7 min read

21 Qualities of a Good Leader: A Self-Assessment

21 Qualities of a Good Leader: A Self-Assessment

Do you know if you have the qualities of a good leader? In this article, you’ll find the 21 qualities of a good leader, a short definition of each, and a quick self-assessment to see which qualities you exhibit and which ones you need to develop.

21 Qualities of a Good Leader

  1. Accountability
  2. Agility
  3. Collaborative
  4. Communication
  5. Confidence
  6. Courageous
  7. Creativity
  8. Delegation
  9. Empathy
  10. Empowerment
  11. Honesty
  12. Humility
  13. Influence
  14. Growth Mindset
  15. Passion
  16. Problem-solving
  17. Resilience
  18. Respect
  19. Self-awareness
  20. Trust
  21. Vulnerability

21 Qualities of a Good Leader (2)


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1. Accountability

Taking ownership of outcomes and holding team members accountable for their work and actions is the hallmark of being an accountable leader. This quality can be witnessed when you and your team members make promises and follow them through, take responsibility for actions, own mistakes, and take initiative without being told.

Do you demonstrate accountability?

  • Do I consistently set clear and achievable expectations for my team members?
  • Do I get commitment from my team members when they accept accountability?
  • Do I own the outcomes of myself and my team, whether positive or negative?


2. Agility

Agility in leadership is the ability to be flexible, responsive, and proactive in facing challenges or opportunities. Through these qualities, agile leaders can steer their team, department, or organization through change, seize opportunities, and mitigate risks.

Do you demonstrate agility?

  • Are you open to new ideas and willing to consider alternative approaches
  • Can you provide examples of instances where you successfully adapted to unforeseen circumstances?
  • Do you actively support and facilitate efforts to adapt and respond to evolving challenges?


3. Collaborative 

Being collaborative is the ability to work closely and effectively with others. It means fostering a cooperative environment where everyone comes together to achieve a common objective. It's a quality of a good leader because collaboration harnesses diverse talents and perspectives, resulting in optimal solutions, improved decision-making, and reduced redundancies.


Do you demonstrate collaboration?

  • Do you actively seek out input from team members before making a decision?
  • Can you think of instances where you encouraged cross-functional collaboration?
  • Do you facilitate collaborative discussions, brainstorming sessions, or cross-functional meetings to encourage knowledge sharing? 


4. Communication 

From team alignment, clear focus, and motivation to translating complex ideas into an understandable message and resolving conflict, strong communication skills allow a leader to inspire, guide, and lead their team toward success.


Do you demonstrate strong communication skills?

  • Do you proactively communicate with your team to provide updates, share information, and encourage open dialogue?
  • Can you think of a recent challenging conversation where you effectively conveyed your message and ensured all parties involved understood and aligned with the desired outcome?


5. Confidence

Confidence is a vital quality of a good leader because it sets the tone for the entire team. A confident leader inspires trust, fosters credibility, and provides reassurance that they have the ability to navigate challenges and achieve objectives.


Do you demonstrate confidence?

  • Do you regularly seek out opportunities to take on challenging projects or lead initiatives that push you out of your comfort zone?
  • Do you feel comfortable addressing your team in high-stakes situations?
  • When faced with skepticism or resistance from your team or stakeholders, did you confidently communicate your vision or ideas and persuade others to rally behind you?


6. Courageous 

Leadership is riddled with the challenges of navigating uncharted situations, facing uncertainty, and taking risks without complete information. A courageous leader doesn't hide from adversity, whether addressing challenges, leading through periods of change, or standing up for what they believe is right, even when faced with opposition.


Do you demonstrate courage?

  • Have you made tough decisions that involve significant risk or backlash?
  • Do you challenge the status quo or advocate for a change you believe is necessary, even in the face of resistance or opposition?
  • Have you ever, as a leader, admitted a mistake, taken responsibility for it, and implemented corrective measures to rectify the situation?


7. Creativity

Today, leaders frequently encounter complex challenges that require a nuanced approach. Good leaders who demonstrate the quality of creativity excel at problem-solving, finding unconventional solutions and paths to success, and promoting an environment that fosters experimentation and innovation.


Do you demonstrate creativity?

  • Do you encourage your team to generate creative solutions to challenges?
  • Do you actively seek out diverse perspectives and ideas from your team members or colleagues to inspire creative problem-solving and decision-making?
  • Can you identify any innovative strategies or approaches you initiated that resulted in significant positive outcomes or breakthroughs for your team or organization?


8. Delegation 

Delegation is a fundamental quality of a good leader because it promotes efficiency by freeing up the leader to focus on the work only they can do. In addition, it empowers team members to grow, develop their skills, and contribute as they receive tasks to complete on their own.


Do you delegate?

  • When faced with a particularly challenging or high-stakes project, do you feel comfortable entrusting key aspects of it to your team members?
  • Do you assess your team member's strengths, skills, and interests to match tasks and responsibilities with their capabilities?
  • Do you empower your team members to handle their responsibilities without your intervention?


9. Empathy 

Empathy is the foundation for building relationships at work, effective communication, and compassionate decision-making. Leaders who demonstrate the leadership quality of empathy show a genuine understanding of their team members' thoughts, feelings, and needs that, in turn, build stronger, trusting bonds. 


Do you demonstrate empathy?

  • Do you actively listen to your team members' concerns, feelings, and perspectives without interrupting or rushing to provide solutions?
  • Have you recently encountered a situation where you were accommodating a team member's personal or professional needs while still maintaining team goals and productivity?
  • Do you consider the potential impact of your choices on the emotional well-being and morale of your team members?


10. Empowerment  

In partnership with delegation and accountability, empowerment is another quality of a good leader. You can see a leader use empowerment when they grant team members the autonomy, authority, and confidence to make decisions and take ownership of their work.


Do you empower your people?

  • Do you actively encourage and support team members to take on additional responsibilities or make decisions independently?
  • Do you feel that you trust your team members to handle their responsibilities effectively?
  • Do you create an environment where team members can voice their opinions and take initiative?


11. Honesty

When a leader consistently communicates truthfully and transparently, it creates conditions where team members feel secure and confident in their leader's words and actions. This quality of a good leader opens the door for team members to share their thoughts, concerns, and ideas freely and sets a solid ethical example for others to follow.


Do you demonstrate honesty?

  • When delivering difficult or potentially unpopular news to your team, is your message transparent and empathetic?
  • Can you point to a situation where you were transparent about a challenge or setback to your team?
  • When faced with a difficult and consequential decision, do you prioritize giving the rationale behind the decision, even when you know it will be unpopular?


12. Humility 

A humble leader recognizes their limitations and imperfections, which not only makes them relatable but also encourages team members to express their ideas and perspectives without fear of judgment.


Do you demonstrate humility?

  • Do you welcome a team member offering a different perspective or challenging your ideas or decisions during a team meeting?
  • Do you recognize your team members for their contributions and successes?
  • Do you acknowledge your limitations or when you make a mistake with your team?


13. Influence

Leadership is fundamentally about guiding a team to achieve objectives and goals, and so being a good leader requires the ability to persuade and inspire others to follow a chosen path. Influential leaders have the capacity to connect with their team members on both intellectual and emotional levels, gaining their buy-in, trust, and respect in the process.


Do you demonstrate influence?

  • Do those around you embrace your new ideas, change, and vision?
  • Do you cultivate and leverage relationships to gain support for your initiatives?
  • Does your team willingly follow your guidance and direction?


14. Growth Mindset

A growth mindset is an essential quality of a good leader because it underpins a leader's ability to adapt, learn, and evolve. Leaders with a growth mindset view challenges and setbacks as opportunities for learning and improvement, fostering resilience and continuous development.


Do you have a growth mindset?

  • Do you actively seek out opportunities for personal and professional growth?
  • Do you share your setbacks and failures with others to gain insights and ways to improve?
  • Do you encourage your team members to try new approaches and learn from their experiences?


15. Passion

Passionate leaders are deeply committed to their mission, values, and goals, which drives their determination and resilience to ensure they become a reality. This contagious enthusiasm makes team members join in, encouraging them to invest their energy in achieving the shared vision.


Do you demonstrate passion?

  • Do you wake up each day excited about the work you do and the goals you're striving to achieve as a leader?
  • Does your enthusiasm carry over to the people on your team?
  • Does your passion for the mission or team’s success inspire you to go above and beyond?


16. Problem-Solving

Every day, leaders encounter different big and small situations that require the ability to analyze problems, identify solutions, and make informed decisions. A good leader tackles issues head-on and encourages their team to take initiative and proactively solve problems as they arise.


Do you demonstrate problem-solving?

  • When faced with a recent issue, did you identify effective solutions and make informed decisions?
  • Do you actively seek input and diverse perspectives from others to generate solutions?


17. Resilience

All leaders face times when they must navigate turbulent conditions, face unexpected obstacles, and deal with setbacks. However, what sets good leaders apart from the rest is demonstrating resilience during challenging times. They can withstand adversity, bounce back from challenges, lead by example, and remain composed and steadfast in difficult situations.


Do you demonstrate resilience?

  • Do you bounce back after facing a significant setback?
  • Do you maintain your composure in difficult situations?
  • Do you focus on finding solutions rather than dwelling on problems?


18. Respect

Respect is the foundation of healthy relationships, trust, and effective teamwork, making it an essential quality of a good leader. You can see leaders demonstrating respect in how they treat others with fairness, empathy, and dignity, regardless of their position or background.


Do you demonstrate respect?

  • Do you actively listen to your team members, value their input, and try to incorporate their ideas and perspectives into decision-making processes?
  • When providing feedback or addressing concerns, do you maintain a constructive and empathetic tone, ensuring that your communication is respectful and considerate of the other person's feelings and dignity?


19. Self-Awareness

When leaders possess self-awareness, they are in tune with their strengths, weaknesses, values, and emotions. They understand how their behavior and decisions impact others and are more likely to exhibit the leadership qualities of empathy, humility, and vulnerability as well.


Do you demonstrate self-awareness?

  • Do you understand your own strengths and weaknesses as a leader?
  • Do you leverage your strengths and actively address your weaknesses?
  • When receiving feedback or criticism from others, do you approach it with an open mind and a willingness to reflect?


20. Trust

When trust is present, team members feel secure in their leader's decisions and actions, are more likely to build solid working relationships, and inspire their team's loyalty, confidence, and commitment, making trust an admirable leadership quality. In addition, trust fosters transparency, as team members are more likely to share their thoughts, concerns, and ideas when they believe their leader will act with integrity and fairness.


Do you demonstrate trust?

  • Do you believe your team members perceive you as someone who consistently acts with honesty, integrity, and fairness?
  • Do you follow through on your commitments, maintain confidentiality, and honor your promises to team members?


21. Vulnerability

Vulnerability is an increasingly recognized quality of a good leader because it humanizes leadership and fosters authentic connections. In a world that often celebrates invulnerability and strength, a leader who openly acknowledges their vulnerabilities, fears, and mistakes creates an environment where team members feel safe to do the same.


Do you demonstrate vulnerability?

  • Do you openly acknowledge your own mistakes and limitations?
  • When coaching team members, do you share your experiences, challenges, and setbacks?
  • Do you believe your team members perceive you as an approachable and authentic leader?


How Many Qualities of a Good Leader Do You Demonstrate?

For each section, if you answered yes to all of the questions, you most likely demonstrated the quality of a good leader. However, to ensure you continue to develop the skills and abilities to be a good leader, honing your leadership skills through a leadership training program is always an excellent investment in yourself and your career.

Join the Free 30-Day Leadership Challenge

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