Top 10 Leadership Skills of Great Leaders

By Dr. Mary Kay

Updated Over a Week Ago

Minute Read

Use this Top 10 Leadership Skills checklist and leadership quotes to follow, post, and share with others that are interested in being effective leaders. Have fun working on each skill.

You may click on each leadership skill to review the complete article for those skills. The goal of great leaders is to continuously be better tomorrow than they were today.

1. Be Trustworthy

Trustworthy leaders create leaders that are better than they are. Staying true to your convictions means holding tough discussions, clarifying expectations, and letting those that choose not to contribute know they are no longer a match for the organization’s purpose and mission.

A leader can become more self-aware, be adaptable, believe in others, and communicate clearly, but without holding others accountable the leader quickly loses trust.

2. Ignite Passion

Passionate leaders spread passion to others through their love of life, doing new things, taking risks, being motivated, having a sense of urgency, and reinventing self. It is a long list, but I’ve narrowed these descriptions of passion down to four main leadership behaviors.

Passionate people are optimistic, have a great story, involve people, and have a simple, recharge strategy.

3. Walk Naked

Being vulnerable or “walking naked” allows leaders to reveal their real, authentic character. Great leaders understand that most team members need the opposite approach of our typical desire to jump in and fix problems. Team members need managers to involve them in the problem to connect and build trust.

A leader who doesn’t walk naked isn’t a leader, but a poser because we don’t know who they really are or if we can trust them.

4. Make Change Look Easy

Leaders who make change look easy, the movers and shakers, have both the intelligence quotient (IQ) and the emotional quotient (EQ) to successfully initiate and complete a needed change. The blend of IQ and EQ occurs when leaders explore their emotions, internal needs, and what will give them the courage to lead in areas that are unknown.

The skill to handle your personal reactions allows you to make change happen at a faster rate than ordinary leaders.

5. Take a Vacation

When great leaders take a vacation, their team members keep things humming without missing a beat. It is a known fact that the difference between an average-performing leader and an extraordinary leader is that great leaders build strong teams.

Great leaders know how to build top-performing teams that achieve profitable results while they comfortably take a vacation when needed – no sweat.

6. Motivate People

Great leaders know how to motivate people. They believe that people determine a company’s success or failure. It is not the size of the building, how cool the product is, or even the best equipment or process that determines success. What propels and sustains a successful organization is its diverse team of talented, motivated employees.

Great leaders continually invest in their people and understand motivational rewards for employees.

7. Have Ethics

An ethical leader is one that considers positive and negative views and the rights of everyone involved and ensures decisions are made in an ethical manner and members are held accountable. The ethical actions of a leader enhance his or her credibility and integrity, which causes followers to trust.

Employees, students, and children establish faith in their leader’s decision-making and the choices the leader makes by listening and watching what they do.

8. Balance Ego

Overusing your ego will only lead to counterproductive results. Great leaders continually work on balancing or adjusting their egos to the appropriate level. You do not need to be the know-it-all. Listen to what others have to say.

Put aside your ego by avoiding telling others what to do. Let others be heard and give them opportunities to provide input.

9. Be a Great Teacher

There’s a big difference between managing others to succeed—and teaching others to find success themselves. Great leaders find satisfaction not only in teaching others but also in mentoring them—in showing others how they can become more than they ever believed they could.

These types of leaders have a strong drive to invest in people, not for the return it will give them but for the rewards, it will bring to people personally.

10. Channel Dysfunctional Habits

Although dysfunctional behaviors are not the intent of great leaders, the overuse of habits and reactions they have used to succeed end up not being appropriate when working with others. When dysfunctional behaviors are overused, it creates a roadblock to openness and trust, which affects the results the leader needs to achieve.

Here’s the key – as long as leaders are willing to work on how they are perceived as well as develop “human relationships” they can smooth out their rough edges.

How Leaders Smooth Their Rough Edges:

  • Use power to serve others
  • Align vision with followers’ needs and aspirations
  • Encourage, consider, and learn from criticism
  • Stimulate followers to think
  • Communicate honestly and directly in a professional manner
  • Commit to doing whatever must be done to achieve the best results, no matter how difficult
  • Coach, develop, and support team members
  • Rely on internal moral standards and convictions
  • Look in the mirror and accept responsibility

Which of the Top 10 Leadership Skills Are You Good At?

If you have ideas about the top 10 leadership skills that might be helpful to readers, share them in the comments section below. Thanks!

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Dr. Mary Kay
Dr. Mary Kay
Dr. Mary Kay is a business leadership strategist, executive coach, trainer, author, and co-founder of the About Leaders community. She’s consulted with hundreds of companies and trained over 30,000 leaders. Her Ultimate Leader Masterclass helps managers become more confident, decisive leaders.
  • narain sharma says:

    Have been receiving great articles and leadership skills.
    Very much appreciated.

  • Richard Cerbo says:

    Leadership is looking at every single individual as equal, from a homeless man on the street, to a wealthy property owner investing to make even more. It has you see clearly in all situations.

  • Leaders don’t motivate people. Their job is to not de-motivate them. I think Deming may have said that. However, leaders have to create good jobs, interesting work and ensure that people are happy to come to work: the place needs to have a good people environment (Deming says ‘drive out fear’).

  • Jerry Dicken Klimmie says:

    Hello Dr. I’m a medical Laboratory Technician and will soon be a supervisor for my workmate who I have work with for the past 6yrs.pls help me with some leadership abilities to lead my friends in a good manner.THANK ,Jerry D.Klimmie, from Liberia.

  • Peoplenorth says:

    Great..! Very good article on the latest trending topics, thank you for keeping us updated. Thank you for sharing this article with us. Our aim is to equip our clients to manage their Talents better in order to meet growing challenges.

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