The 10 Personality Traits of Leaders and Managers (With Examples)

What Are the Qualities of an Effective Leader?

Leadership is a complex and multifaceted topic. The qualities and skills that make a good leader are often debated.

What is certain is that leadership is about more than just being the boss. It’s about being able to motivate others, inspire them, and empower them to do their best work. A good leader should also be able to manage complex situations, as well as understand the needs of the people they are leading.

What are the most important character traits of a leader?

Can we examine the personality traits of some of the most influential leaders past and present, and pinpoint the characteristics and qualities that made those leaders so respected and well-followed?

Here are 10 personality traits of leaders from business and politics, each accompanied by a single leader’s name.

What are the qualities of an effective and successful leader?

There are many personality traits that can help a person become a good leader. But some of them are more important than others. For example, empathy helps us to feel and understand what other people might be feeling and experiencing. 

An effective leader has also developed high emotional intelligence, and is able to recognize his or her own strengths and weaknesses as well as those of others. Which of the following 10 personality traits do you hold in your strong suit, and which need developing further?

  1. Accountability ─ Warren Buffett

Accountability is the willingness to take responsibility for one’s actions and decisions. It can be regarded as a trait that makes an individual a good leader, as it shows that the person acknowledges their mistakes and learns from them.

Warren Buffett, generally considered as the world’s greatest ever investor who runs the enormously successful Berkshire Hathaway, has said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.

  1. Adaptability ─ Jack Welch

The ability to adapt is crucial for a leader. The world is constantly changing and so should the approach of the leader. These changes may be forced by markets, governments, economies, or finances, among other factors. When change happens, the most effective leaders can adapt their style and sell the new strategy to their team.

Jack Welch is often cited as one of the most successful CEOs in the history of business. Welch’s leadership style was based on his ability to adapt to changing circumstances. He was able to do this by being flexible, creative, and decisive.

  1. Confidence ─ Sir Winston Churchill

A great leader can inspire others to achieve more than they thought was possible. They do this by being confident in themselves and others, as well as the strategy. 

Churchill was a master of confidence. He had a way of speaking that made people believe in him and his words. He also had an unshakable belief in the ability of Britain to survive and prosper. This confidence helped him inspire others and rally them together to fight for what they believed in. 

  1. Creativity ─ Steve Jobs

Creativity allows leaders to experiment, develop innovative solutions, and design new, more efficient, and more productive approaches to work and business strategy.

Steve Jobs, such a good leader he was asked to take the helm at Apple a second time, was one of the most creative people on the planet. But he didn’t just stop with his ideas, he took action and was able to turn his ideas into reality.

  1. Empathy ─ Brian Chesky

Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. It is a key trait of great leaders, and it’s also a crucial factor in how we connect with others. Leaders who lack empathy may not be able to build trust with their followers, which can lead to a breakdown in communication, loss of morale, and eventually failure for the organization.

Brian Chesky is an example of a great leader who has empathy. He understands what his employees are going through, and he shares their feelings about problematic decisions that need to be made in order to make Airbnb successful.

One of Chesky’s most famous quotes is: 

If you want to create a great product, just focus on one person. Make that person have the most amazing experience ever.

Now, replace the word ‘product’ with ‘employee’.

  1. Focus ─ John D. Rockefeller

Focus is a quality that separates someone from the rest of the pack. Being focused on what matters and not being distracted by trivial things is what makes an individual stand out. A leader with focus can make decisions quickly and efficiently. They can make tough decisions and stick to the plan. They are also able to see the big picture and prioritize what needs to be done first.

One of the most successful and wealthiest business people in history, John D. Rockefeller was known for his focus and determination in achieving his goals. His work ethic is an inspiration to many leaders who followed him; he never gave up on his dreams even when faced with enormous challenges. He believed that he could accomplish anything if he worked hard enough, and this belief drove him to success repeatedly.

  1. Organization and delegation ─ Dwight D. Eisenhower

Organization and delegation are two traits that are required for great leaders. Leaders need to be organized to plan the best course of action to take. They also need to delegate tasks to others which allows them time for other strategic tasks, and not become distracted by the day-to-day running of a business (or country).

Dwight D. Eisenhower is one of the most iconic leaders in the history of the United States. He led the allied forces to victory in World War II and was elected president twice, serving from 1953 to 1961. Eisenhower’s leadership style was based on organization and delegation. He had a clear vision of what he wanted to achieve, but he knew that he couldn’t do it all himself, so he relied on his team members to execute his vision for him ─ and he had a great ability to manage both time and people effectively. 

Eisenhower also created what is now known as the Eisenhower Matrix (a time and task management tool), which divides tasks into four categories: Urgent and important; Not urgent but important; Urgent but not important; Not urgent or important at all.

  1. Positivity ─ Elon Musk

Positivity is a key trait of great leaders. They can keep their team motivated and engaged with the company’s vision.

Many people think that being positive is about having a good attitude, but it’s so much more than that. It’s about believing in yourself and your abilities, seeing the potential in other people, and having confidence in your vision for the future.

Elon Musk is a great leader with many qualities. One of those qualities is his positivity. He has been quoted as saying, “If you get up in the morning and think the future is going to be better, it is a bright day. Otherwise, it’s not.

He believes that this positivity can be used as a tool to help push through tough times and challenges. He also believes that it can help people see the best in themselves and others.

  1. Risk-taking ─ Jeff Bezos

Great leaders are not afraid to take risks. They are confident in their decisions, and they know that failure is just a part of success. 

Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, is a risk-taker who has been willing to take chances and try innovative ideas, even when they seem crazy or unworkable. When he founded Amazon as an online bookseller, most experts derided the idea ─ who was going to buy books online instead of in a bookstore? The rest, as they say, is history.

  1. Strategic thinking ─ Henry Ford

Great leaders can think strategically. They can see what the future might look like, inspire others with the vision, and plan out steps for how they will get there. They can also identify potential challenges that could stand in their way and find creative solutions for those challenges ─ as well as identify opportunities that may not be obvious.

Henry Ford was a great leader who was very strategic in his thoughts and actions. He had a vision for the future, and he knew how to make it happen. He had an idea for an automobile, but he didn’t stop there ─ he also found ways to manufacture them in mass production and decrease their cost so that people could afford them.

Ford’s strategic thinking helped him create one of the most iconic companies in history: Ford Motor Company.

What are the character traits of a good leader? Time for self-evaluation

These 10 personality traits are by no means an exhaustive list. Far from it ─ they are starting points for the qualities that effective leaders must develop and continue to develop throughout their career.

A simple exercise for you to do right now is to take each leader’s name that we have included here, place it next to any of the nine other traits, and consider if that leader could have been named against them. Then, consider these 10 personality traits, and self-evaluate yourself against them. How do you measure up?

To learn how our leadership coaching programs help to develop the skills needed for effective and successful leadership, contact Primeast Forward Focus today.

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