Find Your List of Leadership Qualities

If you Google “leadership qualities”, you will find countless results. Many were written by prestigious institutions, celebrities, or businessmen. But I argue that the best list is the one written by yourself. While those lists are inspiring, there is no one “correct” way to be a successful leader. Compiling your own list will:

  • Encourage you to think more about what each quality means and why they are important.
  • Help you find your own style of leadership.
  • Serve as a behavioral guideline on your journey of self-development.

If you are determined to become a successful leader, start by coming up with your list of leadership principles.

My Leadership Principles

So here is my list. In my dictionary, a leader is someone who inspires and enables many others. There are many ways to be a leader — Winston Churchill and Pope Francis are both great leaders, but they are very different in personality, style, and ideas. So I organize my list in order of importance. The items higher on the list are essentials and the lower ones are more circumstantial.

  1. Charisma: a good leader can influence either large crowds or individuals on a personal level. To influence a large audience, a leader needs to be a role model representing an ideology followed by the audience. To develop charisma on a personal level, I recommend the book “The Charisma Myth”. The book identifies the three elements of charisma, power, warmth, and presence, and offers exercises to develop them.
  2. Make hard decisions and take responsibility. People are more comfortable with making suggestions or critiques because it is easy. But making decisions and taking responsibility for them is hard. A good leader shoulders this burden and takes responsibility for the group.
  3. Foresight: a follower sees what everyone else sees and does what is obvious. Leaders think ahead and lead the way toward uncharted territories. Leaders are pioneers.
  4. Have backbone: a leader emerges from the crowd because she is the one willing to challenge convention to do the right thing.
  5. Consistency: people follow those who are reliable. A good leader is trustworthy, his words consistent with every action, and he does not make excuses. Trust is often hard-earned and easily lost. If someone is often late to meetings, how can others trust him to deliver results?
  6. Calm and logical: stress comes naturally with great responsibility. A good leader keeps a level head and makes logical decisions in these times.
  7. Ethics: ethical practices, good reputation, and happy customers are keys to long-term success.
  8. Growth Mindset: a great leader adapts to the change in the world by developing herself and her followers. (See my article below).

The Leadership Pitch

Can you describe the traits of a good leader in under a minute? Despite reading many resources on leadership, I couldn’t provide a coherent response when asked by a friend. But now, after listing and ranking my list of leadership principles, I combine them into a “leadership pitch”:

A good leader is charismatic — he can influence a crowd or individuals on a personal level. A good leader makes logical decisions and takes responsibilities, so people trust and follow him. A good leader thinks and sees ahead, as he leads others to a brighter future.

I hope this article inspired you to do what I have done. Keeping my leadership principles in mind is gradually helping me to develop these qualities.



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Kayden Sung

Kayden Sung


Learner, Minimalist, Software Engineer. Writes about personal development.