5 qualities any great leader should have

There are a lot of different leadership styles, all of which work in their own way. Nevertheless, all of these different styles have a few qualities in common. Here you can read about 5 of these central qualities that make you go from a good to a great leader.


  1. Honesty.

All good teams start with good communication. And all good communication starts with honesty. As long as you’re honest with your team and they are with you, people will understand where you’re coming from even when a lesser loved decision has to be taken. Honesty will earn you people’s trust.

  1. Empathy.

Empathy isn’t just about being nice to someone or listening. Empathy enables you to thoroughly understand someone. It helps you to stand in someone else’s shoes and see their why– their motivation and goals. Empathy is an important leadership quality, because it enables strong human connections, eases communication and earns respect.

  1. Accountability.

Imagine that your boss is late to every meeting and always finishes his or her deadlines a few hours late. Would you still feel empowered enough to continue to be on time yourself? Or would you start slacking more and more too?

A great leader should set a great example. If you want everyone to be on time, or have their tasks finished before the deadline, you should also be held accountable for these same measures yourself.

  1. Humility.

A great leader does not picture him- or herself on a golden throne, watching everyone around them do all the hard work. A great leader works just as hard, understands what everyone else is doing and knows where help is needed. There are still some differences: if you’re ‘the leader’, you usually carry more responsibility and need to take final decisions. But this shouldn’t make you feel elevated in any way. You should always remember that everyone in your team is just as valuable and needed.

  1. Positivity.

If you show up at work and everyone around you looks grumpy and just slouches around, would you feel empowered? I don’t think so. Creating a good vibe around you isn’t always that easy, especially when you don’t have your best day yourself. But remember that happiness is infectious! Even if you fake a smile at first, eventually it will turn into a genuine one. So, if you notice your team is feeling down, don’t let yourself get dragged along with it. Turn it around! A second quality that comes with positivity, is always thinking in solutions instead of problems, which enables you and your team to face challenges more easily.

Remember that these 5 leadership qualities are not the only ones that count and that these are already hard to perfect! However, if you are just reminded of these 5 points from time to time, and strive to excel in them, your ability to lead will never stop improving!

This post was written by AIESEC in the Netherlands. We offer international voluntary projects and professional internships with the aim of developing leadership in youth. 

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