While it’s commonly argued whether great leaders are born or made, there’s little doubt that they share several characteristics.

Leadership skills are among the top skills to develop if you wish to advance your career. You’ll find that you already possess some of these qualities and likely need to develop the others. These characteristics are the basis of a great leader. What takes you to the next level and makes you a unique leader is your ability to add your experience and personality to the role.

Today I’m sharing 10 key characteristics. However, remember to add a spot of you to bring your leadership qualities to life.


Lead By Example.

Effective leaders know that they can get the best out of others by setting a good example. If you want your followers to be committed, positive, passionate, and involved, demonstrate those characteristics each day. Think about what are you currently communicating to others by the example you set.

“Think about the best manager you have ever had. What made them special? What can you learn from them?” Mary Cushen.


Take Responsibility.

Lousy leaders look to shift the blame when things start go wrong. They look for the easy way out instead of finding a solution and taking responsibility.

A great leader, knows that setbacks occur. They know that if failure occurs, it was at least part their responsibility; poor planning, vision, effort, or leadership that resulted in the poor results. A great leader accepts responsibility for the outcome, both positive and negative.


Clear Vision.

To lead effectively, you must know where you’re headed. After all, you have to lead the way to a specific destination. Do you have a vision for the future and can you communicate that vision to others? Is your vision clear and easy to understand? Is your vision focused? Do you know where you’re going?

“When you are clear about the goal and path to success, it is easier to explain to others. If you are not 100% clear on the journey, outcome or reasoning, it will be apparent and you will face more resistance.” Mary Cushen.


A Plan of Action.

You might know where you’re going, but do you know how to get there? Can you effectively share that plan with the members of your team? Is your plan believable and achievable? You must be able to communicate your plan concisely. Everyone needs to understand the direction, the task ahead and what their role in the plan is.


Great Communication Skills.

The ability to share your vision and your plan are paramount to success. Effective leaders are excellent communicators and work to enhance their communication skills further.




It’s been said that one skill needed by great leaders is the ability to inflict pain on team members and get away with it. Impressive future results require sacrifice and discomfort in the present. I, for one, do not believe this. By motivating your team and making them feel valued, your productivity and job satisfaction will increase.

“Are you able to inspire and motivate people enough that they’ll continue to follow you instead of revolting against you?” Mary Cushen


Know How To Develop Others.

It’s important to develop others to become better employees and leaders. A great leader takes the time to develop the skills of their followers. The more capable your followers, the more impressive the results you’ll ultimately attain. You will gain loyalty from your team if they know you have their interests at heart.


Inspire and Improve Confidence in Others.

If people don’t believe you’ll be successful, you won’t receive their best efforts. Keep them informed of progress, make sure they are given the opportunity to feed in to decisions. Let them see you are great leader and inspire them to follow you.



Team members have to believe and trust in their leader. Can your team believe what you say? Do your team members trust that you’re fully committed to the project and to them?

“Without integrity, no one will trust you enough to commit and engage with your plans.” Mary Cushen


Calm in the Chaos.

Chaos is inevitable when working on big projects with a lot of people. Things often go wrong. Team members have personal issues. There’s always someone disgruntled. Plans change. The objective can change.

A great leader knows how to calmly and purposefully deal with the unexpected and guide others through the resulting distractions.




Do you have leaders in need of some support?  Are you leader looking for guidance?

Leadership can be tough. You have to think on your feet, make decisions and resolve disputes. You can feel lost without the right support in place.

If this is an area you know you could make improvements in, why not see how I could help you. Leadership is different for everyone. You need to know what your strengths and weaknesses are, you have to understand your team and you should fully understand the company’s vision and what that means to your team. This is why all consulting based around leadership is designed around you.

If you would like to discuss how I could help you move forward, feel free to get in touch. I am always happy to answer any questions you may have.



Photograph from Unsplash by Clark Young