Seven essential qualities of a good leader



Good leaders are responsible for making decisions, prioritizing, setting and communicating goals, strategizing, delegating, and networking. They should believe in an attainable vision and focus on self-awareness to enhance emotional intelligence and fuel personal development. But what are the qualities of a good leader? Let's look at each one at a time!

Believing in an attainable vision

Leadership is more than just being confident in a managerial suit. To succeed in this position, you do need a vision, an attainable one! People will not follow a leader who does not know where they are going or what they wish to achieve. But what exactly makes a leader visionary? In general, visionary leaders see beyond the current situation. Leaders with vision are often creative and innovative, constantly looking for new ways to improve things. And most importantly, they can communicate their vision in a way that others can understand.

Banner pointing to a whitepaper download for the eBook "Improve business performance with Sparrks coaching."

Making decisions and prioritizing

Leaders are responsible for making decisions that will lead to the effectiveness of their organization. To be an effective leader, you must be able to make decisions and prioritize. Making decisions is not easy, but it is crucial for effective leadership. When you face a decision, you must weigh the pros and cons of each option and make the best decision for your team. Prioritizing goes hand-in-hand with decision-making. You must be able to prioritize tasks to ensure you generate the highest-value outcomes first.

Setting and communicating goals

A lack of clear goals means a lack of leadership. Setting goals and communicating them across the organization reveals leadership vision and provides a shared sense of purpose. Many leaders use the so-called SMART formula to set goals and establish measurements to assess their achievement. SMART (the acronym meaning specific, measurable, attractive, realistic, and time-bound) is not supposed to be objective but rather practical.

An example of a goal using the SMART technique would be as follows: Get interviewed (specific); at least once per month (measurable), preferably by online business publications (attractive); achievable with assistance from my PR colleague (realistic) starting from February 1st and making sure the first interview gets published within February (time-bound).

To build strong relationships with their team members, leaders must also be open to hearing feedback and suggestions. By encouraging two-way communication, a leader shows that they value the input of others and are willing to work together towards a common goal.


In today's business world, agility is a competitive advantage. Leaders who strategize effectively can adapt and pivot as needed, which can be the difference between success and failure. Implementing the right strategies shows that you have foresight and can anticipate problems before they arise. Strategizing allows you to take preventive action and avoid potential disasters. So, aspiring leaders should start by honing their strategizing skills. It will also benefit those who look up to them.

Delegating effectively

Aufgaben zu delegieren ist ein wesentlicher Bestandteil erfolgreicher Führung. Wenn Sie Aufgaben delegieren, gewinnen Sie Zeit und Mühe, um sich auf die strategisch wichtigsten Aspekte des Unternehmens zu konzentrieren. Als Führungskraft kann das Delegieren von Aufgaben dazu beitragen, Teammitglieder zu motivieren und Vertrauen aufzubauen. Außerdem können Sie so neue Fähigkeiten entwickeln und Ihre Ziele zeitnah erreichen. Effektives Delegieren beginnt damit, dass man die Stärken und Schwächen der Mitarbeiter kennt. Dann kann man ihnen Aufgaben zuweisen, die ihren Fähigkeiten am besten entsprechen. Auf diese Weise wird sichergestellt, dass die zugewiesenen Aufgaben mit der größtmöglichen Qualität erledigt werden. Letztlich trägt eine sorgfältige Delegation dazu bei, dass Projekte fristgerecht und mit qualitativ hochwertigen Ergebnissen abgeschlossen werden. Gleichzeitig sorgt sie dafür, die Fähigkeiten der Mitarbeiter zu entwickeln und die Kreativität der Teams zu fördern.


Leaders earn exclusive support, feedback, resources, information, and insights by building and stimulating a diverse network of personal contacts. These outcomes allow managers to tackle current and unforeseen challenges. According to Ibarra & Hunter (2012), networking is particularly crucial for individuals just moving into a leadership position. That movement creates new challenges related to strategy-making rather than the technical support that they relied upon before. As such, leaders thriving for excellence should engage consistently in networking. One of the effective ways to do so is by following a "three-pronged" networking approach that combines all three distinct categories of networking (operational, personal, and strategic).

Being self-aware

Leaders who are self-aware and actively work on enhancing this inward quality are more open to feedback (and even change), adaptive, and resilient. The better you understand yourself, your strengths, and your weaknesses, the more capable you can be as a leader. Without an aim on personal development pursuit of overall organizational development will fall short. That is why successful leaders focus on their emotional intelligence, practice active listening, and communicate effectively. Moreover, self-awareness allows for consistency in strategic efforts, a key outcome for organizations being in the market for the long haul.


Many qualities make up an effective leader. Good leaders can make decisions, set goals, and prioritize to reach their objectives. They also possess the skills to strategize, delegate, and network with others. Ultimately, good leaders should believe in an attainable vision and focus on self-awareness to enhance emotional intelligence and fuel personal development. Developing these skills will help create a more effective leadership style and lead to healthier and more successful organizations.

Banner pointing to a whitepaper download for the eBook "Improve business performance with Sparrks coaching."

FAQ: Qualities of a good leader

In one sentence, what makes a good leader?

“It isn’t about being “nice” or “understanding” - it’s about tapping into individual motivations in the interest of furthering an organization-wide goal." - by W. C. Prentice (as featured on Harvard Business Review).

Regardless of personal qualities, what mindset should an effective leader have?

According to a study first published in the Journal of Entrepreneurship on January 30, 2020, an effective leader generally falls into one of the following three mindsets: a people-oriented mindset, a purpose-oriented mindset, and a learning-oriented mindset.

What are the best ways to improve leadership skills?

Picking a solution that improves your leadership skills depends on what leadership qualities you want to develop. The good news is that leadership skills are learnable. The trick is that, often, managers think they need to enhance a skill when, in reality, they should focus on improving different skills. That's why solutions such as business coaching work best. They identify areas of improvement at the start making the rest of the learning journey easier.