Top Five Leadership Qualities

Top Five Leadership Qualities

There are people that just stand out as different from the crowd. Sometimes for good reasons, sometimes, not so good.

What is it that makes people get noticed? What leads people to getting promoted? To being preferred by their customers? What says “leader” about some people, regardless of what position they currently hold?

As I coach leaders and people that do make hiring and promotion decisions, here are some of the top things that I hear from them:

  1. They show initiative. They are not just doing the bare minimum. They think of other things to do. They organize things, they improve processes, they come up with projects that benefit the business or the team.
  2. They take risks. This is not always intuitive. Risks are risky, lol. This is often a sought-after quality though by senior leaders. The risks obviously need to be somewhat calculated and preferably floated by someone if they are significant. This willingness to take risks though shows leadership - a willingness to own responsibility and to try to bring an improvement.
  3. They communicate appropriately and pro-actively.This may mean weekly one-on-ones with direct reports, it may mean keeping a team informed of coming changes, and it includes owning up to errors and omissions.
  4. They really are team players. Many people talk this language but true collaborators that don’t need their ego stroked are sadly a little rare. They may not even take credit for ideas that they started, in favor of someone or the team getting noticed.
  5. They think like entrepreneurs. In fact some businesses are actively hiring successful entrepreneurs as employees. Entrepreneurs are used to thinking outside the box and creating something new. They are self-starters and really do “own” their success. These qualities translate well to the workplace.

Ready for some homework?

What are the top 10 qualities that you admire in a leader? After you have written them down rate yourself on each from 1-5 (1 being low, 5 exceptional).

Which of these qualities do you want to grow in? Who around you is strong in that area that might be willing to mentor or coach you?

Which of these qualities do you feel strong in? How can you encourage this quality, and the benefits it brings, with your colleagues?

Bonus Homework:

Ask 3-5 of your colleagues or direct reports to write down what they see as your top 5 leadership qualities. Comparing that to your self-concept can be quite interesting!

Until next time,


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