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Personality Traits of an Effective Leader

Arvid Buit | 13 August 2021

What makes an effective leader? This question will yield different answers depending on who you ask. This is why it is important to identify the best leadership personality traits that make an individual effective for this position. Many people believe that people are born leaders, but these traits can be developed, strengthened, and adopted with consistent practice and effort.
They say ‘it’s lonely at the top.’

Benefits of Leadership Personality Traits

Leadership traits refer to the qualities that an individual possesses that make them effective in assuming leadership positions. It’s no secret that being a leader has its own challenges, having these traits will better equip a person to face those challenges.   These traits also enable an individual to guide an organization and their subordinates towards a common goal. But aside from achieving their overall goal, they interact with employees in a way that boosts performance and success. Leaders don’t achieve success relying solely on their individual capacity, but rather by inspiring and motivating the members of the organization to deliver their best performance.  

Personality Traits of the Best Leaders

  As mentioned earlier, leadership traits are not something you are naturally gifted with (although some are). It is like any other skill that you possess; it can be developed and strengthened over time.   Below are some of the best leadership personality traits that make the most effective leaders.  

Effective Communicator

  The best and most effective leaders are good at communicating. This is vital for ensuring your subordinates are successful at managing their own tasks and responsibilities.   By maintaining good communication lines, a successful leader can convey a message clearly and concisely. Most of the conflict in an organization happens as a result of miscommunication. An effective leader is able to successfully communicate on different levels and achieve the desired result.  


  Another essential trait of an effective leader is to be self-motivated. In fact, this can be the distinguishing feature between a leader and a highly successful leader.   By being self-motivated, leaders do not rely on external forces to ignite their passion to get things done. Every single day is dedicated to achieving their goals. They do not wait for someone else to push them; they push themselves continuously to keep going, despite any setbacks they might face.  


  Confidence is another essential trait possessed by effective leaders. CEOs and executive leaders are able to speak in front of people with confidence. They handle themselves with a professional flair that inspires subordinates to obey and hold them in high regard.   For most effective leaders, this is something that they possess with little to no effort. It isn’t a façade that they project. The confidence that others see is an extension of that inner confidence, a belief in what they can do and the skills they possess. This level of self-confidence is vital to their ability to persuade others, gain respect of fellow leaders, make tough decisions, and to lead with authority.  


  The most successful leaders emanate a positive vibe and energy to those around them. Since they are motivated and confident, they are overflowing with good vibes. Having a positive mindset is crucial to a successful leader. It gives them a constant source of ideas and inspiration to work towards their goal or that of the organization.   Having a sense of optimism is also beneficial to subordinates because it is projected onto them and raises productivity.  


  A good leader is someone who can make decisions that take into account the impact they have on others. Unlike a narcissistic leader who only thinks about himself, an effective leader must show empathy.   It is essential to understand and respond to the experiences and emotional needs of subordinates. Before making decisions, a successful leader needs to think about what that decision will do for all the people who would be affected by the decision. Empathy is also crucial in building strong connections within the people in your team. When there is a strong connection, everyone is able to contribute to the team’s success.  


  Accountability and responsibility should always go together. An effective leader must possess both.   As mentioned above, any decision that a leader makes will impact every member of the organization. A leader must be held accountable for every decision they make ─ and the consequences. They must be able to stand by their decisions, especially when things do not go as expected.   Accountability in a leader is a crucial first step to finding solutions when problems arise. A leader must step up to the plate and take on the responsibility of owning their mistakes so that the necessary course of action can be taken to remedy the situation.   Alternatively, sweeping mistakes under the rug means leaders will deprive themselves of the opportunity to learn from mistakes.  


  Effective leaders can handle multiple tasks at any given time. Focus is what separates good leaders from great ones.   Distractions can come from everywhere. The ability to maintain a laser-focused attention on your goal is what will define success. While distractions might exist, a good leader needs to stay committed to the tasks until they’re done.   This particular trait can be passed on from a leader to other members of the team. The leader will help the team focus on the end goal and not be sidetracked by any other things that do not contribute towards that goal. This is one of the best ways that leaders can keep the team productive and meet work deadlines.  

Desire to Learn

An effective leader is someone who acknowledges that they have lots more to learn. Therefore, they are open to new information and ideas that will help them become better.   Unlike narcissistic leaders who refuse criticism and assume a know-it-all persona, the best leaders should make a concerted effort to update their skills and knowledge. The continued commitment to learn will make them an even better leader.  

The Bottom Line

  They say ‘it’s lonely at the top.’ There are plenty of inherent challenges that come with being a leader. Developing these leadership personality traits is vital in order to lead with confidence. Pick out the traits that you lack and work on them. It takes time and effort, but it is crucial if you want to become a successful and effective leader.