadership and comprises qualities like inspiration and influence.

8. Manages complexity

Great leaders have the ability to solve their problems in tough situations. Leading through difficult situations is an important attribute of any leader.

Leaders assess the complexities of all situations and take the right course of action, often before any definitive information is available.  Leaders study the situations and look for subtle indicators and trends to establish a course of action. Managing complexities, diversities and uncertainties are the key traits of global leaders.

9. Fosters creativity and innovation

“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” - Steve Jobs


Leaders have the ability to transfer information, connect talent and scout fresh ideas. A leader is expected to be innovative and creative.

Constant innovation along with creative thinking aids will allow your team to stand out from the others. A leader comes up with newer and unique ideas and converts those ideas into reality.

Leadership is difficult without innovation, since the global race for innovation is getting tougher by the day. Innovation is the key to the success of any organization.

10. Great planner

“Strategy is not the consequence of planning, but the opposite; it’s a starting point.” - Henry Mintzberg


Good leaders are great at strategic planning and most leaders understand the need for it. Employees at all levels are comfortable when they know what to do when they have a plan, as it is a reminder of the goal they are expected to achieve.

Leaders have the potential to predict market trends, and due to increased competitiveness, organizations and leaders only survive when they continually and accurately forecast markets.

Leadership is more of an art than science. Ideal leaders trust their gut in taking great decisions. The more your involvement in a subject, the greater the reliability of your intuitions. They believe in their expertise and avoid over-thinking. Great leaders are confident about their decision making skills.

Be a leader in your organization and your personal life by taking great decisions on time. Changing oneself can be the best way to inspire others to change!

Heather Neaves

I am a Business Analyst and freelance content writer. I like blogging on topics related to technology, business and home improvement. I graduated with honors from Columbia University with a dual degree in Business Administration and Creative Writing.


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