Best Leadership Qualities: Ranked and Reviewed (2024)

Did you know that the top leadership qualities have been identified and ranked by business leaders themselves?

According to a study conducted by leadership development consultants Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman, leaders were asked to rank their top leadership competencies from a list of 16 key skills. The results revealed the most effective leadership qualities that have a proven impact on organizational success.

These findings provide valuable insights into the qualities that make a great leader. Whether you’re aspiring to be a leader or looking to improve your leadership skills, understanding these proven characteristics can help you reach your full potential.

Key Takeaways:

  • Inspiration, integrity, problem solving, perseverance, communication skills, building relationships and trust, expertise, vision, developing leaders, and innovation are the top ranked leadership qualities.
  • Leaders who inspire others fuel their followers with passion, purpose, and meaning, and communicate a shared vision.
  • Integrity is crucial for building trust with followers. Good leaders are honest, transparent, and do what they say they will do.
  • Effective leaders have strong problem-solving skills and encourage collaborative problem-solving within their teams.
  • Perseverance is a key quality that allows leaders to overcome challenges and drive their team towards achieving goals.

Inspire Others

As a leader, one of the most important qualities you can possess is the ability to inspire others. It is this leadership quality that has the power to ignite passion, purpose, and meaning in your team members. When you inspire others, you communicate a shared vision that resonates with their aspirations and values, motivating them to take action and give their best.

Inspiration goes beyond mere motivation, which often relies on external incentives or rewards. Rather, inspiration comes from within and taps into the deep wells of passion and purpose that drive individuals to excel. When your team members can see themselves in your vision, they become inspired to go above and beyond their perceived limitations, driving exceptional results.

Imagine a workplace filled with individuals who are inspired by their leader’s vision. Each person working towards a common goal with a sense of purpose and meaning. This kind of inspiration creates a powerful synergy that propels the team forward, even in the face of challenges.

“Inspiration is the art of energizing and uplifting others, awakening their inner drive to achieve greatness.”

Unlocking the True Potential of Your Team

When you inspire others, you unlock their true potential. Your team members become more engaged, enthusiastic, and committed to achieving collective goals. They are not only motivated by their own self-interests but also by a shared purpose that transcends individual aspirations.

  • Inspired individuals are more willing to go beyond their comfort zones and take calculated risks.
  • They approach their work with enthusiasm and a genuine desire to make a meaningful impact.
  • Inspiration fosters creativity and innovation, as individuals are driven to think outside the box and find unique solutions to challenges.
  • When inspired, team members develop a strong sense of ownership and responsibility towards their work, leading to increased accountability and results.

Inspiration is a leadership quality that creates a positive ripple effect throughout an organization. The impact of an inspired team can be seen in increased productivity, higher levels of employee satisfaction, and ultimately, improved business performance.

The Power of Inspiring Leadership

Leaders who inspire others have the ability to create a work environment that is filled with purpose, passion, and meaning. By cultivating this leadership quality, you can transform your team into a cohesive unit that is driven by a common vision.

When your team members are inspired, they are more likely to find fulfillment in their work, leading to higher job satisfaction and employee retention. They are also more likely to go above and beyond their assigned responsibilities, pushing boundaries and driving innovation.

As an inspiring leader, you have the power to make a lasting impact on the lives of your team members. By nurturing their passion and purpose, you help them find meaning in their work and achieve personal growth and fulfillment.

Take a moment to reflect on the leaders who have inspired you throughout your career. What qualities did they possess? How did their passion and purpose ignite a fire within you? Now, it’s your turn to inspire others and create a legacy of leadership that leaves a lasting impact.


As a leader, I believe that integrity is one of the most crucial qualities to possess. Honesty and transparency in both actions and words lay the foundation for trust and respect within a team.

Integrity means doing what you say you will do and following through on your commitments. By consistently demonstrating honesty and transparency, leaders create a culture of openness and accountability. When followers can trust their leader’s intentions and actions, they are more likely to feel motivated and inspired.

Trust is the cornerstone of effective leadership. People want to work for leaders who are ethical, reliable, and treat them with respect. When leaders act with integrity, they establish a sense of trust that fosters open communication and collaboration. Trust, in turn, strengthens the bond between leaders and their followers, enhancing teamwork and productivity.

In my experience, integrity is not just about following a set of rules or protocols; it is about personal character and values. Leaders with integrity lead by example and maintain their principles even in challenging situations. They make ethical decisions that align with their core values and act in the best interest of their team and organization.

“Integrity is the gateway to trust and inspiration. When leaders possess this quality, they create a loyal following.”

Leaders who prioritize integrity are honest about their own limitations and mistakes. They openly communicate with their team and seek feedback, fostering a culture of continuous improvement and growth.

By embodying integrity, leaders inspire their followers to do the same. They set the standard for ethical behavior and encourage others to be honest, transparent, and trustworthy. This creates a positive work environment where everyone feels valued and respected.

Why Integrity Matters

Integrity matters because it builds a solid foundation for effective leadership. Without integrity, leaders may struggle to gain the trust and loyalty of their team. Conversely, when leaders consistently demonstrate integrity, they create an environment where their team feels safe, supported, and motivated.

Leading with integrity also contributes to long-term success. It fosters positive relationships, attracts top talent, and enhances employee engagement and satisfaction. When employees trust their leaders, they are more likely to be committed to their work, go the extra mile, and contribute innovative ideas.

Ultimately, integrity sets the stage for sustainable growth, both for individuals and organizations. It forms the basis of strong leadership and paves the way for success in achieving goals and objectives.

In conclusion, integrity is an essential quality for leaders to possess. It establishes trust, fosters inspiration, and creates a supportive work environment. By prioritizing integrity in their actions and decisions, leaders can build strong relationships, cultivate a loyal following, and achieve long-term success.

Problem Solving

As a leader, one of the essential skills you must possess is problem solving. Effective leaders are adept at analyzing, diagnosing, and addressing problems within their organization. They possess strong analytical skills that allow them to identify the root causes of issues and develop strategies to overcome them. Problem solving requires a combination of critical thinking, creativity, and practical decision-making.

Collaborative problem-solving is another crucial aspect of leadership. Good leaders understand the value of involving their team members in finding solutions. They encourage conceptual thinking, planning, organization, and creativity among their employees. By fostering a collaborative problem-solving environment, leaders harness the unique perspectives and diverse skill sets of their team, leading to more innovative and effective solutions.

I believe that involving my team in the problem-solving process not only empowers them but also promotes a sense of ownership and commitment to finding the best solutions. Together, we can overcome challenges and achieve our desired outcomes.

By combining their analytical skills with collaborative problem-solving, leaders can effectively address challenges, streamline processes, and drive positive change within their organization.

Benefits of Problem Solving Skills

Developing problem-solving skills as a leader provides numerous benefits:

  • Effective problem solving leads to improved efficiency and productivity within the organization.
  • It fosters a culture of innovation and continuous improvement.
  • Problem-solving skills enable leaders to make informed decisions based on thorough analysis and evaluation.
  • Collaborative problem-solving increases employee engagement and fosters a sense of teamwork.
  • By resolving issues promptly and effectively, leaders can enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty.

With strong problem-solving skills, leaders can navigate through complex situations, adapt to changing environments, and guide their teams towards success.


Perseverance is a key quality that distinguishes great leaders. As a goal-oriented and driven individual, a leader with perseverance possesses the determination to overcome challenges and drive results. They understand that success is not achieved by simply setting goals, but by taking continuous action and persisting in the face of obstacles.

Leaders with perseverance have the ability to identify the barriers and roadblocks that prevent their team from reaching their goals. They do not shy away from difficult situations, but instead, tackle them head-on with resilience and tenacity. By implementing effective strategies and adapting their approach as needed, these leaders propel their team forward.

Perseverance sets the tone for the team’s mindset and fosters a culture of resilience and determination. When team members observe their leader’s unwavering commitment to achieving goals, they are inspired and motivated to do the same. It creates a sense of unity and shared purpose that drives the entire team towards success.

True perseverance requires the ability to stay focused and maintain motivation in the face of adversity. It involves making decisions and taking action with a clear understanding of the desired outcomes. Great leaders with perseverance lead by example, demonstrating their dedication to results and encouraging their team to stay committed to their objectives.

Perseverance is not just about individual achievement; it is about leading the team towards success. By embodying this quality, leaders create an environment that fosters growth, innovation, and the continual pursuit of excellence.

Key Attributes of Perseverance:

  • Resilience in the face of challenges
  • Determination to achieve goals
  • Adaptability and willingness to change strategies
  • Inspiring and motivating others
  • Commitment to continuous improvement

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill

Communication Skills

Effective leadership hinges upon strong communication skills. As a leader, I understand the importance of being able to communicate clearly and effectively with my team. Communication is a two-way process, and it involves not only conveying information but also actively listening and engaging with my employees. By creating an environment that encourages open dialogue, I foster a culture of trust and collaboration.

Whether it’s through one-on-one conversations, team meetings, emails, or phone and video calls, I ensure that I am readily available to communicate with my team. I express my thoughts and ideas clearly, allowing for a better understanding of expectations and goals. By providing clarity in my communication, I minimize misunderstandings and promote productivity.

Furthermore, I value the input and ideas of my employees. I actively encourage them to share their thoughts and opinions, creating an inclusive work environment where everyone’s voice is heard. I understand that feedback is essential for personal and professional growth, so I actively seek feedback from my team and provide constructive feedback in return.

Communication skills are vital for building strong relationships and fostering a positive work environment. By effectively communicating with my team, I ensure that everyone is on the same page and working towards a shared vision. Strong communication skills not only contribute to my ability to lead but also enable the success of my team and organization as a whole.

“Communication is the key to success in any organization. It’s not just about the message you convey, but also how you listen and respond. It’s a two-way process that requires clarity, active engagement, and feedback.” – John Maxwell

In conclusion, honing effective communication skills is imperative for effective leadership. By promoting a culture of transparency, engagement, and feedback, leaders can forge strong relationships and guide their teams towards success.

Build Relationships and Trust

As a leader, one of the most important aspects of my role is to build strong relationships and foster trust with my followers. I understand that trust is the foundation upon which effective leadership is built, and it is crucial for creating a cohesive and engaged team.

Building relationships starts with leading by example. I take responsibility for my actions and decisions, and I am transparent in sharing my opinions and support with my team. By being authentic and genuine, I establish a sense of trust and mutual respect with my followers.

To build strong relationships and trust, I believe in including my followers in the decision-making process. I value their input and encourage open communication. This not only helps me make better decisions but also makes my team feel valued and respected.

Creating feedback loops is another essential aspect of building relationships and trust. I provide constructive feedback and appreciate the contributions of my team members. This two-way communication fosters a culture of openness, growth, and collaboration.

Supporting the growth and development of my team is another way I build relationships and trust. I actively invest in their professional development, providing opportunities for learning and mentorship. I believe that by helping my followers grow, I’m investing in the future success of our organization.

“Building relationships and trust requires including followers in decision-making, creating feedback loops, and supporting their team’s growth and development.”

When leaders prioritize building relationships and trust, they create a loyal and engaged followership. Trust enables open communication, collaboration, and the shared pursuit of goals. It is the bedrock upon which a successful team is built.

Benefits of Building Relationships and Trust
1. Increased productivity
2. Improved morale
3. Enhanced teamwork and collaboration
4. Higher employee satisfaction and retention
5. Better problem-solving and decision-making
6. Increased innovation and creativity


As a leader, expertise is a crucial quality that sets you apart. It encompasses the knowledge, market know-how, and decision-making abilities necessary for making informed choices that benefit your employees and company. To gain expertise, start by honing your specific skills and then delve deeper into your field, continuously expanding your knowledge. Take the time to thoroughly understand your business and industry, staying up-to-date with the latest trends and developments. This deep understanding will empower you to make strategic plans and navigate the ever-changing market landscape with confidence.

Expertise enhances your decision-making capabilities, equipping you with the judgment and insight needed to navigate complex challenges. It allows you to analyze data, evaluate risks, and identify opportunities, enabling you to chart a course towards your desired outcomes. With expertise, you can approach decision-making with a clear understanding of the potential impact and implications. Your knowledge and market know-how will guide you in making well-informed choices that drive your organization forward.


Good leaders have a clear vision of the future and prioritize strategic objectives that align with that vision. They focus on the big picture and create a purpose that aligns with their company and followers’ core beliefs. As a leader, my role is to delegate activities, inspire team members, and create a sense of direction towards the desired end goal. A strong vision not only clarifies the path forward but also acts as a rallying point, engaging and motivating followers to work towards a common goal.

Without a clear vision, teams may lack direction and wander aimlessly. It helps align the efforts of individuals within the organization and ensures everyone is working towards a common purpose. With a shared vision, teams are more likely to find alignment and focus on the collective success of the organization.

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Vision is not only about creating a mental picture of what the future could look like. It also involves setting strategic objectives that outline the specific goals and milestones to be achieved. These objectives act as a roadmap, guiding the organization towards success.

Strategic Objectives

When setting strategic objectives, it is important to consider the organization’s values, mission, and long-term goals. These objectives should be challenging yet achievable, and they should reflect the organization’s aspirations.

Strategic objectives help leaders and their teams to prioritize projects and initiatives, ensuring that resources are allocated effectively. They provide a clear direction and focus, enabling decision-making and resource allocation that are in line with the broader vision.

By communicating the vision and strategic objectives to the team, leaders create a shared understanding and commitment to the overall goal. This fosters a sense of purpose and direction within the organization, driving individuals to work towards a common mission.

Develop Leaders

In order to be a great leader, it’s important to go beyond just creating followers. True leadership involves developing and nurturing the potential of others. As a leader, I prioritize the growth and development of my workforce by adjusting my leadership style to meet the specific needs of my team. I believe in the power of coaching, mentoring, and supporting individuals to unlock their full potential. By investing time and energy in developing the skills and abilities of my employees, I am not only building a stronger team but also creating future leaders who can contribute to the success of the organization.

Coaching is a powerful tool that enables leaders to guide individuals in their personal and professional growth. By providing constructive feedback, setting goals, and offering guidance, I help my team members enhance their performance and achieve their full potential. Coaching allows me to identify their strengths and areas for improvement, and to tailor my approach accordingly.

Mentoring is another important aspect of leadership development. By sharing my knowledge, experiences, and insights, I can provide guidance and support to individuals who are eager to learn and grow. Through mentoring relationships, I help my team members develop new skills, gain valuable perspective, and overcome professional challenges. Mentoring allows me to foster a culture of continuous learning and development within my organization.

To unlock the potential of my team, I believe in creating a supportive and encouraging environment. I value open communication and create opportunities for my employees to share their ideas, ask questions, and seek guidance. By actively listening to their concerns and aspirations, I can provide the necessary support and resources to help them succeed. I also encourage collaboration and teamwork, as I believe that diverse perspectives and collective effort can lead to innovative solutions and improved outcomes.

Developing leaders is not just about positional power, but about recognizing and nurturing leadership qualities in every individual. By investing in their growth and providing them with the necessary tools and opportunities, I empower my team members to take on leadership roles and make a positive impact within the organization. When leaders prioritize the development of their employees, they create a culture of continuous improvement and growth, leading to greater success for the entire team.

develop leaders image


Innovation is a key quality of every great leader. As a leader, I understand the importance of change and creativity in achieving strategic objectives. Embracing innovation means stepping outside our comfort zones and challenging traditional methods to find new and more effective ways of achieving results.

I encourage my team to think outside the box and come up with creative solutions to problems. By fostering an environment that values innovation, I empower my employees to take risks and explore new ideas without fear of failure.

“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” – Steve Jobs

Innovation also requires adaptability. As a leader, I understand that the business landscape is constantly evolving, and our strategies must evolve with it. When faced with challenges, I encourage my team to re-think their approaches and explore innovative solutions that align with our strategic objectives.

The Benefits of Innovation

  • Innovation drives growth: By embracing change and seeking new opportunities, leaders can propel their organizations forward and stay ahead of the competition.
  • Innovation enhances problem-solving: Creative thinking allows us to find innovative solutions to complex problems, leading to more efficient processes and improved outcomes.
  • Innovation improves customer satisfaction: By continuously innovating and adapting to changing customer needs, we can deliver products and services that exceed their expectations.

The Role of Creativity

Creativity is the catalyst for innovation. It allows us to think outside the box, challenge assumptions, and find unique solutions to business challenges. As a leader, I foster creativity within my team by encouraging brainstorming sessions, providing opportunities for collaboration, and celebrating out-of-the-box thinking.

Ways to Foster Creativity Examples
Encouraging diverse perspectives Creating cross-functional teams to bring together different viewpoints and expertise.
Providing resources for experimentation Allocating time and budget for employees to explore new ideas and test innovative solutions.
Celebrating failure Recognizing that failure is an inherent part of the innovation process and encouraging employees to learn from their mistakes.

By fostering a culture of innovation and creativity, I empower my team to think outside the box, embrace change, and drive strategic objectives forward. Innovation is essential for staying relevant in a rapidly changing world and achieving long-term success.

Concentrate on the goal

As effective leaders, it is crucial to maintain a laser-like focus on the goal at hand. We understand that distractions and personal dilemmas can arise, but knowing how to manage your time and prioritize tasks is key to achieving desired outcomes.

Here are some strategies to help you concentrate on the goal:

  1. Set up the night before: Take a few minutes before you end your day to plan and prepare for the tasks ahead. This will help you start the next day with a clear direction.
  2. Stick to a plan: Create a schedule or to-do list and hold yourself accountable to it. By following a structured plan, you can avoid wasting time on less important tasks.
  3. Prioritize tasks: Identify the most important and urgent tasks and tackle them first. This ensures that you’re focusing your energy on what matters most and making progress towards your goal.
  4. Stay energized: Take breaks, engage in physical activity, and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Physical and mental well-being are vital for staying focused and productive.
  5. Change the environment: If you find yourself getting distracted, consider changing your work environment. This could mean moving to a different location, turning off notifications, or creating a dedicated workspace that minimizes disruptions.

Remember, concentration on the goal requires discipline and commitment. By applying these strategies and staying focused, you’ll increase your chances of achieving success in your leadership endeavors.


Confidence is a critical leadership quality that inspires trust and followership. As a leader, I need to trust myself and my abilities to make tough decisions and lead with certainty. Building confidence involves taking intellectual risks, surrounding myself with positive supporters, and practicing decision-making and leadership skills.

“The secret to success is to know something nobody else knows.” – Aristotle Onassis

As an intellectual risk-taker, I embrace new challenges and step outside my comfort zone. By pushing the boundaries of my knowledge and experience, I can discover innovative solutions and seize opportunities that others may overlook.

Surrounding myself with positive supporters is crucial for maintaining confidence. These individuals believe in my abilities and provide encouragement and constructive feedback. Their support empowers me to take on new challenges and overcome obstacles.

Nurturing Confidence Through Practice

To build confidence as a leader, I consistently practice decision-making and leadership skills. By putting myself in challenging situations and making tough decisions, I strengthen my belief in my capabilities. Through practice, I refine my leadership style and develop strategies for effective communication, problem-solving, and team management.

Confidence is essential for success as a leader. It inspires trust in my abilities and encourages others to follow my lead. With confidence, I can navigate through uncertainty, adapt to change, and make bold decisions that drive positive outcomes.

Clear Vision

A clear vision is an essential quality for effective leadership. As a leader, I understand the importance of having a clear vision that not only outlines what we want to achieve but also conveys why it is important and the impact it will have on our organization. With a clear vision in mind, I can create detailed and actionable plans that will guide us towards our desired goals.

One of the advantages of having a clear vision is the ability to effectively communicate it to my team. By clearly articulating our purpose and the desired outcome, I can inspire and align my team members towards a common goal. When everyone understands the purpose and significance of our work, they are motivated to contribute their best efforts, resulting in increased productivity and success.

Having a clear vision also enables me to make informed decisions and prioritize tasks that are in line with our goals. I can easily identify which actions are necessary to bring our vision to life and focus on the most impactful activities. This clarity helps me stay focused, avoid distractions, and maintain a laser-like focus on achieving our objectives.

“A leader’s vision is like a compass that guides the entire team towards success.”

A clear vision creates a sense of purpose and direction, which can have a profound impact on our organization. It provides a roadmap for growth and guides our strategic decision-making. With a clear vision in place, we can effectively allocate resources, identify opportunities for innovation, and adapt to changing circumstances to stay ahead in our industry.

To further illustrate the importance of a clear vision, consider the following table:

Benefits of a Clear Vision Impact
Enhanced alignment Ensures all team members are working towards a common goal
Increased motivation Inspires team members to give their best performance
Improved decision-making Enables leaders to make informed and focused decisions
Strategic planning Guides the development of clear and actionable plans
Opportunity for innovation Empowers leaders to drive change and achieve growth

As you can see, a clear vision has a significant impact on various aspects of leadership and organizational success. It serves as a guiding light, motivating and directing individuals and teams towards achieving their full potential.

By embodying a clear vision, leaders can inspire their teams, increase productivity, and drive meaningful change within their organizations. It is a crucial quality that sets the foundation for purposeful leadership and impactful results.


Effective leadership is a culmination of various qualities that have been proven through studies and assessments. The best leadership qualities, such as inspiring others, integrity, problem-solving, perseverance, communication skills, building relationships and trust, expertise, vision, developing leaders, and innovation, are essential for success in leadership. By prioritizing these proven leadership characteristics, leaders can enhance their skills and make a positive impact on their organization.

Leadership is not a static trait but an ongoing process of growth and improvement. Through practice and self-reflection, leaders can develop and refine these qualities, enhancing their effectiveness as leaders. It’s important to remember that leadership is not about a single set of skills, but a combination of traits that work in harmony to inspire and guide others.

In summary, the best leadership qualities encompass a range of skills, from inspiring and motivating others to problem-solving and building strong relationships. Developing expertise, having a clear vision, and fostering innovation are also critical for effective leadership. These characteristics can be cultivated and honed over time, enabling leaders to excel in their roles and drive positive change in their organizations.


What are the top-ranked leadership qualities?

The top-ranked leadership qualities are inspiration, integrity, problem solving, perseverance, communication skills, building relationships and trust, expertise, vision, developing leaders, and innovation.

Why is the ability to inspire others important for effective leadership?

The ability to inspire others is important because it fuels followers with passion, purpose, and meaning. It allows leaders to communicate a shared vision and motivate their teams to take action.

What does it mean to have integrity as a leader?

Having integrity as a leader means being honest, transparent, and ethical in actions and words. It builds trust with followers and creates a loyal and engaged followership.

Why is problem solving an essential leadership quality?

Problem solving is essential because leaders need to analyze, diagnose, and address problems within their organization. They also facilitate collaborative problem-solving to overcome challenges and achieve desired outcomes.

Why is perseverance important for leaders?

Perseverance allows leaders to overcome challenges and encourage their followers to do the same. It sets the tone for resilience and determination within the team.

How do communication skills contribute to effective leadership?

Communication skills are essential for leaders to handle various forms of communication, engage with their employees, and create opportunities for feedback and dialogue.

How does building relationships and trust benefit leaders?

Building relationships and trust benefits leaders by creating a loyal and engaged followership. It involves including followers in decision-making, creating feedback loops, and supporting their growth and development.

Why is expertise important for effective leadership?

Expertise allows leaders to make informed decisions and strategically plan for their organization. It gives them the judgment and market know-how to achieve desired outcomes.

Why is vision important in leadership?

Vision provides direction and purpose for leaders and their followers. It helps rally and engage followers towards a common goal.

How do leaders develop other leaders?

Leaders develop other leaders by adjusting their leadership style to meet the needs of their followers, mentoring, coaching, and supporting their growth and potential.

Why is innovation a key leadership quality?

Innovation is a key leadership quality because it drives growth and helps leaders adapt to meet business goals. It encourages creative solutions and strategic thinking.

How can leaders prioritize the most important tasks and concentrate on the goal?

Leaders can prioritize tasks and concentrate on the goal by setting up the night before, sticking to a plan, staying energized, and changing the environment to minimize distractions and personal dilemmas.

Why is confidence important for leaders?

Confidence is important for leaders because it allows them to trust their abilities, make tough decisions, and inspire trust and followership.

How does a clear vision contribute to effective leadership?

A clear vision provides direction, purpose, and clarity for leaders and their followers. It helps align efforts towards the desired outcome.

What are the key leadership qualities for success?

The key leadership qualities for success include inspiring others, integrity, problem-solving, perseverance, communication skills, building relationships and trust, expertise, vision, developing leaders, and innovation.

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