7 Habits of Successful Leaders

Leadership is a hot topic that stirs much debate. Are individuals born with characteristics that enable them to be great leaders? Or, are these traits learned over time?

Although we may never know the answer to these questions, it’s true that leadership traits, whether engraved in our DNA or learned in life, must be cultivated over time in order to create successful leadership.

So, if you aspire to be a leader in your department, company, or any other organization, check out the seven habits below that every great leader should have. 

1. Attentiveness. Great leaders listen to their team. Often, people in a position of power have a hard time listening to the very people they’re trying to lead, and this can have a very negative impact on anything they’re trying to accomplish. So, take time to truly listen to what everyone on your team has to say before you start talking. You will not only see happy, productive individuals, but you’ll create a very loyal team that will follow you anywhere.

2. Humility. Nobody likes to follow someone who acts like they know everything. People make mistakes, so it’s important for leaders to admit when they’re wrong. Successful leaders value and trust the input of the people around them. Their humility is a mark of greatness that inspires the confidence and loyalty of others. So, recognize employees when they’re observant and commend their due diligence when appropriate.

3. Inspirational. People enjoy working with and for individuals who are passionate about their work and can inspire others to do their best. When leading a group of individuals, be enthusiastic about your dreams and vision and the tasks you need to do to accomplish them. Then, see how your upbeat attitude spreads to the people on your team.

4. Adaptability. Great leaders have the ability to adapt to change, no matter how drastic. So, be the example by embracing new policies and procedures. Discuss how the change will impact each employee. Focus on the positive impacts of change for everyone involved, like how you can start fresh and recreate yourself.

5. Team Player. Most individuals will follow a leader they can trust, but to build confidence in ones ability, everyone must feel that they’re in it together as a team. Great leaders use the same work ethic they expect of their team and model the behavior of a valued employee. So, show your employees that you aren’t above any of the work you’re asking of them by helping them from time to time on their projects.

6. Empathy. Sometimes, employees just want someone to feel understood. Team members need leaders to empathize with them in a time of need. It’s important to not only be their leader, but to also show that you care for their personal well-being.

7. Empowering. Leaders are only as great as their weakest employee, so make sure that you enable others around you to lead up and feel empowered with their projects. Take the time to mentor and equip each employee to become the expert on their own tasks and ideas.

Whether leadership is born or bred, everyone can build these habits of an effective leader. Regardless of your title, you can inspire those you work with by modeling the habits great leaders possess.

Do you have a great leader who has inspired you? Or, do you know a leader who lacks in one of these areas? Tell us your stories in the comments section below.


  1. Louise Metcalf

    Thank you for this terrific article. I totally agree with your take on 7 key habits of successful leaders.
    The biggest issue is humility. My research indicates that this is a difficult behaviour for leaders to exhibit as they are more often required to be, and act, as if they are right. Thus most leaders choose ego over humility. I find the best way to tackle this issue to teach leaders to ‘notice’ when they are choosing ego over clear thinking and humility.
    One of my latest articles gives clear how-to’s on this if you’re interested: http://paxleaderlabs.org/blogazine/?p=52
    We coach leaders through this issue in our regular coaching programs too, the results have been very encouraging!

  2. Ron

    Great article on leadrership! Everyone on the career ladder needs to know and understand the qualities of leadership; so that, they can feel comfortable in following and developing their own leadership abilities. Well done!!

  3. Connie Bailey

    Great article on leadrership! I have a great manager that understands the qualities of leadership. She is rated very highly on all of the 7 key habits of a successful leader. Hopefully one day I will have the same values as a successful leader by observing her. She has helped me to view leadship in a different manner. With respect, always inspiring others to do their best. Great job Jennie!

  4. Cindy Gouweloos

    This is a great article to share with our leaders. Can anyone provide a link to who wrote it??

  5. Pingback: Mentor up: How to pick the right mentor | WOTV4women.com

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