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What are characteristics of a good leader?

Characteristics of a good leader include integrity, effective communication skills, trust, gratitude, humility, empathy, and respect.

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There are numerous schools of thought about what makes a good leader. The ability to inspire others is something that many people have sought throughout the ages. It certainly takes a certain level of charisma to get others to willingly and happily follow you. Central to this is integrity. A good leader must project a degree of honesty and goodwill to their followers. People are much more willing to follow a leader who does not ask of them something that they would not do themselves.

Communication is also important. A good leader needs to be able to effectively communicate what they want to delegate. If their message is misunderstood by their followers, then they will fail to be effective. A leader must also be able to listen to the advice of others. A good leader is not expected to have also the answers themself. They must be able to take advice, weigh the options, and act decisively with the information that they have gathered.

Trust is a central characteristic of good leadership. Not only do followers need to trust their leader, but leaders must be able to trust those they lead. Trusting that their people will fulfill their responsibilities leads to higher morale and prevents micro-managing. This trust can be shown with a healthy dose of gratitude.

Humility is also important. A good leader recognizes that they are not infallible. Being able to admit when they are wrong and or do not know the answer to a situation will help humanize them to their followers.

Empathy is also an important trait. The people who the leader leads all come into the room with their own unique backgrounds, skills, and circumstances. A good leader must be able to recognize, understand, and appreciate these differences. This all leads to respect. For followers to respect their leader, the leader must also respect their followers.