Top 5 Most Important Leadership Traits

Leadership Traits

Whether you are responsible for a thousand employees or just starting an online business with a few friends, you need to know how to be a leader.

In the business world, and in life in general, there are those who lead and those who follow.

The quality of leadership has a strong influence on a company’s ultimate outcome. While every company is different, there are certain general qualities that every leader should have.

While this is certainly not a comprehensive list, it may be a good place to start.

Top 5 Most Important Leadership Traits

1. Honesty

Few qualities will transfer directly to employees faster than honesty. As a leader you hold up the standard for how work in your company should be done. If employees can tell that you are dishonest with clients they will likely follow your example, and vice versa.

Honesty is directly tied to trust.

If you are dishonest with employees, chances aren’t good that they will trust you in the future. When you lose the trust of your employees you lose control of the company.

2. Ability to Delegate

If your company consists of three people, or if you are running it completely on your own this may not be as much of an issue. Most leaders however are in charge of a large group of people.

Realize that you simply cannot do everything yourself.

You may feel that you can complete assignments more efficiently than others, but try exercising a bit of trust in other people’s capacity. Identify specific skills in people and delegate assignments accordingly. You never know, they may surprise you.

3. Humor

The workplace can be a tense and stressful place. If you can’t find a way to relieve that stress, it will start to impact the quality of your work. One of the best ways to increase productivity in the office is to take a break and laugh a little. Show a funny video or tell some jokes.

If you can loosen up your employees, they will enjoy being at work more.

This is important because overall happiness directly influences the work people do. Of course when its time to get down to business there may not be time for jokes. Too much humor can turn the workplace into a circus. Find a balance that is appropriate for your office.

4. Creativity

There is no handbook on how to run your business specifically. Situations will arise that you don’t expect, especially if you are an entrepreneur. You will need to be flexible, adaptable and able to come up with creative solutions to complex problems.

Some of the best leaders don’t necessarily follow the rules exactly.

They come up with their own guidelines based on their companies needs.

5. Positive Attitude

No business is perfect and things will inevitably go wrong. In difficult times employees will look to their leader. It is important that you know how to keep calm and stay positive.

Attitude is contagious and makes a huge difference in the success of any company.

So, what attributes or traits would you add to this list to make it the Top 10? How are you doing at keeping these important traits on your mind, in your heart, and on your lips? Do you struggle with maintaining any of these traits? I would love to hear your thoughts!


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Robert Cordray

Robert Cordray is a freelance writer with over 20 years of business experience
He does the occasional business consult to help increase employee morale
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  1. pamelahollister on March 27, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    Great article and excellent information! Understanding the personality type of yourself and your employees assists powerfully in being a successful leader.

  2. Dave Mohn on March 27, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    A couple that come to mind quickly.
    Empathy: Care and Concern of your fellow employees.
    Dependablity: Do what you say your going to do.

  3. Bill | Leadership Heart Coaching on March 27, 2013 at 8:13 pm

    Hi Robert,
    I agree that Honesty should be number 1. Quite frankly, I would stay true to my values and walk away from my job if I found I was working for a dishonest leader.

    Adding to the list, I would say competence and inspiring are both important leadership traits as well.

  4. kwillkom on March 28, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    These all definitely resonate with me as traits of a successful leader. I find it difficult to pinpoint a top 5. Being willing to serve, building rapport with those you’re leading, and acting with integrity are big ones too. Thanks for the post. Definitely thought-provoking.

  5. Charlie Boyer on March 30, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    An excellent article! I enjoyed it very much. I’d like to add: Clarity and Courage to the list — The ability to be very clear about what is expected of the people you lead, and the courage to take action when it’s needed, or the Courage to say NO.

  6. ramakrishnan6002 on November 17, 2014 at 6:25 am

    Reblogged this on Gr8fullsoul.