16 Key Characteristics of a Good Leader In 2016

There is no set of rules that define a good leader.

Good leaders come in all shapes and sizes and are found just about everywhere you look. They run fortune 500s and small businesses, they are politicians, actresses, homemakers, teachers and bankers.

But despite the amazingly vast differences in their positions and backgrounds, there are tangible characteristics that all good leaders have in common.

Do you see any of the 16 key characteristics of a good leader in yourself? Now is as good of a time as ever to be a leader in 2016.

1. They Lead By Example

Good leaders know that in order for people to trust and follow them, they must lead by example in their actions and words.

They set the example of honesty and integrity, not just when they feel like it, but every single day in both their personal and professional lives.

2. They Are Enthusiastic About What They Do

Whatever a good leader does for a living, they do with heart, enthusiasm, and passion.  They must live, breathe, eat, and sleep their mission and vision.

Enthusiasm is a powerful tool to inspire the people around them and a good leader knows that inspiration motivates action towards a cause or goal.

3. They Are Calm and Level-Headed

Calm, cool, and collected. These are classic characteristics of a good leader. They aren’t a rollercoaster of emotions where you never know who you’re going to get.

Sure, there will be stressful times and there will be times for celebration, but a good leader knows not to follow either one of those emotions too far. They keep an eye on the present, past, and future at all times.

4. They Learn From Their Mistakes

A good leader isn’t afraid of failure or admitting defeat. The ability to quickly acknowledge a mistake, ask for feedback, and move on is consistently found in good leaders.

They never make excuses and they never point the blame at someone else. Taking responsibility is very important to leaders so that they can fix the problem and make the appropriate changes.

5. They Place Trust in Those Around Them

A good leader never believes that they are the only one that can get something done and do a great job. Over time, they surround themselves with people they trust to complete a project and they have full confidence in those people to do so.

Good leaders know that trust is a two-way street.

6. They Are Great at Communicating

The ability to communicate effectively with other people is a key characteristic in good leaders.

Whether it’s delegating tasks or simply speaking with someone about their goals and aspirations, good leaders communicate well and they communicate often.

7. They Are Great at Listening

Often times, the ability to listen is even more important than the ability to communicate.  

Today, we often lack the time to truly connect with other people to develop mutual relationships that benefit both parties. By listening to others good leaders earn relationships over time and show that they genuinely care about those who they are leading.

8. They Are Empathetic

Part of listening and building relationships with other people is the ability to address problems in public and private with a genuine concern.

Showing empathy can mean a variety of things and can be both physical and emotional. Good leaders look for constructive solutions and concentrate on moving forward in a positive manner.

9. They Are Uncompromisingly Optimistic

Good leaders are a shining light of joy and optimism. When people say it can’t be done, good leaders prove them otherwise with a smile on their face.

They always seem to have something positive to say and never focus on the negative of any situation. They avoid personal criticism (unless it’s constructive) and pessimistic thinking at all costs.

10. They Are Humbly Confident

Humbleness and confidence are a wonderful characteristic mixture found in good leaders. Everyone around them can feel the humbleness and confidence, and in fact, it’s contagious.

People are naturally drawn to them for suggestions and advice. They believe in themselves and they believe in their mission. Having the confidence to say, “I don’t know,” or “we ought to try it this way,” is a powerful characteristic.

11. They Have a Sense of Humour

Good leaders never take themselves too seriously because they know that can be harmful.

Humour helps to keep the morale up in tough situations and can work to prevent a meltdown. Good leaders establish a sense of humour that is professional and light-hearted from the beginning and even encourage it in others.

What’s life without a little fun, right?

12. They Are Committed to the Cause

You never hear of a good leader “on the fence” about something. Why? Because when they commit to something, they put everything they have into it.

Commitment builds trust, it builds confidence, and it shows people that what you are doing is something worth pursuing or fighting for.

13. They Are Fearless

Nothing ever great was accomplished by following the status quo all of the time. Good leaders take people or things to a place they have never been before.

The ability to take calculated risks is a characteristic that is critical to have if you are going to lead. Mistakes will happen and they will often be from the risk that was taken, but this does not scare leaders. It only makes them hungrier to try new things in the future and learn from their mistakes.

14. They Develop the Skills of Those Around Them

Selfishness is not in a good leader’s vocabulary. They take every opportunity they can to promote, teach, mentor, and learn from the people around them.

They understand that everyone has to start from somewhere and that at one time they were in that same position. Good leaders take people with them on their way to the top.

15. They Remain Available

Becoming a good leader is not without its downsides. The better leader you are, the more people who will follow you and want to take up your time.

Don’t forget to make time for the important people in your life. Good leaders know that they did not make it to the top on their own and that there are still people out there that deserve attention.

16. They Always Have a Goal

Good leaders are goal-driven. Whether the goals are personal or professional, they are always looking to accomplish something great, or even something unreasonable.

Set goals in all aspects of your life. For example, learning new subjects, making new friends, reaching out to people you haven’t talked to in a while, reading more, trying something new, spending more time with your family, building relationships at work, etc.

2016 is the year for a fresh start and for brand new leaders to emerge. Will you be the next great leader?

16 Key Characteristics of a Good Leader In 2016