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Strong, effective leaders are essential in every field, but particularly in the areas of business and education. Whether it’s leading young people or adults, it’s necessary for leaders to have certain qualities to be successful. Strong leadership upholds ethical standards  and honesty. It lets its moral compass guide and make principled decisions for the greater good especially when facing a leadership challenge.  The following are eight essential qualities of an effective leader and it’s no surprise that great leaders have all these in common.

Why Great Leadership is Needed in Business and Education

Organizational leadership can make or break an organization's success. An effective one contributes to employee and staff development. They feel their growth is prioritized, and they are more likely to stay committed to the organization and give their best efforts. It also holds the team together and steers them to the right direction, promoting collaboration that leads to higher levels of productivity.

1. Optimism

Optimism is one of the 8 qualities of a good leader. A positive attitude is a leadership trait that can set the tone and motivate individuals to be more productive. People who are optimistic about not only themselves and what they’re doing, but about other people, are much more likely to inspire others to be, and do their best. An inspiring leader raises employee engagement resulting in greater likelihood of achieving organizational goals.

2. Ability to Make Difficult Decisions

The ability to make difficult decisions based on the facts and circumstances of each specific situation is a crucial quality of a great leader and effective leadership. The qualities of a good leader will rely on both reason and intuition. True leaders must also know when to make decisions solely on their own, and when they can, and should, be based on the input of others when working towards a common goal. Great leadership employs strategic thinking. They are resilient leaders who can set clear goals but also adapt to change and maintain a positive attitude even in the face of adversity.

3. Ability to Delegate

A strong, confident and effective leader is not afraid to let others handle the workload and can ultimately give credit where credit is due. Strong leaders also get to know each team member and the people they’re working with well enough to decide who is best suited for the delegation of certain tasks. A person who understands this leadership style is typically a better leader.

4. Must be Approachable

In order to keep the channels of communication open, a true leader or good manager must be approachable at all times. This is an essential leadership quality. You'll know that you have the qualities of a good leader when peers and subordinates feel comfortable bringing both good and bad news to you as the person in charge.

5. Integrity

Neither adults nor children are going to follow an individual that they feel they can’t trust. In a culture where people’s ethical standards seem to be rapidly deteriorating, a successful leader that embodies integrity will stand out in the crowd and naturally draw in followers because of their untainted reputation and good leadership quality. A strong leader has unwavering integrity even when it is tested.

6. Humility

Humble leaders are good leaders who know that even though they assume the leadership position and are in charge, the contributions of others are very important. It’s also necessary for great leaders to understand that admitting mistakes is not a sign of weakness, but of strength, self-awareness, and high emotional intelligence.

7. Transparency

People feel more comfortable when they know exactly what is expected of them and how those in charge expect them to accomplish those goals. In practical terms, this leadership style often entails good communication skills as it calls for communicating face to face instead of by email and delivering important information in a timely manner.

8. Authenticity

Effective leaders will not only be transparent regarding expectations, but about who they are as individuals when they take on a leadership role. Authentic and successful leaders direct with a consistency that is based on their true character, not a contrived style. Eventually, others will see through a facade.

How to Improve and Practice your Leadership Qualities

  • Start with your own small actions - Leaders lead by example. Demonstrating the qualities of a good behavior through your own behavior and decisions has an effect on people around you. You can start by showing dedication to work, keeping a positive attitude, and treating others with respect.
  • Build a support network - Mentors and partners have important roles in this. Mentors challenge your perspectives and actions at work. They encourage you to think differently. Partners help you keep focused and committed to your goals.
  • Build bridges - Leaders are good at building relationships. Start small and broaden your network as you go along. Before you know it, you will find yourself with a wide circle of meaningful relationships.
  • Study leadership development - Deepen your knowledge by applying for a leadership course. Educational training is readily available for you to improve your leadership traits.

While some individuals are born with leadership traits, nearly everyone can learn and build upon their leadership potential and leadership qualities, both personally and in the workplace. Striving to include these eight characteristics of effective leadership can improve leadership skills and increase effectiveness.

Are you interested in studying leadership? Alliant International University offers a PhD in Leadership program and a doctorate in Educational Leadership and Management that will prepare you to take the reins in public, private, and non-profit sectors. For more information, contact Alliant today

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