The five quintessential characteristics of great leaders

Leaders are abundant throughout every race & culture across the globe., and whilst a leader can be anyone, ‘great leaders’ are united by a number of quintessential characteristics that helps define them as ‘great’.

As it’s ‘Leadership Week’ here at MHR, we thought we’d look at what we think are the five quintessential characteristics or traits of a great leader.

They get the best out of their team

There’s no two-ways about this, a successful leader gets the absolute best out of their team. Whether they run a café or run a parliament, a leader creates an environment where a team becomes greater than the sum of its parts.

A great leader knows how each of their members operate, their strengths, their weaknesses… pretty much everything they need in order to encourage them to work to the best of their abilities at all times.

A leader who gets the best out of their team will also command a lot of respect, and will be someone that people really look up to.

They think positively

To lead is to take a team forward in a positive direction, therefore, to accomplish this, a leader must think positively 100% of the time. The very best leaders excel at turning any setbacks that come across into a positive situation for their team – it is this gift that separates them from below-par leaders. Like the great American Lawyer John Adams once said ‘Every problem is an opportunity in disguise’.

They know when enough is enough

The best leaders will realise that, as much as they may want to, they can’t do EVERYTHING themselves, therefore delegation is the key part of the genetic make-up of a leader. Leaders like this realise that delegation is more than just a stress-reliever for themselves, but a way of improving morale within their team as responsibility is entrusted to a larger amount of their team.

They are very committed

High levels of commitment are super-important if leaders want to succeed in retaining trust throughout their workforce. Committing to pledges and sticking to promises made,  are both vital,  if one is going to be successful in leadership. Great leaders always set the precedent, and are the most committed people on any team based on the basic premise of… ‘if the leader isn’t putting in the effort, why should the team?’.

They have a great sense of humour

It what may appear unusual to some, our final quintessential character trait of a good leader is their sense of humour. A great sense of humour transcends the normal or more traditional aspects of leadership, and is very appropriate in the contemporary business landscape, where social media continues to influence business activity. Leaders showing that they have a sense of humour, who are able to make jokes about themselves, and laugh off minor issues, will command great respect from their team.

The best leaders will realise that at times where morale dips, so does productivity, therefore humour in the workplace is vital.

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