We put together an infographic that describes some leadership qualities that can be developed and put in your own “skills” filing cabinet.
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Honorable Mentions: Other Leadership Qualities
Were these eight qualities the only ones that leaders really need? Nope, these are the foundation or the beginning of the journey, but there are plenty more. Here are four more important ones to cultivate:
- Confidence: Confident leaders are decisive but not arrogant. They are thoughtfully secure in their own skills, biased toward action, not afraid to look bad, great listeners, and eager to try new things.
- Vision: Visionary leaders perform every task with an eye for improving the success of the whole organization. They prioritize tasks that support the organizational mission, and they work to make the organization better reflect its own vision.
- Critical-Thinking Skills: Critical thinkers constantly gather data, analyze it, and use it to solve important problems. They often share thoughtful solutions with others, look at problems through a variety of mental models, and schedule and use uninterrupted times of deep thought.
- Flexibility: Flexible leaders are always ready for change and surprises. They are not stubborn, can navigate disagreements and different opinions well, defuse fruitless arguments, are comfortable being wrong, and help their teams work efficiently.
When you’re developing leadership qualities, it helps to get inspiring leadership quotes deeply into your subconscious. That way, they can surface and remind you of important principles in the midst of tense situations or during decision-making processes.
So, pick a favorite leadership quote from the following list and put it up where you will see it many times per day. Apply it to your leadership occasionally. Once it becomes a consistent part of your habitual thoughts, move on to another quote!
“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” –John C. Maxwell
“Relational skills are the most important abilities in leadership.” –John C. Maxwell
“The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office.” –Dwight D. Eisenhower
“To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart.” –Eleanor Roosevelt
“The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly.” –Jim Rohn
“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” –Peter Drucker
“A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be.” –Rosalynn Carter
“Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” –Lao Tzu
“Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” –Jack Welch
“Courage is rightly esteemed the first of human qualities… because it is the quality which guarantees all others.” –Winston Churchill
“In war as in life, it is often necessary when some cherished scheme has failed, to take up the best alternative open, and if so, it is folly not to work for it with all your might.” –Winston Churchill
“Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in your absence.” –Sheryl Sandberg
“Leaders need to provide strategy and direction and to give employees the tools that enable them to gather information and insight from around the world. Leaders shouldn’t try to make every decision.” –Bill Gates
“Leadership is the ability to guide others without force into a direction or decision that leaves them still feeling empowered and accomplished.” –Lisa Cash Hanson
“Ultimately, leadership is not about glorious crowning acts. It’s about keeping your team focused on a goal and motivated to do their best to achieve it, especially when the stakes are high and the consequences really matter. It is about laying the groundwork for others’ success, and then standing back and letting them shine.” –Chris Hadfield
Continue in Leadership Development
When you run into problems in your own leadership, you can look to the leadership infographic, quotes, and additional qualities above to diagnose the cause. What went wrong? Decide which of the skills or qualities you could have used better, and imagine how you will act differently next time.
Resolve to keep reflecting on your behavior, practicing these leadership qualities, and growing, and you’ll continue to become an even more effective leader who can be proud of your own contribution to others’ lives.