10 Qualities That Can Help You Become a Successful Leader

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated December 8, 2022

Published December 1, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Even if you aren't currently in a leadership position, developing and improving your leadership qualities is important. These qualities can help you become a successful leader by collaborating well with others and inspiring your team members and colleagues to work hard and do their best. Knowing exactly which qualities to improve upon is important to developing your leadership skills. In this article, we explain what a successful leader is, discuss why being a good leader is important, review 10 essential leadership qualities, and offer advice on how to improve these qualities.

Related: Leadership Skills: Definitions and Examples

What is a successful leader?

A successful leader is someone who not only supervises or manages a team but also motivates them to be strong workers. Many employees have their own leadership style, but effective leaders tend to share similar qualities, such as dependability or empathy. A good, strong, successful leader is able to offer their team support and guidance.

Read more: What Is Strong Leadership? (And How It Affects a Workplace)

Why is being a successful leader important?

Strong and successful leaders are an important part of any business because they can build strong teams that work towards company goals and succeed in all of their projects. Successful leaders can also create a positive work environment, increasing employee engagement and satisfaction. This inspires employees to feel more confident about their work, encouraging them to work harder and feel a sense of loyalty to the company.

Related: The Importance of Leadership and Culture in Organizations

10 qualities of a successful leader

While all leaders have a unique set of skills and qualities, the most successful tend to share many of the same qualities. Here are 10 common leadership qualities to consider improving upon or developing to help you become a successful leader:

Decisiveness

Leaders are often required to make hard decisions for their teams. While they will consider insight from team members and other managers, they are usually responsible for making the final decision. To do this, they must use their expertise to make informed and timely decisions. They may have to consider the pros and cons of the decision and analyze more information than usual to make sure they're going in the right direction. Even if they don't have a lot of information, they'll need to be decisive in order to make the choice that can benefit their team the most. Decisiveness can be an invaluable leadership skill that helps improve efficiency.

Related: What are Decision-Making Skills and How to Improve Them

Integrity

Having integrity means embodying a strong set of values that you apply to your work and everyday life. Employers prefer leaders with integrity, as they can make ethical choices that support their team and the company. Leaders with integrity can also contribute to creating and maintaining the company's positive reputation. They also tend to be more honest and trustworthy—two qualities that are great for any employee to have. Having a leader with integrity can also encourage team members to adopt similar values.

Read more: What Is Integrity in Leadership? (With Definition and Tips)

Inspirational

Leaders are responsible for motivating their team and the best way to do this is to inspire them. Leading by example is one of the best ways to inspire others to follow you. If your team sees that you're always early or on time, offer help or advice, and are consistently positive, it may inspire them to act the same way. This means it's important to be aware of the way you act at work. Focus on being positive and exhibiting a good work ethic to motivate your team to be stronger employees.

Read more: How To Be an Inspiring Leader in Six Steps (With Traits)

Communicative

Verbal, written, and non-verbal communication skills are all essential for a leader to have. You likely use these skills every day to communicate with your team and ensure they understand your instructions or advice. This limits miscommunications and helps you build stronger relationships with your team, thereby increasing efficiency. These skills can also help you in other areas, such as leading a meeting, listening to complaints, writing emails, or hiring new employees.

Related: How to Become an Effective Communicator

Problem-solving

An important part of being a successful leader is being able to solve problems, no matter how significant. Having strong problem-solving skills can help you calmly work through any issues that you and your team are having. This allows you to make informed decisions quickly, remove any obstacles your team is facing, and ensure they can complete each project on time. Establishing a standard procedure to solve problems can also help you and your team, as it can allow them to solve problems independently and develop the same skills as you.

Dependable

Employers want leaders who are dependable, so they can build stronger relationships with their teams. If team members know they can rely on their leader, they're more likely to approach them with questions or concerns. To be dependable, keep your promises and follow through on any plans you make.

Forward-thinking

Thinking of new ideas for products, services, business procedures and the like can help companies increase brand awareness and stay relevant. Having forward-thinking leaders is an important part of being able to do this. A successful leader will focus on ways to improve the company and set goals that contribute to this vision. Forward-thinking leaders may create new technology, offer targeted training, and create and adapt business models.

Humble

Although you're a leader and have authority over your team, it's important to remain humble and treat everyone as your equal. This helps your team respect you and will encourage them to come to you with questions or concerns, knowing that you will handle these problems professionally, calmly, and maturely. To be humble, try to avoid boasting about your accomplishments and make everyone feel valued.

Transparent

To create and maintain a strong relationship with your team, it's important to be transparent. Transparency means that you are honest and willing to share information with your team members. An example of this is telling your team about upcoming budget cuts so they can prepare accordingly, or offering team members constructive feedback so they can improve their performance. Transparency can help you build strong, trusting relationships within your team and shows them that they can rely on you.

Related: What is an Authentic Leader? Definition and Characteristics

Compassionate

No matter what industry you work in, being compassionate is key to being a successful leader. It's another great way to build and strengthen your relationships with your team. Get to know them and show them you understand how they feel, and that you value their opinion. This will lead to mutual respect with your team and will encourage them to keep doing their best work for the company.

Tips to develop the qualities of a successful leader

If you want to improve your leadership qualities, consider the following tips:

1. Determine what your leadership style is

If you don't already have an established leadership style, choose one that suits your personality and the company's goals. There are many leadership styles to follow and some work better than others in particular environments. For example, a top-down style can be beneficial for new teams at a start-up company but doesn't always work for creative teams at a marketing firm.

Here are some of the most common leadership styles for you to consider:

  • Bureaucratic: These leaders typically work in regulated industries, as they want their team members to follow company procedures and rules precisely.

  • Transactional: Transactional leaders offer mentorship and training to help their team succeed and motivate them with rewards.

  • Transformational: This leadership style focuses on motivating team members, offering clear communication, and setting goals based on the company's objectives.

  • Hands-off: This style allows employees to perform their tasks without much supervision.

  • Democratic: Leaders using this style encourage their team to offer ideas and opinions so everyone can collaborate well together.

  • Pacesetter: Pacesetter leaders focus more on performance than creativity to get quick results for the company.

  • Autocratic: This leadership style focuses on results and efficiency, often using stricter rules to get results.

  • Servant: The servant leadership style focuses on ensuring each team member feels valued and fulfilled.

  • Visionary: Visionary leaders motivate team members through times of transformation to ensure they understand their roles at all times.

  • Coach: Coaches inspire their teams to develop and improve their skills and become even stronger employees.

Read more: 10 Common Leadership Styles

2. Participate in leadership training

The company you work for may offer leadership training courses or workshops that you can take advantage of to improve your skills. If the company doesn't offer this type of training, pursue it on your own. Look for online or in-person courses in your area to help you improve specific qualities or skills.

3. Find a mentor

Finding a mentor is another great way to improve your leadership qualities. Consider people in your professional life that you admire, such as a manager or supervisor. Ask them to mentor you and help you become a better leader. Set up weekly or monthly meetings to ask them any questions or discuss your concerns with them. Doing this can help you set and achieve important goals as you work towards being a successful leader.

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