10 Characteristics of Effective Leaders

Lately I have been thinking a lot about leadership.  More specifically, why do some people thrive in a leadership role while others prefer to be self-employed and yet others choose a more collaborative environment. Has the concept of a leader changed now that we live in a world where fewer and fewer people grow up with the goal of climbing a corporate ladder?  Also, why do some people always rise to the occasion and what traits do those people share?

As you can tell, I have been in a thinking mood.

Regardless of your situation, at some point in life we all need to demonstrate the traits of a leader.  So what are the qualities that set effective leaders apart from others?  After doing a little research and pondering this for a while, here’s what I have come up with as the characteristics of an effective leader.  They apply to those who are leaders in any setting, whether in a work environment or at a PTA meeting:

  • Effective leaders trust themselves.  They let their instincts guide them.  They are the people who confidently choose their own path.  They define their own version of success. 
  • Effective leaders are dynamic. They are confident, humble and authentic. They have integrity and behave consistently.  They take responsibility for their actions and have empathy towards others.
  • Effective leaders think two steps ahead.  They do not make rash decisions.
  • Effective leaders keep on learning.  They do not assume that they know it all.  Rather, they insist on staying competitive in the marketplace.  They continue to read, learn and absorb information.  They constantly look for a take-away that will help them to improve.
  • Effective leaders are resilient. They change with the times and doing what is necessary to stay ahead in the game.  They handle adversity well and view change as a time for improvement. 
  • Effective leaders have a keen understanding their own strengths and weaknesses.  They have a realistic view of what tasks make them feel invigorated as well as what drains them.  They build support networks of people whose strengths can fill in for their weaknesses.
  • Effective leaders manage their time and resources well.  They set priorities and they know how to delegate. They work efficiently and effectively.
  • Effective leaders find solutions.  They can take emotion and ego out of the equation.  They are strong problem-solvers who excel at finding a course of action.
  • Effective leaders recognize other points of view.  They know the appropriate times to speak up or back down.  They can compromise.
  • Effective leaders motivate and inspire others.  They are empathetic and respectful. They genuinely want to see those around them succeed.

Do you agree with the list above?  Do you see yourself in any of these leadership traits? If so, which ones resonate the most?

What effectve leaders to differently


  1. I read recently most leaders also share a SELF-DEPRECATING Sense of humor.
    which entirely fits with your above too.

  2. This list is interesting to me because I’ve always wondered why I prefer collaboration vs. leadership. I’m a true overthinker and not a great decision maker because I’m overly mindful of other people’s opinions. That trait has shaped me from childhood, it’s not easy to shake off! When in leadership roles I can rise to the occasion but when it comes to decisions it’ll take me 10 minutes just to decide what to order for lunch. Thanks for a list of traits to strive toward if and when I decide to move into a leadership role in the future!

  3. I totally agree with the list above! the one that resonates most with me is that an effective leader keeps on learning… I love reading and learning new things. Now all that said, I don’t know that I am the best leader. There are times when I am really great at it and other times I’m not and I notice it more at work than anywhere. I suppose that it has to do with my tendency to doubt myself or be unsure of the decisions that I’ve made. Oh, and fear of failure.

  4. I was approached by two bloggers today that asked me for advice, since they are starting. I never thought as myself as a leader, since this field is also new to me as well, but your words have resonated in my mind and I will be digesting them for days! Loved your post! Very inspirational!

  5. Jessica,
    This is an excellent post. Thanks for your thoughtful commentary on what comprises true leadership.

  6. michelle says:

    May I share this with some local officials? I think too many take being in a leadership position for granted and on the other hand, those in leadership positions are put in truly difficult situations..Thoughtful list!
    I loved your list and pinned it for all to see!

  7. A lot of great food for thought, Jess. I enjoyed this! (And I stumbled it!)

  8. You know it’s funny because I have some qualities of leadership, but I prefer the backseat role. It’s just so much easier and less stressful!

  9. Brilliant as always my friend!!!

Speak Your Mind