Top 10 Qualities of Great Leaders | Best Executive Search Firm | Cowen Partners

The Top 10 Qualities of a Great Leader

Great leaders are the foundation of any business. You can’t have successful teams without the right leadership in place. Teams are motivated, inspired, and driven by their leaders, so finding the right supervisors and executive leaders for your company is vital for success. 

Great leaders often share the same characteristics. In fact, here are the top 10 qualities great leaders typically have in common:

  1. Empathic
  2. Trustworthy
  3. Humble
  4. Effective Communicators
  5. Respectful
  6. Self-aware
  7. Innovative
  8. Grateful
  9. Curious
  10. Decisive

Below is a deeper dive into each of the top 10 qualities found in great leaders so that you know what to look for when you are hiring for the C-suite

1. Empathic

Emotional intelligence is a crucial aspect of leadership, so finding someone with empathy is important. Empathy is the ability to understand others’ feelings. Showing compassion for team members and understanding their perspectives on a project is a quality that will build stronger connections between leaders and team members. Empathy can also play a pivotal role in fostering diversity and the ideal company culture for an organization.

2. Trustworthy

If employees don’t feel like they can trust leadership, the business will have a serious problem. A lack of trust often results in lower efficiency and higher turnover. When employees don’t trust leadership, they’ll often do the bare minimum and start looking for other employment. 

Of course, trust has to go both ways. You not only want a leader your employees can trust, but you also want a leader who will trust in team members to do their work. Leaders who know how to delegate tasks to others are often showing their ability to trust in others. By handing over work responsibilities, a leader demonstrates how they trust an employee. This trust often encourages an employee to do their best and to try hard for the team. 

3. Humble

Humility is a valuable leadership trait for several reasons. First, it allows leaders to be realistic about their capabilities and recognize where they need help. Second, it makes a leader more approachable because the leader is open to suggestions and ideas. Finally, a leader who demonstrates humility is more likely to share the credit during successful periods and remember to appreciate the rest of the team. A business is all about teamwork, so leadership that recognizes and acknowledges the hard work of others is essential for success. 

4. Effective Communicators

Leaders have to be effective communicators. Between emails, phone calls, meetings, and more, leaders need to clearly transmit information across all channels. A leader’s ability to clearly communicate with all levels of people across the company directly impacts the success of your business strategy.

5. Respectful

A leader who is respectful will garner respect from others. Look for candidates who show an interest and appreciation for the perspective of others. Essentially, you want a leader that knows how to pay attention to others and who can identify the contributions others make to the team.  

6. Self-aware

While most leadership qualities are outward-facing, self-awareness is inward-facing. A leader who is self-aware is a lot easier to work with than someone who is ignorant of their flaws. An awareness of personal weaknesses as well as understanding how others perceive you is important when interacting with a team. Acknowledging weaknesses enables a leader to delegate certain tasks and ask for help when necessary.  

7. Innovative

Innovative leaders can drive company growth. You also need people in leadership positions who are flexible and willing to try new methods and techniques for getting work done. Company teams and departments are full of people with different experiences and backgrounds. An innovative leader is willing to listen to ideas and figure out how to implement business suggestions. 

8. Grateful

Gratitude encourages a positive mindset among team members and it also helps people connect on a deeper level. Leaders who express gratitude also keep employees more engaged and minimize turnover. In fact, according to NBC News, 79 percent of employees quit their job because of a lack of appreciation. Success is a team effort, so leaders should be willing and able to express their gratitude to employees on a regular basis. 

9. Curious

A curious leader can guide your company in new and exciting directions. A curious mindset enables a leader to learn about new business methods and product ideas. Curiosity also helps a leader connect with others. By showing interest and curiosity in the lives of employees and business partners, a leader will make people feel interesting and appreciated.

10. Decisive

Last but not least, a great leader should be decisive. Any given day, leaders are bombarded with important decisions. Too often, people allow a multitude of options to overwhelm them and don’t make any progress on a task. A decisive leader will efficiently weigh the pros and cons of various paths before definitively making a decision. Clearly making decisions minimizes confusion and improves business efficiency. 

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