32 Good Leadership Qualities That Will Drive Your Success

Updated: January 15, 2024 by Bill Burniece

“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex and more violent.

It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.” – Albert Einstein

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Leadership Roles Will Be Key In 2024

The past couple of years were unlike any in recent history.COVID-19 image

The COVID-19 pandemic shook the world up in almost every area of life as we know it.

Now that the virus is well behind us, we can enjoy antoher year of recovery, reflection, and regeneration.

It took good leadership qualities across the globe to get us to this point.

Those of us who survived the Coronavirus will adapt to our new way of life, but make no mistake about it, there are some things that will not get back to the way they were.

The world is going to need strong leadership to cope with these changes. Whether you are a business leader, a coach, a law enforcement officer, a teacher or a parent you should be prepared to assume a larger leadership role in 2024.

As we move forward together into the shifting landscape of our post-pandemic world, our responsibilities will increase.

What Are Good Leadership Qualities?

We all know what leadership means on the surface:

the act of leading groups of people or an organization toward achieving a common goal.

That’s the simple explanation.

But so much more lurks below the leadership definition.

Good leadership qualities really involve a set of skills and traits that determine whether a leader is successful or not.

  • It’s more than just about having a vision, it’s the ability to craft a plan to accomplish that vision and be able to communicate to others how to achieve the plan
  • It’s about handling complications and problems that inevitably arise and having the creativity, flexibility and innovation to be able to plot a new course all while keeping your people motivated
  • It is a position that demands integrity, will and the self-confidence to meet every challenge along the way

Companies pay a lot of money for top leadership skills in their corporate officers.

Individual leadership is also important as you manage your own life and family.

Evolution Leadership TheoryEvolutionary leadership theory (ELT) image

Have leadership qualities evolved as we have evolved as human beings?

Evolutionary leadership theory, or ELT, evaluates leadership qualities from an evolutionary perspective.

Humans evolved as social animals. The group offers protection and cooperation in hunting, gathering and sharing food to make group membership attractive to the individual. Some form of coordination may benefit group activities. Research shows that groups with leaders generally do better than groups without a leader. The core premise of evolutionary leadership theory (ELT) is that the primary function of leadership lies in facilitating group performance and effectiveness.

Human beings learned long ago that working together as an organized group offers protection and cooperation in hunting, gathering and the sharing of food and chores.

Research provides evidence that groups with leaders generally do better than groups that are leaderless.

Next, let’s examine good leadership qualities that the world’s best leaders use.

32 Good Leadership Qualities To Model

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Good leaders take personal accountability and are willing to answer for the outcomes of their choices, their behaviors, and their actions in all situations.

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Charismatic leaders are frequently skilled communicators that have the ability to communicate to others on a deep, emotional level.

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Clear communication is key in effective leadership. It’s these communication skills that motivate and inspire others to work hard and achieve goals.

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There is no leadership without confidence. If a leader is afraid to make and commit to decisions, all of the communication and decision making are meaningless.


Many people are surprised to learn the importance of creativity in the hierarchy of leadership qualities. Creativity boosts both innovation and vision. 

Decision Making

Good leadership relies on good decision making. Leaders are frequently faced with making difficult decision that have a large impact on other people.


Determination is important in a leader because it strengthens their will, especially in times of crisis, giving the leader the energy to persevere. 


Drive brings energy and determination to propel leaders forward. A good leader will achieve his or her goals using a laser-like results-driven focus.

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A leader’s duty demands a moral or legal obligation; a responsibility. A strong sense of duty is a commitment to perform under pressure.

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Emotions may be one of the traits that you may omit from leadership qualities. In fact, emotional stability is critical to every decision a leader must make.

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Good leaders need empathy to understand the impact their message has on their audience. Recognizing and understanding the feelings of others is a crucial trait.

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An effective leader needs to practice active energy management. Not just for their own benefit but to motivate those around them.


Experience leads to confidence in the overall leadership qualities structure. Effective leadership often hinges on cumulative experience. 


The best leaders in history demonstrated the ability to pivot in key moments. They listen and learn from others and adapt when circumstances change.


Without honor, there can be no leadership. Honor is a key factor to making any relationship work, gaining respect and esteem and influencing others.


Honesty builds trust. For leaders, this trust is essential to successfully working with and motivating others. Teams need to be able to trust their leaders as well. 

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Effective leaders aren’t afraid to admit when they’re wrong. They also own their mistakes, learn from them and share credit with others.

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Good leaders understand that solutions to problems may require new pathways or creativity to solve them. Good leaders always find new ways.

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Innovative leaders never lose sight of the forest for the trees. They have both a long term goal of the future and a plan to get there.

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One of the most important leadership qualities is intelligence. Having an in-depth knowledge of the issues they make decisions on is vital.


A good leader needs to be honest and trustworthy. Leaders who have a high level of integrity act in accordance with their own words.


Knowledge is the foundation of decision making. Top leaders need to be well-informed, by listening to and working with experts, to make good decisions.   


Loyalty is best earned and not demanded. Leaders who gain the trust and respect of their peers are the ones who benefit from loyalty.


Motivation creates drive and boosts employee productivity and morale. A motivational leader uses passion and incentive to inspire others. 

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Passionate leaders are as interested in helping others achieve their goals as they are of their own. Passionate leaders radiate postive energy.

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Pride is taking ownership of ones achievements and qualities. Effective leaders are the ones who are able to direct that pride outwardly toward others.

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Respect is one of the most powerful, yet overlooked, of good leadership qualities. When leaders earn respect, their employees are much more motivated to work harder for them.

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Leaders who are self-confident are better prepared to handle adversity and take the risks to necessary to accomplish higher goals.


Selfless leadership allows one to effectively lead others toward the attainment of a common goal instead of focusing on each individual persons goals.


A good leader uses strategic planning and this is among the most important leadership qualities involved in success.


Tenacity combines persistence and determination with focused energy. Tenacity in leadership often makes the difference between success and failure.


A good leader uses their vision and long term goals as a means to block out distractions while focusing attention laser-like on what matters.

Common Leadership Styles

Leadership styles vary wildly.

Interestingly, all of these styles have been used historically in both successful and unsuccessful ventures.

Every good leader has their own style and method of planning, setting goals, communicating, providing direction and motivating others.

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13 Different Leadership Styles

1. Affiliative: The affiliative leadership style is an approach where the leader gets up close and personal with everyone on their team addressing each persons emotional needs. ‘People come first’.

2. Autocratic: This leadership style is autocratic in nature with the leader believing (rightly or wrongly) that he or she is smarter than everyone else. ‘Do as I say’.

3. Authoritative: The authoritative leadership style is one where the leader takes charge but explains their reasoning for a course of action and looks to energize their followers. ‘Follow me’.

4. Bureaucratic: The bureaucratic way is by the book without a lot of grey area. Their is a clearly defined hierarchy involved with a specific set of rules ‘Do it by the book’.

5. Coaching: The coaching leadership style is all about the leader seeking to unlock the highest potential in each follower. It is a true team approach where everyone pulls together. ‘Consider this’.

6. Charismatic: These leaders possess an extraordinary level of charisma that makes their team want to follow them into battle. ‘Let’s rally the troops’.

7. Democratic: This trust-driven leadership style allows for employee or team input before the leader decides which course to take ‘What do you think?’.

8. Laissez-Faire: This approach is the exact opposite of the Autocratic leadership style listed above. It’s a risky style that can either produce highly motivated self-starters or end in chaos. ‘Hands off’.

9. Pacesetter: The pacesetting leadership style uses an aggressive results-driven agenda with the leader who leads from the front. ‘Do as I do’.

10. Servant: This powerful leadership style prioritizes the needs of others over their own. This is a challenging approach that comes with both high risk and high reward. ‘Serve first, lead second’.

11. Transactional: This leadership style occurs when the leader lays out clear instructions to their team with both rewards and punishments for their performance. ‘I’ll give you this, if you do something for me in return’.

12. Transformational: The transformational approach seeks to get people to be creative, innovate and find new ways to accomplish the organization’s goals. ‘Think outside the box’.

13. Visionary: This good leadership style is a two-pronged approach to gain the trust of both followers and the organization as a whole. ‘We’re in this together’.

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He Gave Up Just Three Feet From Gold

Are you comfortable in your leadership ability? Or will you quit before you live up to your expectations?

You might be just three feet from gold.

Perhaps you’ve heard the story about R. U. Darby from the blockbuster book Think And Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill?

Hopefully you’ve read Napoleon’s book because it’s probably the most important money-making book ever written.

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Anyways, Mr. Darby was a Colorado gold prospector that gave up on his mine when he was just three feet away from discovering a multi-million dollar ore producing vein.

Just Three Measly Feet.

Darby found some gold on his mine claim but knew little about how gold veins actually developed. After he found the initial gold he continued digging but in the wrong direction. After giving up in frustration after months of hard work he decided to quit.

He sold his mining equipment and claim to a local ‘junk man’ for just a few hundred dollars which was only a fraction of what it was worth. The junk man, also knowing little to nothing about gold mining, hired an expert (mine engineer) to survey his new digs. The mine engineer quickly discovered that Darby had failed to recognize the fault lines inside mine where the gold developed.

With his newfound expert knowledge the junk man had to dig only 3 feet from where Darby left off to find and absolute bonanza of gold beyond his wildest dreams.

I bring this up because I’ve seen many internet marketers give up on their business (and their dreams) when they were actually much closer to success than they were to failure. I’m certain that you’ve seen this in your own life too.

Fortunately for Mr. Darby he didn’t let his initial failure destroy him.  He went on to make a fortune selling life insurance.  He credited his perseverance and ultimate success to the lessons he learned from the gold mining venture.  Never again did he allow his lack of persistence to keep him from what he wanted.

“One of the most common causes of failure is the habit of quitting when one is overtaken by temporary defeat. Every person is guilty of this mistake at one time or another” – Napoleon Hill

Do you have a success conscious or a failure conscious? 

Do you expect to succeed as a leader? 

Are you willing to make all of the sacrifices required to get you there?

Good Leadership Qualities Q&A

What are 10 characteristics of a good leader?

  1. Accountability
  2. Confidence
  3. Drive
  4. Duty
  5. Honesty
  6. Initiative
  7. Intelligence
  8. Integrity
  9. Passion
  10. Tenacity

What are the five leadership skills?

There are many different combinations of answers that would work for this question.
But the five more powerful leadership skills are:

  1. The ability to communicate effectively
  2. Focusing primarily on the development of others
  3. Uncompromising integrity and honesty which build trusts
  4. Having the ability to motivate others
  5. Having an unwavering tenacity using persistence and determination

What are the 3 most important roles of a good leader?

  1. Establish a vision and effectively communicate the tasks needed to get there
  2. Inspire, motivate and set a good example for others to follow
  3. Have the flexibility to make adjustments along the way

Are good leadership qualities a learned skill or a trait?

Leadership can be learned skill just like any other.

With the proper instruction, training and experience an effective leader can turn these learned skills into valuable long-term traits.

They say that leaders are born. But there is no evidence that this is true.

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59 Amazing Leadership Quotes:

  1. “I cannot give you the formula for success, but I can give you the formula for failure, which is: Try to please everybody.” – Herbert Swope
  2. “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” – Warren Buffett
  3. “Lead and inspire people. Don’t try to manage and manipulate people. Inventories can be managed but people must be led.” – Ross Perot
  4. “Be patient with yourself. Self-growth is tender; it’s holy ground. There’s no greater investment.”- Stephen Covey
  5. “No man is good enough to govern another man without that other’s consent.” – Abraham Lincoln
  6. “Leadership is solving problems. The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help or concluded you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership.” – Colin Powell
  7. “Leadership is something you earn, something you’re chosen for. You can’t come in yelling, ‘I’m your leader.’ If it happens, it’s because the other guys respect you.” – Ben Roethlisberger
  8. “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams
  9. “It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership.” – Nelson Mandela
  10. “Outstanding leaders go out of the way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish.” – Sam Walton
  11. “Leadership is the key to 99 percent of all successful efforts.” – Erskine Bowles
  12. “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” – John F. Kennedy
  13. “Believe in yourself. Have faith in your abilities. Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.”–Norman Vincent Peale
  14. “I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.” – Thomas Jefferson
  15. “Leadership is unlocking people’s potential to become better.” – Bill Bradley
  16. “Leaders must be close enough to relate to others, but far enough ahead to motivate them.” – John C. Maxwell
  17. “The tragedy in life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach.”- Benjamin Mays
  18. “The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary.” – Vidal Sassoon
  19. “I am reminded how hollow the label of leadership sometimes is and how heroic followership can be.” – Warren Bennis
  20. “Give yourself an even greater challenge than the one you are trying to master and you will develop the powers necessary to overcome the original difficulty.” – William J. Bennett
  21. “The entrepreneur is essentially a visualizer and actualizer… He can visualize something, and when he visualizes it he sees exactly how to make it happen.”- Robert L. Schwartz
  22. “Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But if you must be without one, be without the strategy.” – Norman Schwarzkopf
  23.  “Leadership cannot just go along to get along. Leadership must meet the moral challenge of the day.” – Jesse Jackson
  24. “All progress takes place outside the comfort zone.” – Michael John Bobak
  25. “Ninety percent of leadership is the ability to communicate something people want.” – Dianne Feinstein
  26. “A man can be as great as he wants to be. If you believe in yourself and have the courage, the determination, the dedication, the competitive drive and if you are willing to sacrifice the little things in life and pay the price for the things that are worthwhile, it can be done.” – Vince Lombardi
  27. “Success… seems to be connected with action. Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don’t quit.” – Conrad Hilton
  28. “Action is the foundational key to all success.” – Pablo Picasso
  29. “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” – Peter F. Drucker
  30. “One of the most important things for any leader is to never let anyone else define who you are. And you define who you are. I never think of myself as being a woman CEO of this company. I think of myself as a steward of a great institution.” – Ginni Rometty
  31. “Management is about arranging and telling. Leadership is about nurturing and enhancing.” – Tom Peters
  32. “It does not matter how slowly you go, so long as you do not stop.” – Confucius
  33. “Leaders aren’t born, they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work. And that’s the price we’ll have to pay to achieve that goal, or any goal.” – Vince Lombardi
  34. “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear–not absence of fear.” – Mark Twain
  35. “By recording your dreams and goals on paper, you set in motion the process of becoming the person you most want to be. Put your future in good hands — your own.”- Mark Victor Hansen
  36. “Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.” – Pablo Picasso
  37. “The great successful men of the world have used their imagination. They think ahead and create their mental picture in all its details, filling in here, adding a little there, altering this a bit and that a bit, but steadily building – steadily building.”- Robert Collier
  38. “Each group and each youngster is different. As a leader or coach, you get to know what they need.” – Mike Krzyzewski
  39. “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing–that’s why we recommend it daily.” – Zig Ziglar
  40. “We become what we think about most of the time, and that’s the strangest secret.” – Earl Nightingale
  41. “The starting point of all achievement is desire.” – Napoleon Hill
  42. “You don’t have to hold a position in order to be a leader.” – Henry Ford
  43. “Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears. ” – Les Brown
  44. “I find that when you have a real interest in life and a curious life, that sleep is not the most important thing.” – Martha Stewart
  45. “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” – Anonymous
  46. “If you would not be forgotten, as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write things worth reading, or do things worth the writing”. – Benjamin Franklin
  47. “If you want to achieve excellence, you can get there today. As of this second, quit doing less-than-excellent work.” – Thomas J. Watson
  48. “Things work out best for those who make the best of how things work out.” – John Wooden
  49. “Not the cry, but the flight of a wild duck, leads the flock to fly and follow.” – Chinese Proverb
  50. “Leadership is a matter of having people look at you and gain confidence, seeing how you react. If you’re in control, they’re in control.” – Tom Landry
  51. “The road to success and the road to failure are almost exactly the same.” – Colin R. Davis
  52. “The function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers.” – Ralph Nader
  53. “Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall.” – Stephen Covey
  54. “You may only succeed if you desire succeeding; you may only fail if you do not mind failing.” – Philippos
  55. “Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.” – Maya Angelou
  56. “He who has learned how to obey will know how to command.” – Solon
  57. “If one is lucky, a solitary fantasy can totally transform one million realities.” – Maya Angelou
  58. “Leadership does not always wear the harness of compromise.” – Woodrow Wilson
  59. “The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things. – Ronald Reagan
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Top Leadership Skills

Being a great leader requires a solid set of leadership skills.The exact skills needed are often up for debate since every leader has their own style of leadership, but there are some skills that are essential.

These Skills Include:

Decisiveness: Effective leaders must make good decisions using the information they have in the shortest amount of time. Decisiveness demands its own set of sub-skills including initiative, evaluation, problem solving, communication and implementation.

Dependability: Being a dependable leader means showing up for work every day firing on all cylinders. The team must be able to both rely on and trust the leader. Being dependable requires commitment, loyalty and goal-driven.

Relation Building: Good relationships in the workplace promote good communication and engagement which leads to better productivity. A leader doesn’t have to be loved by everyone, but at the very least should be respected. Without respect of the leader, there can be no team building.

Commitment: A good leader must be committed to their job and their role in the company. Commitment builds trust in the team as a whole and gets everyone pulling in the same direction. Commitment might just be the most important of leadership qualities.

Delegation: Delegation is a critical element of being an effective leader. Delegation is not just about handing out assignments, but building leadership skills in subordinates and motivating them to achieve their own goals. Delegation should be viewed as a mentorship.

5 Leadership Theories

Adaptive Leadership: Adaptive leadership was introduced by Marty Linsky & Ronald Heifetz. Adaptive leadership uses a process approach. Adaptive leaders are able to motivate others to embrace change.

Leader-Member Exchange Theory: This approach is a relationship-based leadership model that bridges the gap between leaders and followers. The theory involves three stages (role-taking, role-making and routinization).

Strengths-Based Leadership: This leadership model makes the best use of every team members individuals talents and strengths. Strength-based leaders are not afraid to delegate tasks to those best suited for them.

Servant Leadership: This leadership philosophy is one in which the leader’s primary goal is to serve others. The leader puts the needs of team members first and shares power. Instead of the team serving the leader, the leader is serving the team.

Transformational Leadership: Transformational leadership is the theory in which the leader, working with employees or individuals, creates an overall vision to follow. Then the leader works on transforming members of the group to support each other and strengthen the organization as a whole.

Good Leadership Qualities Summary

The COVID-19 global pandemic exposed a lack of leadership in many parts of the world.

That’s not to say that every leader failed. Some leaders stepped up and did an amazing job helping those whom their responsible for get through this horrific crisis.

Those of us who survived the Coronavirus will have to adapt to the new reality that we all face.

The world is going to need strong leadership to deal with today’s changes and tomorrows threats.

Whether you are a business leader, a coach, a law enforcement officer, a teacher or a parent you should be prepared to assume a larger leadership role this year.

As we move forward together into the shifting landscape of our post-pandemic world, our leadership responsibilities will increase.

How Leaders Effectively Weather A Crisis

The COVID-19 pandemic was just the latest crisis that severely tested and challenged our global leaders.

There will be more to come in the future.

So how do leaders best handle tough times and catastrophes like the Coronavirus?

Put People First: People need and expect their leaders to remain level-headed and respond logically to a crisis based on the facts of the situation. Leaders also need the ability to communicate effectively to people and have a calming effect while they gain confidence and build trust.

Honesty And Transparency: People can handle the truth and they should expect to receive it from their leaders during a time of crisis. Once a leader has been exposed for being less than honest, the trust bridge if difficult to rebuild.

Delegate To Experts: The leader doesn’t need to solve all the problems brought on by the crisis. In fact, he or she shouldn’t. Instead good leadership dictates that tasks are handed out to those most qualified and capable of handling them.

More on good leadership qualities here.

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