Skip to main content

Are you aspiring to be a great leader and wondering what it takes to get there? Look no further! Possessing the most important skills of a leader is crucial for success. From excellent communication and problem-solving abilities to emotional intelligence for leadership, honing these essential leadership skills and great leadership qualities can help you inspire and motivate your team to achieve your organisation’s vision. Keep reading to learn more about the top skills and qualities that every great leader needs to cultivate.

The 10 Most Important Skills of a Leader

Great leaders possess a wide range of skills that enable them to motivate their team, make difficult decisions, and achieve their vision. Here are the top ten most important skills of a leader:

1. Self-Awareness

One of the key qualities of being a great leader is self-awareness – the ability to recognise and understand your emotions, thoughts, and behaviours. When you develop this leadership quality, you can also understand the impact your emotions, thoughts, and behaviours have on you and those around you, developing greater emotional intelligence for leadership. When you are aware of your strengths and weaknesses, you can focus on leveraging your strengths and identify areas where you can improve to become a more effective leader. 

If you want to learn more about why it’s essential to develop self-aware leaders, then you can read the article here 

Man and woman shaking hands showing integrity in the workplace

2. Integrity

Integrity is a quality that encompasses many aspects of your character, and it means you’re honest, sincere, and trustworthy. But it’s not just about being a good person—it’s about being a good leader.

Integrity is a leadership quality that inspires trust from your team and makes them want to help you achieve your vision. When you have integrity, people will see that you’re someone they can count on to do the right thing, and you can be relied on to do what you say you’ll do, even if it’s hard or unpopular. 

If your team trusts you, it increases loyalty, and they will feel more comfortable sharing any concerns with you.  

3. Communication

Communication is one of the most vital skills you can have in leadership. You will need to clearly present information to your employees, from your overall vision, to what’s going on with the business and the crucial role they play within it. 

Communication is a two-way process: it not only involves what you say but also how you listen to others. Active listening is one of the most critical aspects of effective communication. It means taking time to really listen to what someone has said and then responding thoughtfully rather than jumping straight into your own point of view.  

4. Empathy

Another way to develop better emotional intelligence for leadership is by expressing empathy. Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another person. In leadership, that means understanding what your team members are going through. It’s not always easy, but leaders must be able to put themselves in their employees’ shoes.  

Demonstrating empathy helps build trust, allowing you to connect with your team on a deeper level. When you can empathise with someone, you understand their views, frustrations, and challenges. You can better understand how they work, what motivates them and how you can best support them. Ultimately, this leadership quality helps create a better work environment for everyone involved.

Manager showing staff leadership skills by showingexample

5. Leading by Example

Leading by example means showing others what you expect and how they can do it. You can lead by example in many ways, and it starts with your words and includes your actions, tone of voice, and even the way you hold yourself.  

Leading by example is an integral part of any type of leadership because it helps ensure that everyone in the organisation is working toward the same goals and progressing toward those goals together as a team. 

6. Authenticity

Authenticity is being true to yourself and being sincere, genuine, and honest about who you are. Authentic leaders are comfortable showing vulnerability and don’t try to impress anyone by pretending to be something they aren’t. 

Being authentic allows you to be comfortable in your own skin, which means you will be more confident and at ease when communicating with others. This quality will help you build credibility with those around you, which is crucial for any leader! 

High fiving team showing the importance of leadership by fostering potential

7. Fostering Potential

The core role of any leader is to develop their people. There are many ways to foster potential, but the starting point will always be understanding what each person wants from their career and what energises them. Once you know this, you can work together to create a plan to foster that potential.  

It’s not always about formal training. It’s incredible how much you can bring someone on through smart delegation of activities and responsibilities. Leaders can also foster potential by trusting employees to complete the work delegated while being supportive, rather than micromanaging or wading in and playing the rescuer when people struggle. 

8. Responsibility

Essentially, responsibility in leadership means doing what is right for your team and the company. This often means making tough decisions that are not always popular with others. It also means being accountable for the work you do and the decisions you make. 

It’s important to keep in mind that responsibility is not something you should take lightly or feel guilty about. It’s critical for your job as a leader to ensure that your decisions do what they’re supposed to: benefit those around you. 

9. Risk Taking

Risk taking is an essential quality involved in leadership. It’s about seeing the potential in an opportunity and then going for it, even when you’re unsure if it will work out. But it’s not just about taking risks. It’s about knowing when to take them.  

It’s impossible to predict every outcome of your decision-making process—so you have to be willing to take some risks to be successful as a leader. If you’re too conservative with your decisions, they’ll likely harm business growth; but if you’re too aggressive, the risk will likely outweigh the reward. 

10. Self-reflection

It’s vital that leaders reflect on their own behaviour and actions to improve themselves—and, therefore, their leadership qualities and skills—and ensure that they’re always acting in the best interest of others.  

When you self-reflect, you can use these insights to make changes or corrections. You can identify areas to improve to be more effective in your role. 

Self-reflection is also helpful when it comes to making decisions. Knowing where to start can be challenging, particularly when many factors are at play. It can help if you look back on past experiences with similar situations and how you resolved them—this will help give some perspective on what might work best this time! 

Self-reflection can take many forms: journaling, regular reviews of goals and progress, or talking with a coach or mentor. The most important thing is that you find something that works for you! 

So, that’s our list of 10 essential qualities that make a great leader. In the end, anyone looking to be an effective leader should consider what skills and qualities they possess and which ones they may have a natural inclination towards.  

If you can identify your strengths and weaknesses, you’re already on your way to becoming a better leader. And that also means you don’t need to choose one quality or trait over another—balancing different attributes and skills will allow you to lead your team effectively. 

If you’d like to discuss how we can help you to develop your leadership skills and qualities, book your free discovery call now. 

Published 12th September 2022.