What traits should a good leader possess and why?   What are the three top traits a good leader should have. Why are these important to have? How do these traits contribute to good leadership?

Expert Answers
coachingcorner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A good leader needs confidence in his/her abilities to lead first and foremost. Without that, he will not only lack the ability to make decisions himself, but will also lack the ability to inspire respect and trust in others. So a good leader usually has a record of initiative, poise and autonomy right from childhood and early adulthood. However, leaders must not be egocentric, arrogant and tyrannical. They need the ability to see winning traits in others, so that they can develop therir ability to listen. They can build a team around them of loyal, faithful trustworthy and informed individuals who can keep their ear to the ground and then give good  counsel and advice to their leader. The leader needs the skill to listen to all, and pick out the best advice.

Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think you will receive a variety of answers on this question.  In my mind, the ability to inspire others is a notion of leadership that is so very difficult to capture, but something that is essential.  The leader must be able to inspire others to follow on a path that is arduous, challenging, and uncertain.  The very best leaders in history and in our daily lives are able to inspire others to follow them.  This inspiration might come in the form of large group, smaller settings, or even on a more intimate level.  When we examine what traits a successful leader must have, one cannot go far on that list without addressing the ability to inspire as critically important to the success of any leader.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is, of course, completely a matter of opinion.  Here's what I think a good leader needs:

  • An open mind.  A leader who makes decisions and then never listens to any arguments about those decisions cannot really be a good leader.  Such a leader will tend to just go with his/her instincts rather than listening to all sides and deciding which is best.
  • Decisiveness.  However, once a leader has listened to all sides, he or she will often need to make a strong decision quickly.  A leader who is wishy-washy will not be good either.
  • Finally, a leader needs to be calm.  Leaders who respond out of passion rather than out of reason will make too many mistakes.
readerofbooks eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Of course, you will get many different answer, but I think there are a few qualities that override others. First, I think good leaders have to have great intelligence. It is hard to follow someone that is not intelligent. Why would anyone do it. Second, a good leader needs to be fearless. If a leader does not have this quality, he or she will not inspire people to follow and commit. Third, a great leader needs to be selfless. If the people know that the leader is there to benefit other and not himself or herself, people will follow. In short, a great leader needs intelligence, fearlessness and selflessness.

krishna-agrawala | Student

The subject of leadership has been studied by behavior scientists,and management theoretician in quite some detail and they have come up with number of theories to explain the nature of leaders and leadership. These people define leadership as art or process of influencing people so that they will strive, willingly and enthusiastically, towards achievement of group goals.

There are many different theories that have tried of explain the factors make a successful leader successful. On group of these theories are called trait theories which is based on assumption that people who possess some specific traits or qualities make better leaders than others. Many of these traits are considered to be something that leaders are born with and cannot be improved by personal effort. Other traits can be improved by training and practice.

Different experts have proposed different lists of leadership traits, with minor and major differences between them. I am giving below a list compiled of most commonly accepted leadership traits.

Physical traits

Age, height, weight, appearance , etc.

Intelligence and Ability




Personality Traits

Achievement Motivation






Emotional control



Self Confidence

Self control

Task  Related Characteristics

Achievement drive



Knowledge of task

Social Characteristics

Alertness to social environment


Interpersonal Skills

Administrative Skills

mkcapen1 | Student

Traits of a good leader include but are not limited to:

The ability to be decisive. A leader needs to know how and when to make a decision, even when it goes against what others want. An ineffectual leader is one who is inconsistent in making decisions. This leaves his team uncertain of what to expect.

A good leader must be dependable. The people under a leader need to know that the person will still be there and is true to his word.

Enthusiasm is also very important. It tends to rub off and in a business, having a team that is excited to do something is half the battle.