Leadership Qualities: Developing Yourself and Examples

Leadership Qualities: Developing Yourself and Examples

Leadership Qualities: Developing Yourself and Examples

Good leaders are indispensable in any organization. A good leader always brings out the best in themselves and others. It's not something everyone possesses, which is why good leadership qualities are so important when leading a team. But what are truly essential leadership qualities? And can leadership qualities be developed, or are they natural qualities that you either have or don't have? We provide answers to these questions.

Management Skills


What are leadership qualities?

Before we can provide examples of leadership qualities, it's important that you understand the definition of leadership qualities. Leadership qualities are the attributes you possess to make a team function successfully. The specific knowledge and skills required depend on the situation.

The way a leader needs to lead completely depends on the people they are leading and the environment they are in. You understand that construction workers need to be managed differently than accountants and that a small team operates differently from a team of dozens of people. This is influenced by the culture in place and the incentives that employees are sensitive to. Leadership style depends on factors such as the autonomy and initiative of the employees, as well as the common goal. A good leader knows how to motivate the rest of the employees. The relationship between different colleagues and between team members and the leader also plays a role. Does everyone trust each other, or is there room for improvement?

Because every leader has to work in a different situation with a different team, it's not possible to provide a single list of leadership qualities that every leader must possess. There are some qualities that are useful to have, but every situation and every team is different. A leader and their leadership style should adapt to this.

Generally, you can say that there are two forms of leadership. There are leaders who are primarily task-oriented, and there are leaders who are more people-oriented. Ideally, a good leader possesses both of these types of behavior. In some cases, a task-oriented approach may be more appropriate, while in other situations, a people-oriented approach may be better. A good leader senses this and adjusts their behavior accordingly. The precise balance between these behaviors can vary from leader to leader and team to team, and different projects may require different approaches.

The leadership style must not only fit the team and the situation but must also be a good fit for you as a leader. When leading, it's important to be authentic and honest. If you're not, you can quickly lose your credibility. This ultimately leads to team members doing their own thing or employees no longer putting in effort for the common goal. A leader is not only the leader but also a kind of connector within a team. Leadership qualities are important for this as well.

Examples of leadership qualities

What makes a good leader in terms of leadership qualities can't be easily defined. There's no complete list of leadership qualities that are always necessary. This varies depending on the situation. However, there are several qualities that can definitely come in handy for a leader. Here are some examples.

  • Flexibility and adaptability: these are among the most important leadership qualities. A good leader senses what's going on in their team and adjusts their behavior accordingly. They also need to be able to be flexible when situations don't go as planned.
  • Decisiveness: as a leader, you have a lot of responsibility. Both big and small decisions fall on your shoulders. As a good leader, you must be willing to make decisions, even when they're tough or when not everyone will be happy with the outcome. A leader who can't make decisions will quickly lose credibility.
  • Good communication skills: as a leader, you'll need to communicate with many people. A good leader can't do without good communication techniques. This means not only knowing how to convey a message but also being a good listener. Only then can you truly engage in conversations with your employees or team.
  • Assertiveness: without assertiveness, a leader won't get far. You'll need to take the lead and show initiative. However, make sure to leave room for input from the team.
  • Confidence: having enough self-confidence is crucial as a leader. Otherwise, you won't be able to carry the responsibility, and it will be difficult to lead a team effectively. Your team members will quickly lose trust in you. So, self-confidence is good, but make sure there's still room for a dialogue with your team members.
  • Understanding people: each member of your team has their own strengths and weaknesses. That's what makes a diverse team strong. As a leader, you need to adapt to these qualities. Identify which employees are good at what and place them in the right roles. This will improve the productivity and motivation of the entire team.
  • Inspiration and connection: as a leader, you want all team members heading in the same direction. You all need to work towards the same end result. This can only happen if employees are motivated and inspired to work. That's why it's important for a leader to be able to inspire team members and connect them with each other. This creates a good mentality where everyone works together towards a goal.
  • Honesty and openness: as a leader, you may be responsible for the work your team produces, but you're also part of that team. Your team members shouldn't feel that you're above the rules. Therefore, authenticity, honesty, and transparency are very important as a leader. If you set a good example, there's a good chance your team members will also be honest and open towards you and each other.

In addition to the above leadership qualities, there are many more qualities that can be useful in leadership. Which quality is important and to what extent depends on your team, the situation, and your leadership style. You should also be aware of which qualities you possess and which ones need improvement. It's a waste of time to learn or improve qualities that don't make you a better leader. So, choose carefully which qualities you want to focus on.

Developing and improving qualities

Now that you've seen some examples of leadership qualities, it's time to answer another important question: Can you learn good leadership qualities? The answer to this question is: yes and no. Let us explain.

Examples of Leadership Qualities

Many leadership qualities are traits that naturally exist in some people. You either have these qualities or you don't. If you don't possess any of these qualities, it will be very difficult to further develop them.

What is possible, however, is developing leadership qualities that are already present in a person. It will vary from person to person which leadership qualities they already possess, which ones are well-developed, and which ones need improvement.

It can be difficult for individuals to determine which leadership qualities require attention. Self-examination can be challenging. An external expert can help you with this. Feedback from colleagues can also be very valuable. However, you must be willing to truly address this constructive criticism.

Some leadership qualities can be practiced and improved in everyday life. For example, building more self-confidence is possible through specific activities. An assertiveness training can also be very valuable. Other leadership qualities can be further developed through courses and training.

Which leadership qualities you want to develop further is up to you. It depends on the environment you work in, the people you need to lead, and which qualities are important. You should also be aware of which qualities are or aren't present in you and what can be improved. It's a waste of time to learn or improve qualities that won't help you as a leader. So, choose carefully which qualities to focus on.

Developing leadership qualities is not just a matter of taking a course or sales training. To truly improve, you need a lot of practice. Reflection on your own behavior is also crucial. You need to see what's going well or poorly to know what and how to improve.

Leadership is about people. That's what makes it both incredibly rewarding and incredibly challenging. But if you're aware of this as a leader, you've already taken an important step. Dare to look critically at yourself, improve what you can, and seek help with areas that are more challenging. The perfect leader doesn't exist, but by constantly developing yourself, you can become a little better each time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Leadership Qualities: Essential for Effective Leadership

Leadership qualities are the attributes that a leader possesses to make a team function successfully. It involves knowledge and skills that depend on the situation and the team you lead. A good leader must be able to sense what's happening in the team and adjust their behavior accordingly. Flexibility, decisiveness, good communication skills, and inspiration are essential. Additionally, authenticity and connecting with the team are important.

Examples of Leadership Qualities

Examples of leadership qualities include:

  • Flexibility and adaptability
  • Being willing to make decisions
  • Good communication skills
  • Assertiveness and taking initiative
  • Having self-confidence
  • Understanding people and placing the right talent in the right place
  • Inspiring and connecting
  • Honesty and openness

How to Become a Good Leader?

Leadership qualities are partially innate but can also be developed. Self-reflection and feedback are valuable for personal growth as a leader. Training and courses can help strengthen specific qualities. Focus on developing qualities that align with your personality and the situation. Leadership is about working with people, and through continuous development, you can become a better leader.