Whether you’re leading a global company or you’re heading up a small team, possessing top leadership qualities is essential to your success.  However, there are many different types of leadership styles.  The stereotypical styles of leading may feel more natural to some than others – but don’t let this be something that holds you back.  You’re only limited by your own beliefs, and top leadership skills can always be developed further.


Leadership can be defined as being in a position of authority or control over a group or organisation. But to be an effective leader in a business, takes going beyond this basic definition and exhibiting the top leadership qualities. True leaders develop exceptional people skills on top of business savvy, as they consistently interact with their teams and other stakeholders to achieve company goals. 

As Apple’s Steve Jobs famously said, leadership is about inspiring people to accomplish what they thought they couldn’t do, whereas management is about persuading people to do what they never wanted to do.


Being a great leader isn’t something that comes easily – it can take a whole career to cultivate. At the point where you have the attributes to be able to inspire your entire team towards a mission, you’ll know you are on the right path.

Below are top leadership qualities that everyone can refine in order to be a more effective leader. Remember, it’s natural that some will come easier for you than others, but the best leaders will work to develop all of them further.


The world’s greatest leaders all had one thing in common: a powerful vision not only for their own lives, but for making a change in the world around them. It might be local or global, but it is a picture of a future improved in some way. This type of vision can only come from having a purpose that is meaningful to you.  It’s so crystal-clear, that you can make others see the vision too, and feel inspired by it.


Strong leaders keep their eyes on the prize. As Tony Robbins says: Where focus goes, energy flows. The best way to limit distractions is by planning for it – have a work strategy that keeps your environment conducive to focus. For example, leaders may block out time in their calendars as “focus times”. This allows them to deep-dive into their tasks for the day, while making themselves approachable at all other times.


True leaders are confident in their abilities to influence stakeholders and move a company forward to the next level. But how do you project confidence?  More than half of human communication comes from nonverbal cues. Know how to set the right tone as a leader by maintaining eye contact, good posture and no fidgeting. When you appear confident and composed – even if you don’t actually feel it – others will be more likely to believe in your abilities and follow your lead.


Don’t underestimate the power of words. However, effective communication is a two way street: that often means closing your mouth and opening your ears. Deep listening and asking thoughtful questions shows that you care about your employees’ contributions.


Great leaders seem to have an inner strength, and enduring resilience. Usually this has been honed from taking life’s failures and turning them into lessons. To do the same, you need to have the right mindset, allowing you to see setbacks as opportunities for growth.


Truly great leaders often exhibit abundant positivity that inspires. They make a point to display optimism on a daily basis, keeping their teams energized. When you practice positive thinking, it becomes a powerful cognitive habit and allows you to reassure and elevate those around you.


Being honest is the only real way to make strong connections with others and build trust. Importantly, whatever your leadership role, those you interact with will be influenced by your code of ethics as their own benchmark. Always show your team how much you value honesty in your everyday interactions with others by setting a valuable example.

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The ability to be decisive can mean the difference between getting through a crisis or having everything break down. Making these kinds of calls doesn’t always make you popular, but when you use good judgment to make decisions, it will earn you the respect of others. An effective leader is one who makes the right call – not the decision that is easy.


We all bring natural gifts to our work. Honing yours to the point of inspiring others is one of the best ways to find success. This is because inspiration keeps people pushing on through difficult times – and to keep their sights set on achieving goals, even when times are undemanding.


In life, and in leadership, you’re going to make mistakes. When you do, it’s important to show accountability – because not doing so will erode trust amongst your team. When you lead by example, it also sets a standard for those around you. Ultimately it’s this sense of responsibility that will keep everyone honest and striving to achieve.


When you’re able to see another person’s perspective, you’re able to connect with them. All of your stakeholders are human beings, from your colleagues to your competitors. So empathy is an attribute that will serve you well in building strong relationships, and cultivating an ideal work culture.


Humility is one of the top leadership qualities, but it doesn’t equate to being a doormat. Humility shapes your character and makes you approachable. This is one of the most underestimated traits of leadership, because it can break down communication barriers and allows you to interact with people on a very rewarding level.