What makes a great leader?

What makes a great leader?

Great leadership is crucial to the success of any business. It’s the differentiating factor between all businesses.

Employees today are looking for flexibility and meaning in their work. They want to be engaged, given opportunities and have a voice. Leaders who listen, ask questions, try to understand their employees’ perspectives, and empower their employees are usually the most effective.

Read on for some of the key qualities that every great leader should have and master.


Great leaders are visionary. They possess a clear vision on where the company needs to go, what they are trying to accomplish and how to reach the end goal.

“Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion.” — Jack Welch

Visionary leaders are able to communicate their vision clearly, inspire and motivate employees to work towards the common goal, which results in everyone contributing to the company’s overall goal. They see the bigger picture, are excellent at strategic planning and know how to set the company’s forward direction.


An important ingredient that defines great leaders is integrity. Leaders who have integrity foster trust amongst employees and demonstrate a commitment to moral behaviours.

“The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower

Great leaders succeed when they stick to their values and lead by example. A company and its employees reflect the leaders they have, and if the leader’s behaviour is fair, honest and respectful, people around them will act accordingly. Integrity means being honest and doing what you said you would, and it’s the foundation of trust in any business success.


Great leaders are not only determined but humble. Humility isn’t being weak but having the self-confidence to recognise the value of others without feeling threatened.

“Humility, gentleness, and helpfulness go so much further and open doors you cannot imagine.” — Ann Tran

Humble leaders understand that they may not have all the answers, are willing to listen to feedback, acknowledge when they are wrong, able to give credit where credit is due, and make changes when a business decision doesn’t work. They have an accurate awareness of their strengths and weaknesses, and know when they need to turn to others for support which helps to create an open and transparent work environment.


Another key quality that exemplifies great leaders is inspiring others. Having the ability to inspire employees is crucial especially when morale is low.

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” — John Quincy Adams

Great leaders inspire confidence in others. They are able to encourage employees to go the distance with their positive message and are always finding ways to motivate the team by appreciating the hard work they’ve put in. Simply put, recognition not only motivates morale but ensures employees will push to greater heights, which in turns creates mutual respect.


Not many people realise empathy is fundamental to leadership. It is one trait that differentiates a good leader from a great one.

“Leadership is about empathy. It is about having the ability to relate to and connect with people for the purpose of inspiring and empowering their lives.” — Oprah Winfrey

Empathy is the ability to recognise and understand how others are feeling, which helps inspire loyalty and trust in employees. Great leaders understand that empathy not only allows them to understand their employees better, but enables them to address issues faster.


Great leaders accept the fact that they cannot do everything. They understand their main focus is the bigger picture while empowering their employees to manage the smaller details.

“Leaders become great, not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others.” — John C. Maxwell

Great leaders recognise that helping employees see their purpose, giving them the freedom to lead and involving employees in decision-making delivers superior results than micromanaging. They know that through empowerment, employees feel supported and are confident in their abilities, which ultimately boosts a positive team culture and creates a better work environment.

Being a great leader requires constant development. An effective leadership not only increases employee engagement and drives sales but also decreases employee turnover.

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