Leadership Characteristics | What Defines a Good Leader

Living life at its best and making the most of good things can turn your mundane life into an exciting one. And if you know how to have control and how to lead others, you can achieve a sense of fulfillment and success. Having said that, everyone must have a few leadership characteristics to stand out in their life.

Being a leader and becoming a leader requires you to possess some set of leadership qualities. These qualities will help you behave and act in a way leaders do. However, if you do not know what those skills are and how you can become a leader, this article will help you.

Reading this article, you will learn about the qualities and ways to achieve them step by step. 

What is Leadership?

leadership characteristics

Have you ever witnessed people leading a group of people and instructing them to follow their commands? That is what leaders do. They are individuals who know how to lead a team, how to command them, and how to make them follow their instructions. They are people who have strong leadership skills with the help of which they are respected and obeyed. 

Individuals with leadership qualities can easily bring people together to get things done. They exercise their powering skills and direct or influence others who trust them. However, leadership is not only about orders and obedience. It also empowers collaboration and communication to achieve a specific target. 

If you think you have such strength and can effectively lead others, then wait no more and use these strengths to bring the change you want. However, we have good news for you if you do not have these qualities. You can learn leadership qualities because they are some characteristics you can have if you practice them daily.  

How to Develop Leadership Qualities? 

To develop leadership qualities, you must first make an idea about them. So are you aware of them? Below we have listed a few characteristics that leaders have. Have a look and examine if you can adopt them. 

Leadership Characteristics List

Although humbleness, patience, sensitivity, passion, and control are a few strengths that are popular among leaders, there are many other characteristics as well. You might not require each of them to become a leader, but you should at least have a sense of the qualities that make up a leader. 

The following are some of the essential strengths and traits you can find in a leader:

  • Communication
  • Integrity
  • Knowledge 
  • Discipline 
  • Self-Awareness
  • Learning Agility
  • Influence
  • Experience 
  • Power 
  • Courage
  • Mindfulness 
  • Coachable
  • Respect
  • Problem-solver
  • Delegation
  • Gratitude
  • Empathy
  • Productivity 
  • Ethical
  • Experience 
  • Resilient
  • Patient
  • Motivated
  • Honest
  • Humble
  • Creativity 
  • Creative
  • Trustworthy
  • Critical thinking 
  • Purposeful
  • Agile
  • Confident
  • Productivity 
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Determined
  • Decisive
  • Wisdom 
  • Positive outlook
  • Growth mindset
  • Accountable

Although the list is extensive, there are various other qualities that I can mention. In other words, the list can go on and on.

How Many Leadership Characteristics are There?

A leader is a home to multiple characteristics. You can identify a good leader based on the given traits.

Bold and Confident 

Leaders are bold and confident because they do not fear failure. They face fear courageously and battle them without doubts. Whether it is a conflict, judgment, trial, challenge, or loss, they do not lose courage. They stay confident and boldly make new decisions and directions.


The real challenge of a leader is to stay patient, disciplined, and resilient in the face of tribulations. People who often fail and lose strength can not be leaders because leadership requires efforts and compromises that you can only achieve if you know how to act with resilience. 

In times of crisis, try to remain faithful and take on new challenges. By doing this, you can encourage your employees to stay passionate even when things seem to fall apart.

Great Communicator

An individual who does not know how to communicate their thoughts, ideas, or even commands, can not be a good leader. Leaders are people who trust and listen. And if they do not know how to share their ideas effectively, they can not make them do what they want.


The path to achievement is challenging. You can face difficulties, or you might need to show patience. Consistency is the key to unlocking such lengthy journeys. People who fail and withdraw in the middle of their efforts can not succeed. Success is a continuous effort, and consistent people can unlock victory more easily. So if you lack persistence and continuation of efforts, you can not be a leader. 


Leaders are coaches as well. They have an extensive awareness of the world and have multiple life experiences that make them competent enough to offer guidance, support, and suggestions. And since leaders are great speakers, people love to listen to them.


Leaders are born with a vision. They know their ultimate goals and have a purpose in life. And this is why they are found in leadership. You can not inspire others unless you have experienced some kind of similar journey. And these journeys and experiences can create a sense of purpose and meaning in your life. 


Leaders are known for their humbled, soft, and caring nature. Although they are people who can easily command others and make them follow their instructions, this does not make them proud. They avoid thinking highly of themselves and maintain a pleasant aura for everyone around them.


A true leader knows how to think outside of the box. And this problem-solving skill helps them to access new knowledge or innovations. Leaders will never ask you to stop growing. Instead, they will teach you how growth is necessary to broaden life experiences because they inform people about new solutions.


If leaders lack motivation, they can not inspire others because motivating others requires an individual to have self-motivation. If you are not eager and willing, you can not gather the energy to transfer these skills to your team or listeners.


You can not succeed if you rush things. Growth and maturity demand leaders to observe patience and sensibility while they carry out critical matters.


Leaders take responsibility for each of their actions and words. They admit their faults and try to improve them willingly. 


You can not inspire people if you are pessimistic. Leaders have strong faith in their abilities, efforts, and fates. They believe in good outcomes if proper effort and hard work have been invested in it. Their optimistic approach even helps them to undergo things that prove no luck.


Leaders can stay determined and disciplined during tough times, and this quality makes them what they are known for.

What is Management?

Management deals with the administration and coordination of tasks among the team members. It revolves around seeking growth and success by effectively creating favorable situations and commanding the team members. People responsible for devising strategies for the organization and communicating them to the staff are essential to management and are usually known as managers or leaders.

Leaders can’t be leaders if they do not know how to give orders, manage organizations, boost productivity, and produce positive results. And to witness these developments, they must possess a few qualities that will help them plan strategies and maintain consistency among their staff. 

Leaders are responsible for achieving various objectives or goals, and there can be different levels of management or leadership with a unique set of characteristics. Below we have differentiated a few leadership types to help you understand their unique roles and importance. 

Leadership Characteristics in Management

Management is the process of managing a single individual or a group of people. Managers or leaders must deal with team members or control respective things or strategies. These leadership characteristics examples will help you learn what managers are responsible for:

Devise Strategies

The first management rule is to know how you will manage your team. In other words, you can say that a manager should know about their goals and strategies. Without a prepared set of objectives and strategies, you can not bring effect and action properly. Therefore, planning is a vital component of management. 

Effectiveness and Action

The next step that follows is action and effectiveness. Once you have devised your procedures, you will try enforcing them step by step to create an effect. And if you want an effective result, you will carefully instruct your team members and boost their willingness to reduce errors.

Exercise Control

A good leader knows how to create action and control simultaneously. Your goal is not restricted to bringing positive results; you must also exercise authority and power to address and resolve errors and changes. 

Increase Productivity

Productivity is a crucial component that directs success and yields positive outcomes. If your employees lack hard work or productivity, you can treat their procrastination and lack of will by inspiring them and showing them the good side.

Yield Results

Leaders can’t be leaders if their employees do not obey and respect them. A good manager knows how to produce results and reach success. They effectively train their employees to pave the road towards the targets. 

What is Transformational Leadership?

Leaders who believe in inspiring and empowering others fall under the category of transformational leaders. Such leaders teach their teams to own their roles and participate in whatever it takes to reach their goals. They motivate not only others but also practice ownership and participation in their lives. 

Transformational leaders believe in the four “I’s”. These are: 

Individual Consideration

It helps in creating positive bonds and re=enforcing positive connections among the employees. This step can facilitate communication and help them understand and value each other.

Intellectual Stimulation

This quality boosts learning among the team members. You can encourage innovation, creativity, and critical thinking by offering them new growth and learning opportunities.

Idealized Influence

This trait can let you earn respect and trust of your employees after you meet their expectations and help them in their journey. 

Inspirational Motivation

This is a vital model to boost inspiration in employees and bring their best traits into action.

Transformational Leadership Characteristics

Although these four ‘I’s’ offer an excellent foundation for transformational leadership, some characteristics can bring the desired passion to your team members. Have a look at these leadership characteristics examples.

Empower Minds

Transformational leadership is all about empowerment. No leadership is effective without teaching inspiration and boosting motivation. If you are a transformational leader, you must have willingness and passion among your employees or team members.

Create Trust in Team Members

An employee or a team member is an asset to the leader. Without a group of individuals, leaders would not find a platform to exercise their powers and skills. So if you have a team, try to win their trust because this will help you in the long run. Employees who trust and respect their leaders are more likely to perform and obey well.

Boost Willingness 

To achieve success, your team needs to participate. And to achieve their participation, you must boost their will to place their efforts and roles in achieving the desired targets. As a transformational leader, your team must instill willingness and zeal.

Create Tolerance and Patience

The road to success is not always easy. You might face some obstacles or difficulties. However, if you stay patient and tolerate difficult moments, you can easily survive the situation. So as a leader, you must be patient and resilient and teach these traits to your team members too.

Increase Active Listening

Workers who are good at listening and absorbing new knowledge are more likely to witness success and accomplishments than others who stay less active. Instruct your team members to increase their active listening because this can result in exposure to new ideas or innovations.


Transformational leader is accountable for their team’s performance and roles. They take responsibility for their efforts and correct them when they feel there needs to be an improvement. You can also find them accepting their mistakes and taking account of any inconvenience caused within their boundaries. 

Inspire Participation

The core principle of transformational leadership is undoubtedly participation. Such leaders believe that participation or effort is key to their goals. Therefore, they inspire their workers to be more active and involved in seeking the outcomes. 

What is Transactional Leadership?

Transactional leadership is a unique kind of management that depends on rewards and punishment to produce productivity in team members. It is a style that requires leaders to utilize reward and punishment strategies while boosting the performance of their employees. This exchange or transaction of rewards and performance is found in transactional leadership.

According to this model, leaders punish employees who fail to produce desired results. On the other hand, they reward individuals who show their maximum efforts at work. This theory relies on the concept that an individual needs some external motivation to carry out a task. Otherwise, they remain de-motivated and less interested. 

Transactional Leadership Characteristics

You can usually find such leadership in a structured environment with unique roles and dedicated employees. Take the example of an organization where multiple departments deal with various tasks and workers. If you want your employee to carry out a specific role, you will teach them about their duties and guide them about the risks and rewards regarding the accuracy and completion of tasks. 

Transactional leaders are responsible for managing employees, assigning them tasks, boosting productivity and motivation, and keeping them on track. If you cannot meet such requirements, the following characteristics will help you become an excellent transactional leader. 

Extrinsic Motivation

A transactional leader believes in boosting productivity and increasing performance by utilizing extrinsic motivators such as reward, praise, recognition, or money. However, they fail to realize that extrinsic motivation can not always help to attract creative and productive individuals.

Opposed to Change

Transactional leaders are usually resistant to change because they rely on order. They carry out the same strategies and follow the same techniques because they are unwilling to experience new directions and learn new ideas.


Transactional leaders can be anything but not impractical. They live and perform their duties by observing practicality within the most delicate details. They follow a very practical approach while at work and try to do this with their subordinates.


Practicality and performance go hand in hand. Transactional leaders are very conscious about their goals and miss no single chance to achieve them. Whether it is being practiced or being performance-oriented, they make sure that they succeed in yielding their targets. And this is the reason why they believe in rewarding their employee’s efforts through rewards. 

Conventional Decision Making

Transactional leaders follow the same conventions and beliefs when deciding or implementing a change. They do not value new differences and disregard freedom of thought. They expect their employees to obey their commands and discourage them if they devise a unique solution. Leaders do it to make sure everything goes as they are expected. 

Time Management

As the name implies, transactions are short-term. Transactional leaders prefer to address an issue as they arise. Instead of taking time to acknowledge other details or bring new developments, they prioritize the solution more than identifying risks and highlighting new opportunities. And somehow, they fail to recognize the bigger picture that could create more growth opportunities for them. 

Linear Thinking

Transactional leaders are not critical thinkers. They tend to think inside the box rather than outside the box because they keep learning within the existing systems. In other words, they avoid looking into the bigger picture and struggle while they find new solutions. However, they are good at carrying out mundane responsibilities and following the same methods.


The principal part of a transactional leader’s personality is decision-making. They are very dictatorial and can impose their will on others as well. So you may expect their employees to follow their instructions and obey their commands more often. 

Individual Effort

A transactional leader’s motivating technique may be most attractive to individual performers. Although employees may be allocated to teams, the leader’s preferred organizational structure may place a restricted focus on cooperation in the achievement of larger corporate goals because such systems are rigid and disregard new developments.


The transactional leader values structure more than anything. They believe in the organizational hierarchies and rules that put leaders at the top and define their roles and responsibilities. And somehow, this belief reflects in their way of handling their subordinates. They expect obedience from their employees and reward them for their loyalty.


What are the top 5 leadership characteristics?

The top five leadership characteristics are passion, vision, motivation, consistency, and effective communication. People who possess these qualities can be leaders. 

What are the 12 qualities of leadership?

Positivity, motivation, excitement, energy, power, influence, goals, empathy, knowledge, resilience, hard work, and discipline are a few qualities that can facilitate the role of a leader. If you wish to become a leader, include these characteristics in your daily life and events.

What are the 7 leadership traits?

The seven leadership traits are integrity, innovation, respect, care, effect, critical thinking, and responsibility. Leaders who practice these qualities in their day-to-day events can speed up their path to success. 

What are 10 qualities of a good leader?

If you ask for the ten qualities of a good leader, I would suggest the following:

  • Being goal-oriented,
  • Empowering others through compelling motivation,
  • Being a good listener,
  • Educating others with knowledge and experience,
  • Showing resilience, patience, and faith during tough times,
  • Effectively communicating thoughts, ideas, and commands to the team members,
  • Boosting productivity and creativity in others,
  • Reflecting on the positive side,
  • Adopting new skills and innovations,
  • Staying confident, disciplined, motivated, and mindful.

Ending Note

Whether it is about an organization or not, leadership characteristics are an essential element that leaders must have if they wish to rule the world. To drive positive results, leaders must know how to boost the excitement and productivity of their team. And to cope with all of the challenges, they must possess qualities that can help them survive tough times. 

Leaders who genuinely wish to contribute to the greater good must be willing to improve themselves and adopt qualities that can facilitate their growth. So are you ready to take your new role as a leader? I hope that mentioned characteristics can help you witness the change and growth you want. 

Leave a Comment