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10 Traits That Make a Strong Leader

A strong leader is someone who is respected and trusted. They may be relied upon for constructive criticism, as ultimately a leader is someone who considers others’ true potential. Whether it’s a parent, teacher, coach, or manager, the quality that makes them special is their ability to lead—by example, through action, and with integrity.

As you advance in your career, you may find yourself striving to cultivate this quality in yourself. After all, being a good leader could help you advance in your field and take on management roles. If you want to be a successful leader and support your team like never before, this blog post can help.

To that end, here are ten strong leadership traits and how you can develop them as you grow as a leader. 

What Do Good Leaders Have In Common?

There are countless leaders you can point to as examples of someone you’d like to emulate with your leadership style. If you look more closely, you’ll notice that, despite their differences, these model leaders all likely possess similar leadership characteristics.1

#1 Integrity

The number one characteristic of a good leader is integrity. To put it bluntly, if people can’t trust you, you won’t be able to connect with them and lead them. As a true leader, you must demonstrate integrity through:

  • Ethical behavior
  • Honesty
  • Responsibility
  • Dependability

No matter what kind of job in organizational leadership you have, you must embody integrity. If you don’t show others that you have integrity, they’ll quickly lose confidence in your organization and you as an effective leader.2

#2 Judiciousness

When you demonstrate integrity, you earn the respect of others. Treating those you work with in a judicious and fair manner goes a long way to building that respect. It’s also critical that people in positions of power are respectful of their employees’ time, energy, hard work, and emotional well-being.

#3 Empathy

To be judicious, you must also cultivate the empathetic skills to see situations and dilemmas from all points of view. Outstanding leaders aren’t those who are stoic and cold. Instead, those who can show others that they care and can relate to others’ struggles are the outstanding leaders who truly shine. 

#4 Self-Awareness

An effective leader doesn’t have to be perfect. Instead, a willingness to admit weaknesses or faults shows that you’re human. This, in turn, develops self-awareness. Leaders are individuals who take account of strengths and shortfalls, acknowledging where they’ve made mistakes and taking measures to correct them.

#5 Creativity

All professionals in leadership careers have to demonstrate creativity in their work. Leaders are open-minded, both in terms of their own ideas and listening to others. Thus, to develop your sense of creativity, you must:

  • Think outside the box
  • Use creative solutions to problems
  • Bring fresh ideas and help to develop others’ ideas
  • Stretch resources

Your ability to bring something unique to your position makes you a valuable leader.3

#6 Vision

A great leader also must be able to see the big picture and the steps it takes to accomplish their goals, while also remaining flexible and adaptable to changes. They understand that the roadmap is drawn in pencil, not ink.

#7 Dedication to Improvement

Allowing for adaptation is a part of continuous improvement. Strong leaders know that methods can adapt to changing customer, company, and employee needs. Furthermore, they’re always interested in learning about how to make things better. The term lifelong learner typically describes those who thrive in leading roles.

#8 Ability to Delegate

Often, the ability to delegate is one of the most difficult tasks for people to master. Those who become leaders do so by working hard and possessing a “get the work done” attitude. However, sharing responsibilities shows that you trust others to do what’s needed and that you respect their hard work.

#9 Communication Skills

Many leadership qualities will be lost on others if you can’t communicate effectively. Leaders need well-rounded communication skills that include:

  • Oral
  • Written
  • Interpersonal
  • Multicultural
  • Business

Think about the many ways you interact with coworkers and clients every day. If your communication skills are poor, your coworkers won’t understand your expectations and your customers may feel as though their concerns or needs aren’t being addressed.4

#10 Decisiveness

The ability to make decisions is a must for any leader. This is especially true in management roles where you often have to make difficult choices that impact many people and even the entire company. Coursework in management can help if you struggle in this area. You’ll be able to practice making tough decisions in a controlled environment so that you’re ready for the real thing.

Become a Better Leader with Alliant International University

These ten characteristics work together to produce leaders that people respect, listen to, and trust. Now, it’s time to perform a self-assessment and practice number four: Self-Awareness. Where do you need to improve? Are your communication skills in need of a makeover? Do you struggle to make decisions under pressure?

At Alliant International University, we can help you strengthen your leadership skills. 

Alliant offers several management and leadership degrees and programs with online and in-person classes to fit your busy schedule. 

Find your path. Pursue it confidently. Get started today. 


  1. “What Are the Characteristics of a Good Leader?” CCL, January 7, 2022.….  Accessed January 7, 2022. 
  2. “Great Leaders Have Integrity.” SIGMA Assessment Systems, December 31, 2021. Accessed January 7, 2022. 
  3. “Think Outside the Box - A Guide to Creative Thinking.” Custom Boxes Now, December 2, 2021.…. Accessed January 7, 2022. 
  4. Inc, Corporate Class. “Top 4 Interpersonal Communication Skills to Advance Your Career in 2021.” Corporate Class Inc., November 8, 2021.…. Accessed January 7, 2022. 

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