Good Leadership Skills ...

You Don't Need Every Single One on This List to be Remarkable!

Here's a list of excellent leadership skills that have appeared in the performance evaluation programs of 20 high-performance companies. Are your strengths in the list?

A question frequently asked by visitors to this site, is along the lines of, "Can you give me a list of the good leadership skills I should have?" And, I've always thought that is a bit tricky to answer.

Because leadership skills can be a little situation dependent. Each individual has different strengths that can enable him or her to shine.

For example, one of the leadership qualities in the list below is strategic thinking. Yet one of the very best leaders I ever worked with, wasn't known for the depth of his thinking! And, he now heads up the European division of a large multi-national.

Certainly, he too realized this wasn't his strength. So, he surrounded himself with great people who were excellent at thinking strategically.

However, what he was brilliant at, was inspiring people to believe in the vision. Believe in the importance of their specific role, and their individual contribution to the success of the entire team.

In other words, he wasn't very good at setting and planning strategic direction, but he was mighty powerful at bringing the plan and the strategy to a successful result.

There is no ONE set of good leadership skills that define success

So, with the disclaimer of ... there is no ONE set of excellent leadership skills that define success. I decided to review the criteria used in Performance Evaluation Programs of just under 20 companies. 

The list below contains a recurring set of traits, characteristics, and qualities of excellent leadership skills that these organizations looked for in their leaders.

Please do not expect to excel in all these leadership qualities and characteristics.

  • Firstly, it's impossible
  • Secondly, you'll place too much stress on yourself, and
  • Thirdly, throughout time, remarkable leaders have emerged on our world stages, with a wide variety of skills and characteristics

Think of leaders like Richard Branson, Condoleezza Rice, Jacinda Ahern, Winston Churchill, Oprah Winfrey, Nelson Mandela, Michelle Obama, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates. All very different leaders. And all of whom may very well failed as leaders, if they had been put in each others situation and context.

Good leadership depends on environment and context

Take a leaf out of the book of the leader, I mentioned above, who isn't a strategic thinker. Recognize your weaknesses then find workarounds for them.  Build on, and regularly use, your strengths. That is a pathway to high-performance.


The Qualities and Characteristics of Good Leaders Often Looked For By Organizations


  • Strategic - big picture - thinking
  • Futuristic Thinking
  • Looking for problems
  • Solving problems analytically
  • Innovating through creativity
  • Decision Making
  • Judgment even under uncertainty


  • Evaluating performance
  • Employee Development/Coaching
  • Establishing learning climates
  • Guiding reflection
  • Offering and asking for assistance
  • Preparing others for change


  • Planning and Organizing
  • Time and Priority Management
  • Meetings and discussions
  • Projects and priorities management
  • Finances and budgets
  • Hiring and staffing
  • Leveraging technology
  • Disseminating information


  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Influencing Others
  • Negotiation
  • Diplomacy
  • Conflict Management
  • Writing
  • Presenting/Public Speaking
  • Public Speaking
  • Giving and Receiving Feedback




  • Dealing with ambiguity
  • Coping with complexity
  • Identifying global and local trends
  • Being a catalyst for change
  • Willingness to take sensible risks
  • Continuous Learning


Phew ... it's a pretty long list of good leadership skills.

Be wise! Do as suggested by the research into what successful leaders do. Focus on your strengths, and work around your weaknesses. Read my review of the book Now Discover Your Strengths

Pick, from the list above, those things that are your strengths (and that you love to do) and develop them more. Then create systems and strategies to overcome your weaknesses. By the way - the most crucial to your success ... are those that have to do with Emotional Intelligence and Community. Leaders who fine-tune their capability in these two critical areas are generally far more successful than the smartest guy in the room!

You might also like to take the Manager to HP-Leader Self-Assessment. This assessment gives you 99 competencies you can rate yourself against.

As well, at the "Make a Dent" club, you can  do an activity that will help you identify your Ideal Job

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