6 Traits That Define Great Leadership

When we think of great business leaders, like Bill Gates or Steve Jobs, it’s easy to assume that they were simply natural born leaders. The truth is, leadership skills are something that people develop over many years. All business leaders need to keep pushing themselves forward to improve their skillset. While that skillset may look different from person to person, below are a few of the common traits shared by great leaders.



Leaders need to maintain their focus at both the micro and macro levels. Scatterbrained individuals who jump from task to task will have a difficult time keeping things running. In the long-term, leaders must develop strategies for success and plan for contingencies. In the short-term, leaders must focus on the critical tasks and ignore or delegate the rest. If you don’t know which tasks are worth your attention, you’ll quickly become overwhelmed and ineffective.



Similar to focus, discipline is important not just for conducting business, but for regulating oneself. You’ll never be an effective leader if you’re not taking care of yourself–getting a full night’s sleep, eating regular meals, and exercising. You need to be able to make a plan and stick to it, at least until a change becomes necessary.



Decisiveness is a core trait for any effective leader. It’s your job to make the decisions, even when the stakes are high. Although collaborative decision-making is important for keeping employees engaged, there are times when you alone will need to make an unpopular or difficult decision for the good of the company.



You’ll never lead a team to greatness unless they believe in you. Your confidence will embolden your workers and inspire them to try harder. The more confident you are, they more confident your workers will be. You’ll also enjoy better employee retention if they feel assured that the company has a future.



Treat others the way you would want to be treated. Make a point of always being honest and transparent with your employees. Let them know where they stand and what you envision for the future. The more honest you are with your workers, the more they’ll trust you in return.



Clear communication should be a top priority at every level of your organisation. Employees need to know what’s going on within the organisation, what is expected of them, and what to look for in the future. Without this clarity, they are likely to feel disengaged and alienated. Leaders must be excellent communicators to inspire others and to share their vision, and they must also encourage communication between employees and managers.

Great leaders must always strive to be better than they are. In doing so, they can inspire their teams to excel like never before. If you develop the traits listed here, you’ll be on your way to becoming a great leader as well.