Skills and qualities of a good leader

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Last updated June 2016

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Leading people is not an easy task. And not necessarily everyone would be considered a leader. So, what makes a person a leader is a question of analysis. A leader must possess certain skills and qualities. The list of leadership skills and qualities is big; however, this article will focus on a few as follows:

  • Conceptual skills
  • Capacity to inspire others
  • Courage
  • Technical Knowledge
  • Responsibility
  • Integrity
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Loyalty
  • Problem solving ability
  • Intelligence
  • Honesty
  • Empathy
  • Leading by examples

Most of the skills and qualities listed above if not all, are necessary for a leader to lead people effectively. Leadership is about uplifting the vision of others and inspiring them to commit to achieving their dream. If a leader does not have conceptual skills for example, how will he visualise and define future?

Let us consider some other skills and qualities from the list above. For example, leading people by example is a vital characteristic of an effective leadership. If leaders cannot lead people by example, how will they establish their authority over the followers?

Excellent communications skills are also necessary for the leaders. Leaders can easily mesmerise the followers through their eloquence. Leaders are engaged in communication with others at different levels which require them to have diverse communication skills. Excellent communication skills help leaders get their message across effectively. Likewise, honesty is another important quality of a successful leader. People expect honesty in general, and when it comes to leadership, there is no alternative to it.

Leaders need to be brave as they may have to deal with challenging situations occasionally, if not very often. It does not mean that they have to be reckless, but courage is a must. Leaders make decisions in both normal and complex situations. Sometimes, the potential outcome of a decision is extremely uncertain. Making such a decision requires leaders to have a high degree of courage.

In a nutshell, there are number of skills and qualities a person needs to possess in order to be a leader. The list above is just an indication and certainly not exhaustive.

Further reading/references
  • Plunkett, W., & Attner, R. (1994), Introduction to Management, 5th Edition, International Thomson Publishing.

Author: M Rahman

M Rahman writes extensively online with an emphasis on business management, marketing, and tourism. He is a lecturer in Management and Marketing. He is a graduate of Leeds Metropolitan University and London South Bank University.