The Talent Company’s 12 Days of Talent: Day 12 – The 12 Traits of a Great Leader



12 Traits of a Great Leader

People know effective leadership when they see it and simply holding a position in leadership doesn’t
make someone a good leader. A great leader strives to help others reach their goals; they are always
developing themselves, and act as a visionary for their organization. Fresh from The Talent Company’s
new Pulse on Leadership study, we asked the study’s participants what they considered to be the top
traits of a great leader.

Here are the Top 12 Traits of a Great Leader:

#12 – Open & Trusted – People want to work for a leader they can trust−a leader that has morals,
values, and integrity. An open and trusted leader will always get more from their team and have a
stronger following. Leaders new to their role and/or to their team need to build their credibility and
trust from their team over time. Unfortunately trust is a trait that can be lost quickly. Be honest, fair,
candid and forthright, and treat everyone in the same way that you yourself would want to be treated.

#11 – Sense of Humour – A sense of humour shows your employees that you are more than a leader,
and that you aren’t a machine, which encourages them to feel comfortable around you.

#10 – Empathetic – People want their leader to have a caring side. Great leaders care about their
people, not just about the business. It’s not about their ego, it’s about humility. It’s not about fulfilling
personal agendas, it’s about helping their people to be successful.

#9 – Self-Awareness – A great leader not only understands the many different traits needed to
effectively lead others; they also have a strong awareness of their own qualities, strengths and areas to
continuing to develop themselves. When they look into the mirror, they see who they really are and
how others see them versus who they imagine they are.

#8 – Passionate & Optimistic – People want to work with and for people who lift them up instead of
dragging them down. A great leader seeks out the positives in their people, helping them overcome
their own feelings of self-doubt and spreading passion and optimism throughout the organization.
Passion is infectious. Others will feel it and want to get on board with you.

#7 – Results Focused – At the end of the day as a leader you are responsible for delivering results. What
really counts is what is accomplished. Great leaders spend their energy on the most effective actions
and activities to achieve the greatest outcomes.

#6 – Personal Accountability – A great leader takes ownership of situations that they are involved in.
They see them through and take responsibility for what happens – both good or bad. They don’t point
fingers and blame others when things go wrong but do their best to make things right.

#5 – Talent Focused – To become a great leader, you must build and develop a great team. The ability to
recruit great new talent while focusing on the individual and collective growth and development of your
team is often overlooked as a trait of a great leader. How can you as a leader be successful if you don’t
have great talent around you?

#4 – Strong Communicator – Communication is one of the fundamental capabilities of a great leader.
Communication is a two-way conversation with listening as important as speaking. Great leaders listen
more than they speak and the more personal and engaging the conversation is, the more effective it will

#3 – Supportive – A great leader supports their team members by creating an environment where it is safe
to take risks, be honest, speak up and reach their potential. Truly effective leaders not only recognize
potential, they feed it, prepare it, and allow their team to exercise it. They know when to shield their
team from controversy, protect them and keep them focused on the most important tasks.

#2 – Commitment – Nothing shows commitment and humility like getting your hands dirty with the rest
of your team. Showing your commitment sets the example for others to follow, and leads to greater
loyalty and respect for you as a leader.

#1 – Inspiration & Vision – A great leader is able to paint a vivid picture of where their team and
organization is headed. Try to paint and communicate a vision of the future that inspires your people to
do whatever it takes to get there. People want to work toward something they believe in – it gives your
team a reason to work, to succeed, and to do their best in everything they do.

Leadership doesn’t come naturally to everyone, and it can’t be learned overnight. To be successful as a
leader, you must approach it as a long-term journey of continuous reflection and self-improvement.
Stay tuned for more results from The Talent Company’s Pulse on Leadership study.
Simon Parkin is the Practice Leader for Recruitment and Talent Management Solutions at The Talent
Company –      Simon is recognized as a global thought leader in the acquisition and
management of talent and has successfully transformed the Talent function for organizations of all
sizes. Simon works closely with clients to build, develop and innovate their Recruitment, Talent and
HR functions. He is a former global leader of Recruitment and Talent for a Fortune 100 company.
Simon is a featured speaker at a number of HR and Recruitment conferences across North America
and an author of many acclaimed articles on innovative Recruitment, Talent and HR trends and best
practices. Simon’s full profile can be found at and he can be
reached at

For more information on The Talent Company and our 12 Days of Talent project,

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