6 Traits of an Effective Leader

6 Traits of an Effective Leader

Effective leaders are essential to every organisation as they are the driving force behind the growth of a company and its team, not to mention how a company adapts and responds to ever-changing climates.

There has been a lot of press over past few weeks about the new Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, who has been tasked the job of taking Microsoft to new heights and tackling the highly competitive software market. One of the focuses is on how Nadella operates as a leader and how his particular set of skills could be exactly what Microsoft needs.

Some people are what we would consider to be natural born leaders, however many traits of a successful leader can be practiced and adopted by anyone. Here are 6 traits of an effective leader.

1. Be a role model – Inspire others

Great leaders must be role models. By being a role model you will gain followers within your organisation, which in turn will help you with many of the other points listed below, such as communication, commitment from others and the overall creativity of the employees.

People aspire to have similar leadership skills to great leaders so it is important to ensure that you are running your organisation in such a way that promotes good qualities and that inspires a more fun and engaging environment for people to work in.

Being a great role model means you take actionable steps to improve the organisation and help those around you.

2. Communication – Listen to others

A successful leader needs to know what they want from their leadership and what their employees expect from them. Understanding this is an important step, which comes down to a good line of communication.

According to the current Edelman Trust Barometer, there is a crisis in the way leadership is conducted, with the largest ever gap between trust importance and trust performance, both in business and government, since the study began in 2001. It has been suggested in the same report that the CEO must become the Chief Engagement Officer if this gap is to be reduced, as top-level perspectives are out-of-touch and not in line with the current expectations of employees.

It is important to listen rather than dismiss the ideas and thoughts of others around you. A leader isn’t always right and sometimes the best decisions for the future of a company or the way in which it operates come from the lower-level employees. These perspectives can help an organisation to build and adapt.

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3. Commitment – Lead with passion and learn from others

Successful leaders are committed to fixing problems and learning how they can improve the organisation, not just themselves. Being passionate about a position and the business, a leader can help an organisation reach its goals. Employees will recognise this commitment and dedication and subsequently realise that the decisions being made for the benefit of the whole organisation, resulting in a positive following and improved level of passion from those employees.

By learning from others, you can better guide your organisation through obstacles it faces, constantly raising the bar, meeting targets and exceeding.

4. Be confident

Failure is not an option. A successful leader knows that deep down they, and their team, have what it takes to accomplish their ambitions. Confidence is infectious, so a confident leader will produce confident employees who follow by example.

A confident leader will also rise to the challenge and not allow setbacks to get in their way or affect team moral.

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5. Allow for creativity

Creativity from all areas of the organisation is beneficial to all. People who report to you must be able to act creatively, thinking outside the box and constantly being encouraged to come up with innovative solutions.

A major issue for many organisations is that their leaders don’t seem to learn from their mistakes or those of the people around them, causing them to get ‘stuck’ and preventing the organisation from growing. By learning from mistakes and making the necessary changes, an organisation can be much more productive and successful. These changes can come from a collective team of creative thinkers – individuals who are allowed to think outside the box.

6. Provide support

You must provide support to your employees by making yourself available to them and teaching others, listening to what they have to say and motivating them to continually improve themselves.

By helping others in this way, you are allowing your employees to be open, resulting in a better stream of communication and not punishing people for their lack of knowledge of or confusion over an issue. This encouragement and openness will result in a must more productive and happy working environment.


By following these steps and practicing these leadership skills, you can become more effective at any stage of your career and increase your chances of building a dedicated following of creative and inspired individuals with the same goal in mind – to constantly move the organisation in the right direction. Take advantage of every opportunity to learn new leadership skills and improve your team, as well as your own career and leadership objectives.

Make sure you’re ready to to take your career to CEO level and succeed. Sign up to the CI Executive Career Management programme and get access to a Career Coach to guide and coach you through your journey to board level. Also don’t forget to keep a lookout for the top roles that become available in emerging markets.

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About the author

Jamie McDermott

Involved in Business Development and Technologies at Career Intelligence. Based in the Fleet Street, London office since the start of 2014.

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