11 Exceptional Leadership Qualities of Great Leaders


Think of the best leaders that you have worked with, what common traits do they have?  Chances are, if you poll a room of people and ask them that question, you will find that there will be similar answers with similar leadership qualities.


Leadership is not complicated, but it is not easy.   With the title, comes responsibility and your need to reinvent new ways of achieving success.  Market needs change and with different market fluctuations come different strategies.


What usually never changes are the leadership qualities that result in an empowered team that delivers exceptional results.


Here are 11 Of Those Exceptional Leadership Qualities



Companies talk about strategies all the time, but even more important than strategy is vision.  Without a clear vision, no strategy can save you.  Leaders must not only be able to create that vision but communicate it to their team in such a way that inspires.  To speak to that vision so clearly that it almost becomes tangible.



Although it is a skill that can be found lacking in many managers, a leader knows that having strong communication skills is an essential quality.  It is also one of the most challenging.  Communication is not just about transmitting information.  In order to build alignment and execute strategy, a leader understands that communication must flow freely in both directions and in every circumstance.


Delegation and Empowerment

No leader can achieve success on their own.  Sometimes, it can be easier to do things on your own, even believing that you are saving time by not having to teach a skill to another person.  An effective leader understands that this is only a short term win.  Delegation not only frees your time to do tasks only in your span of control but empowers and motivates your team and develops top players.



When times are tough and things go wrong, a leader first looks within.  I have worked with many leaders who blame their team for lackluster results.  A leader who takes accountability accepts responsibility for the outcomes expected out of you and your team.  They don’t blame others or any external environment.


Arnold H Glasow said this about accountability, “A good leader takes little more than his share of the blame and little less than his share of the credit.”


Decision Making

They need to make them and they need to make them often.  Decisions are a part of a leader’s every day.  A leader should have the ability to take the right decision at the right time.  They have the courage to make decisions even if it means that they sometimes make the wrong ones.  When that happens, they learn from them and move on.



In this ever changing fast pace environment, directions change all the time.  This can sometimes result in confusion, disappointment or discouragement.  Great leaders inspire people to reach great heights of performance and success in any environment.  Inspirational leaders help people keep the end in mind and use that vision to keep them going during difficult times and celebrate with them during great times.


Leadership is based on a spiritual quality; the power to inspire, the power to inspire others to follow.” –Vince Lombardi



Confidence is at the cornerstone of leadership.  You can teach a leader to be an effective problem solver but confidence comes from within.  Important decisions need to be made on a regular basis and a great leader needs to first believe in himself or herself.  Then, they need to know how to inspire confidence in others.



Leaders should develop empathy with their followers. It is essential for creating a connection with their team.  Understanding the problems of your employees’ is the first step to become an effective leader.



When I was a General Manager of a large department store, I used to take the time to walk throughout every department and engage with staff.  It wasn’t about “checking” in on them but to ensure that they were getting the support and development they needed.  It also helped me to quickly identify opportunities and strategize a way to overcome them.  Most importantly, it allowed me to connect with my team which led to greater engagement.


Leaders at all levels need to be available, approachable, and visible.  They also need to be present when they have to deliver bad or unpopular news, and take time to have those difficult coaching performance conversations.



Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”


An important leadership skill is the ability to create and sustain enough momentum to assure that they are adapting to different market needs.  In order to be able to accomplish this, leaders need to be prepared for the future while keeping their teams focused on the present.


Leaders need to be prepared for the unexpected.


Being prepared means; focusing on developing your Leadership Pipeline, having a vision of the future and becoming an expert in understanding and planning for changing market shifts.



Great leaders know that it is not about one quality, it’s about a blend of several key traits.


At the start of this post, I asked you to take the time to remember a great leader?   Which of these traits did they have?