Top 10 Must-Have Qualities of a Good Leader

By Shawn Lim

Updated Over a Week Ago

Minute Read

Whether you are running your own business, having a team of hundreds of members, or being a father of two, being a good leader requires certain qualities. You can’t force people to follow you because you are a leader or in a superior position. True leadership comes from within.

The good news is that leadership skills are not ingrained and are learnable. This means if you are not a good leader at this moment, don’t worry; you can learn how to become one. No one was born a champion; it was learned and earned.

You can learn how to become a good leader by developing these top 10 qualities below…

1. Vision

Being a good leader requires you to have a vision. You can’t become a leader without vision because that’s what most people do.

Let me ask you, do you want to work in a famous company like Salesforce or Google, or do you prefer to work in a nobody’s company? Most people prefer to work at Google; why? Well, because Google is a company with a vision.

Think about Tesla and SpaceX. Young and passionate engineers want to work in Tesla and SpaceX because they can serve a grander purpose than working in a small firm without a vision.

So, if you want to be a good leader, you need to know your vision. You have to find out what you want to accomplish in the future and where your team or business is heading so that you can guide your team there.

2. Purpose

Vision is the first quality that introduces your team members to you or your company, and purpose is the second quality that makes them want to follow you. How do you change someone from being a stranger to a loyal follower? Well, you incorporate what you do with a strong purpose.

Apple has become one of the most innovative companies globally, not because they are in the technology industry. In fact, there are plenty of companies that make mobile phones, but Apple stands out because they have a strong purpose for each of the mobile devices they make.

Think about the iPhone for a moment. Steve Jobs had the purpose of making products with simplistic designs that revolutionized the complicated user interface. This was how the iPhone was created, without any button on its screen.

And then the removal of the headphone jack in the later years was another move for the company to keep its core design purpose of keeping things simple.

What is your purpose in being a leader? Do you want to inspire people? What problems do you want to help your team members solve? Knowing and communicating your purpose are important. Because when you convey a strong purpose throughout your company, you start to build a group of following loyal fans.

3. Empathy

The only way to grow better relationships and build rapport with your employees and team members is through empathy. The only reason people trust you is that you show your care toward them.

There is no way people will want to follow and work for someone who doesn’t care about them. In today’s world, where everyone can connect through instant messaging and email, many leaders have forgotten about the importance of empathy.

Sometimes, to build rapport with your team, a quick question like, “Hey, how was your day”, helps a lot. Instead of relying on technology for messaging, face-to-face communication is still the best method for growing a relationship and building trust.

Always remember this, care for others, and others will care for you and your vision.

4. Transparency

To be a great leader, you need to be transparent and develop an open-minded work culture in the office. Just like what the co-founder and CEO of InnoGames said…

“Great leaders know that one of the quickest ways to get employee feedback and earn the trust of your employees is by being transparent. I’m a firm believer in open information sharing, and as a CEO, you must lead by example. It lets your staff find applicable solutions, and it builds solid relationships that increase the overall motivation.”

You don’t want to build a business or company based on doubt. Instead, you want to incorporate trust into the culture. And one straightforward way to grow trust among your team members is through being transparent.

5. Self-confidence

Nobody will want to join or follow a leader that has no self-confidence in himself. Ask yourself, if your boss is someone who always doubts himself and doesn’t have the courage to make the call, do you still want to follow him, work for him, and build his business for him?

You know the answer. To be a good leader, the quality of self-confidence is important—everything you do shows through your actions. And when you lack confidence, your team members and employees can sense that.

On the contrary, when you are confident, people tend to believe in you. Even if you made the wrong decision, it would be alright. As long as you apologize for your mistakes and learn from the experience, you and your team will grow stronger.

6. Accountability

Another quality of a good leader is accountability. You don’t want to be someone who knows how to talk but doesn’t walk your talk. If you want people to trust you and believe in you, you need to walk the walk.

What you say and what you do must be congruent. Don’t say that you want to build a successful company, but your action shows otherwise. It is not going to work. This is why you need to have accountability in yourself and in what you do.

When you say that transparency is important, prove it. Don’t just say it and then keep everything secret and let the rumors fly all over your company.

7. Trust and Empowerment

This is common sense. If you want people to trust you, you must first have your trust in them. Being a great leader, one of the key factors is to believe in your team member. You must be able to see and believe that your team can perform better than you expected.

There is no point in choosing to doubt your team member. If you want to doubt your partner, why choose him or her as your partner in the first place right?

In Chinese, there is a proverb that says, “If you use someone, trust him. If you don’t trust him, then don’t use him.” In other words, trust everyone you hire.

8. Delegation

One of the key functions of a leader is to delegate and trust your members. However, some people choose to doubt and be skeptical about their employees, and they don’t fully delegate to their employees.

As a result, the employees or team members can feel micro-managed and are not fully given responsibility for their work. This will, in turn, create distrust between the leader and the member.

Again, it is about the issue of trust. If you want to grow big, you can’t do it all by yourself. The only way is through full delegation and belief in your team.

9. Resilient

There is no way someone can become a great leader if he or she doesn’t have the quality of being resilient. Champions become champions because of their characters refusing to quit and their ability to bounce back quickly.

Great leaders don’t take a year off just because they lost a sale for their company. They recover and bounce back quickly. More importantly, a good leader is someone who doesn’t give up on their vision and purpose. They will work harder than most people to reach their goals.

Think about it, do you want to follow a leader who always flip-flops about things and who quits easily? The answer is clear.

10. Passion

Last but not least. Being a leader requires passion. First, you cannot succeed without passion. If you study all the extraordinary people like Mark Cuban, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Kobe Bryant, etc., they all are passionate about what they do.

It is the passion that makes you stand out among the crowd. And it is the passion that gives you the motivation and inspiration to continue to move forward, outwork your competition, and impress people to want to join you.

Without passion, a leader will become an ordinary person who does everything the same as everyone else. It is the passion that separates the extraordinary from the ordinary.


If you want to become a great leader, you can’t rely on motivation alone. It is about having the internal characteristics and the values that you convey that spark people’s interest in you. This is why these ten qualities are important to transform you into a true leader.

Do you enjoy reading this article? And do you find any quality of a good leader that needs to be included?

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Shawn Lim
Shawn Lim
Want to discover the secrets to unleashing your potential and live a great and successful life? Follow Shawn Lim on his blog, . You can also download his guidebook, Reach Your Goals, and make your dreams a reality.
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