Traits of a good leader

By TerenceStoker, 1 January, 1970


All leaders are not made equal. There are certain characteristics which separate average leaders from exceptional ones. Great leaders have power, influence and the drive to direct their team and help them achieve their end goals. They are not passive but are action orientated. And they also inspire their team to reach greater heights.

Here are a few characteristics of great leaders.

Be enthusiastic

A passionate positive boss will impact the rest of the team. In order to be influential you need to be enthusiastic about your job. Your positivity and committment will rub off on others in the team. Attitudes are contagious. If you come to work demotivated and unhappy then your attitude is likely to spread across the whole team and influence others negatively.

Set a good example

Great bosses lead by example. They don’t just tell people what to do but they practice what they preach. In order to lead people effectively, you need to be able to achieve the tasks you set out for your team.

Excellent listener

A great boss is a great listener and is able to see another person's perspective and not just their own. When you have conversations with your employees it should not just be one sided with you doing all the talking and your team members listening. You need to be open to other people suggestions in order for you to build great relationships. When you listen: you open up yourself to new ideas and you’ll also be able to acquire feedback from your workforce.

Respect goes a long way

If you’re arrogant you’ll build a resistance between you and your workforce. But if you’re humble you’ll be liked and respected by your team, because you’re more likely to be honest and open about your mistakes. And you’ll also be able to relate to people as a human being first and boss second.

Dealing with anxiety

As a boss, you shouldn’t buckle under pressure. A great leader is cool, calm and collected when they are faced with challenges and problems. You should keep your team members motivated even when you’re faced with uncertainty and pressure.


A leader should be able to act effectively and efficiently in times of crisis. You should be able to assess a situation and make the best decisions. For example a business may face financial challenges and you will need to acquire corporate finance in order to sustain it. You may be faced with the task of having to choose the best option to finance your business and keep it afloat; whether it's through bank loans or issuing bonds to the public. As a leader you’ll have to make tough business decisions. The type of decisions you make can break or make a business. And you need to make sure you choose the one which is fit for the company. Great leaders make great decisions.

Be professional

A leader should know how to separate their personal life from their professional one. Bosses are human beings too and they're bound to experience bad moods from time to time. But to be a great boss you need to be professional and not let your personal life infiltrate into your work life.

Power of words

As a leader, you should know how to inspire your team and be an excellent coach. You should know how to build and motivate your team members. And look for ways to celebrate your employee's achievements by praising them privately and publicly. You should also know when to give credit when it's due. If you know how to praise your employees when they are doing a great job, it’ll boost their confidence and improve job satisfaction. Employees need to be appreciated even for the small things. If you’re able to do this you’ll win your team over and build loyalty.

Needs to be patient

A great leader needs to have patience. You'll be dealing with human beings on a daily basis and not machines and you’ll need to have patience. For example, if an employee is going through personal problems and they aren’t performing as well as they should then you need to have sympathise. A great leader will need to have patience and empathy for their situation. This will help foster productivity and loyalty.

Good communication skills

A great leader is a great communicator. You need to be able to communicate well and be clear about expectations from your employees. Be clear and concise about the goals and vision you have for the business. If you’re a bad communicator you might find it hard to lead your workforce and reach goals.

A great boss can boost productivity, influence their team and motivate them to reach great heights. It’s not easy being a leader. People look up to you for guidance and you have to make day-to-day decisions which will make an impact the business. But if you’re open, honest, passionate and compassionate to your team you’re bound to lead them to reaching their end goals.




Copyright: Portal Publishing (Pty)Ltd | Privacy Policy | Terms of Use
Skills Portal | Careers Portal | Jobs Portal | Bursaries Portal | Skills Universe
About us | Contact us
Portal PublishingPress Council