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What are Leadership Traits?

Leadership traits refer to personal qualities that define effective leaders. Leadership refers to the ability of an individual or an organization to guide individuals, teams, or organizations toward the fulfillment of overall goals and objectives. Leadership plays an important function in management as it helps maximize efficiency and achieve strategic and organizational goals. Leaders help motivate others, provide guidance, build morale, improve the work environment, and initiate action.

List of Effective Leadership Traits

A common misconception is that individuals are gifted with leadership skills. However, the truth is that leadership traits can be acquired with time and practice. Below are seven traits of an effective leader:

1.   Effective Communicators

Leaders are excellent communicators and are able to clearly and concisely explain problems and solutions. Leaders know when to talk and when to listen. In addition, leaders are able to communicate on several levels: one-to-one, via phone, email, etc.

2.  Accountable and Responsible

Leaders are accountable and responsible – holding themselves accountable and taking responsibility for any mistakes. Leaders support and encourage individuality while abiding by and understanding the organizational structure, rules, and policies that need to be followed.

3.  Long-term Thinkers

Leaders are visionaries – able to plan or think about the future through concrete and quantifiable goals. Leaders are confident, understand the need for continuous change, and are able to try new approaches to improve current processes.

4.  Self-motivated

Leaders are self-motivated and are able to keep going and pursue goals despite setbacks. Leaders strive to become better through passion and pride. In addition, leaders try their best to exceed expectations in everything they do.

5.  Confident

Leaders are confident – able to make tough decisions and lead with authority. By being confident, leaders are able to reassure employees, establish open communication, and inspire others.

6.  People-oriented

Leaders are team players – able to foster a team culture, involve others in decision-making, and care about team members. By being people-oriented, leaders are able to energize and motivate others and make them feel that they make a difference and are integral to team success.

7.  Emotionally Stable

Leaders exercise good control and regulation over their behavior and are able to tolerate frustration and stress. Leaders are able to cope to changes in the environment without an intense emotional reaction.

Traits of a Bad Leader

Listed below are the leadership traits that bad leaders possess:

  • Too bossy
  • Fearful of change
  • Unwilling to communicate
  • Dismissing ideas other than their own
  • Lacking empathy
  • Inconsistent
  • Assigning blame
  • Slow to adapt to changes
  • Indecisive

Examples of poor leadership traits include:

  • Lack of communication: Spending long periods of time away from his or her workplace and ignoring emails or telephone messages.
  • Unclear expectations: Constantly changing deadlines and providing vague instructions.
  • Poor people skills: Playing favorites, sharing negative opinions rather than emphasizing positive outcomes, ignoring other viewpoints, and responding poorly to complaints or suggestions.


Leadership Traits Personality Tests

Several tests are available to help determine your personality, strengths, and traits. These tests include:

It is highly recommended to take the Myers Briggs Type Indicator as it is one of the most well-respected and commonly used personality type assessment tools. The  Myers Briggs Type Indicator can be used as a guide to help identify strengths, weaknesses, and the way you perceive and process information. In fact, over 80% of the Fortune 100 companies rely on tests such as the Myers Briggs to build an effective and healthy organization.