Top 10 Qualities of Good Leadership

Gathered from the hundreds of high-performance leaders I've worked with, listed below are the Top 10 Qualities of Good Leadership that set these men and women apart. These are the qualities that make them high-performance leaders, rather than just managers.

That isn't to say that these men and women don't make use of the other 50+ leadership traits, qualities, and characteristics.

But what it does mean is that the leaders who are at the top of the game ... the cream of the crop, if you will, are VERY, VERY good at using the leadership qualities listed below... EVERY DAY!

Do you have what it takes to be a high-performance leader? As you read through the article, take some time to think about how well you are doing in each area.

And, this is my challenge to you...

Don't just read the article. If you are a leader, who wants to make a positive dent in the universe, then decide to strengthen your capability in one or two areas.

1. Are Trustworthy

Trust is the basis for all the relationships in your life. Without trust, it's impossible to create healthy and productive environments, either in work or personal situations.

Be aware that others are watching you ... assessing your values system and integrity. People want reassurance that their trust, followed closely by their respect is being placed in a safe place -- your hands. That they are indeed wise to follow where you lead.

When people trust you, they are more willing to give their best, as they know that they always get YOUR best. You say what you do and do what you say ... period.

Read more here about how high-performance leaders build trust in the workplace.

2. Are Self-Aware and Insightful About Their Impact on Others

This is one of the qualities of good leadership that you want to master. The best leaders are great at watching how others are reacting to them. They fine-tune what they are saying to ensure that they are building the relationship.

This doesn't mean that they change their minds every second to get people to like them. Rather, it is about finding other ways to say things so that the person they are interacting with wants to work with them and not against them.

High-performance leaders' know that the power is in the relationship (which is why a lot of the site is dedicated to building relationships!). And all relationships begin, and end, with what others think of you.

I'm a real fan of the DISC profile, because it helps you  understand your impact on others. It also gives you the tools to adjust your style so that you can get through to others. So that they are in the place to 'hear' your message. Get this right, and you'll move them to respond favorably to you.

3. Love to Learn, Grow, Expand

If you aren't learning, growing, and expanding, then you can't expect the people around you to be learning, growing and expanding either!

One of the things that sets all remarkable leaders apart is their absolute commitment to stepping into their potential and discovering how to be the best possible version of themselves.

I don't know about you, but I've yet to meet a leader that is considered to be at the top of his or her game, who doesn't read, listen to audios, go to courses, or share what he or she learns with others.

They certainly don't sit around waiting to be sent on some corporate course.

And, here's the most significant difference I've witnessed. They seem compelled to learn, grow, expand. And yet, they also seem to be very content with who they are. It is like they have this mantra 'Happy with where I'm at ... but not settling'. 

There is no sense of desperation, of not being good enough. 

More, it is an intense curiosity and a deep knowing that the reason we are on this planet is to grow, learn, expand.

One of my favorite sayings is "if you aren't growing then neither are your people" (and you can quote me on that).

A high-performance leader stays relevant by making sure they are at the leading edge in terms of leadership skills, interpersonal skills, and knowledge in their organization's field of expertise. Discover more about ALL the VIP resources on this site - you'll discover new ideas and tools to help you be at your best.

Click here to find out how hiring me as your Coach will help you sail closer to your potential and bring your people along with you.


You'll claim the qualities of good leadership,
and make your mark when you Learn, Grow, Expand

4. Has High Self-Worth and Self-Esteem

You might assume that how you feel about yourself doesn't have a whole lot to do with how others perceive you or how effective you can be at taking charge of a group situation. However, it would be a huge mistake to make this assumption. 

Every individual is either their own best friend or their own worst enemy.

How you feel about yourself often leads to subconscious patterns. People with negative self-worth may have many other great leadership qualities, but sabotage their own efforts with a deep belief that they aren't good enough to carry the day.

Dealing with self-esteem can seem like a touchy-feely waste of time. But that is not the case. It is crucial to your success and leadership ability.

In this article on leadership and self-esteem, you can read how Steve's self-esteem almost railroaded his career.

It's interesting, but almost without exception, the leaders that I have coached (and that is in the high hundreds in one-to-one coaching and thousands in workshop situations), have at some point struggled with their self-esteem.

In coaching sessions, time and again, leaders have asked me to help them work through situations where their self-belief is hurting them. For most leaders, this is just a momentary/situational thing, and not something that dominates their lives.

But, even in those momentary lapses, do make sure that you have the skills to recognize when it's your self-worth that's creating a problem. Make sure you have the tools to pick yourself up and get back into the game with a healthier perspective.

You may find the Prostitute Archetype article valuable to read, if you think that at times your lack of self-worth has sabotaged your success.

5. Excited by Life

If you aren't excited about the journey ahead, how on earth will you excite those around you? Now, this doesn't mean you need to go all cheerleader. But it does mean that you get out there with a spring in your step, and a vibe of passion, urgency, desire, energy, and animation that others can't help but be compelled by.

As you read the pages on this site, it won't be hard for you to guess that I'm a real fan of Richard Branson. He embodies this quality of good leadership in bucket-loads. You know that he's thrilled to be alive. He seems to bring that sense of thrill and curiosity into everything he does. Whether that's ballooning, building the Virgin Brand, working with a kid in an orphanage, or talking to a passenger on a plane.


I contrast Richard's out there, extroverted style with a leader that has most inspired me in a work situation. He was almost the complete opposite of Richard. Quiet. More serious than cheerful. Considered in his thinking. 

But did he ever have belief in what we were doing. He was 'quietly' thrilled by the journey we, as a team, were on.

This quiet sense of destiny and purpose that he brought to our team inspired all of us. The rah-rah stuff he left to those in the leadership team who were higher up the extrovert scale. He would quietly reinforce with each team member that this was a special moment in their life. To be excited by the possibilities of where we were going. And, his quiet style embedded in each of us meaning and joy about what we were doing!

So what's your vibe? This article may help you make sure you are setting the tone you want in your team.

6. Fix Problems, Find Solutions, and Don't Fix Blame

When something goes wrong, great leaders step up and acknowledge their part in it. They don't fall into the trap of trying to shift fault elsewhere. They focus on fixing the problem, not fixing blame. They are also very good at handling mistakes - either mistakes they make or mistakes made by others.

Read more about how to handle mistakes.

The Solutions Focused Coaching model is a fabulous tool to use to shift people's performance. If you're the type of leader who wants to inspire your people to focus on being at their best, then this model is for you!

7. Refuse to Gossip

The best leaders are loyal to those who aren't there. They don't engage in workplace gossip ... ever. No matter how well justified or frustrated they may feel! You can assess the quality of your own (and others) character by the quality of conversations you have.

8. Grow Their People

High-performance leaders build teams of superstars by being exceptional delegators of challenging work. They ensure that their people are regularly being stimulated to grow and learn.

They create the systems and structures that ensure people are always pushing the envelope of their potential. They fully 'get' that if people are bored, they become de-motivated. Poor motivation leads to low morale, which leads to poor performance.

9. Have an Open Office

Good leaders make it easy for their people to interact with them.

Great leaders aren't into the power trip of having to have an office where others must come to them. They understand that having open-plan offices enables them to be in the hub with their finger on the pulse. Providing far better results in terms of communication and camaraderie.

10. Engage and Energize

High-performance leaders help people to see that what they do makes a difference. They put into place the structures, systems, and principles that enable people to feel:

  • challenged by what they do
  • a sense of ownership in their part of the process 
  • they regularly make use of their talents and strengths

Get more tips on engaging employees.

The Bottom Line In Terms of Qualities Of Good Leadership - Here's What Pulls It All Together ...

High-performance Leaders Act From A Place Of Alignment. For me, this is ultimately what makes a good leader. A leader who takes the time to align with their Power Source. A leader who fully gets what it means to take inspired action.

When it is inspired action it will be the right action!

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