6 Traits that Define True Leadership

BBryan September 1, 2023 11:06 AM

When we think about leadership, certain names often come to mind, such as Martin Luther King Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, or maybe even your own boss or coach. What is it about these individuals that makes us perceive them as leaders? Is it their influence, their ability to inspire, or maybe their perseverance in the face of adversity? The answer likely involves all of these factors plus a few more.

Leadership is not just about holding a high position or having authority. It’s about having a certain set of traits that inspire others to follow you. So, what are these traits? Well, let’s take a look at the 6 traits that define true leadership.


Good communication is undoubtedly one of the most important leadership traits. Leaders need to be able to clearly convey their expectations and goals, provide feedback, and listen to others. Leaders don't just dictate; they engage in a two-way communication process, ensuring that everyone is on the same page.


When you think of people who display true leadership, they’re often individuals who stick to their principles, even when times are tough. This is known as integrity. Leaders with integrity are honest, trustworthy, and transparent. They keep their promises and take responsibility for their actions.


Leaders have a clear vision. They know where they want to go and have a plan on how to get there. They inspire others with their vision, and they are not afraid to think big. Leaders build their vision based on a deep understanding of their team or organization and its needs.


A true leader knows that they don’t know everything and that they can learn from others. This humility allows leaders to acknowledge their mistakes, learn from them, and improve. Leaders with humility treat everyone with respect and value each member of their team.


Leadership often involves facing challenges and obstacles. Therefore, resilience is a crucial leadership trait. Leaders push through tough times, learn from their failures, and come out stronger. They are adaptable and flexible, always ready to adjust their strategies as needed.


Last but not least, leaders display empathy. They understand and share the feelings of others. This helps them to connect with their teams on a deeper level, build strong relationships, and foster a positive and inclusive team culture.

Here’s a table summarizing these traits:

Trait Description
Communication Clear conveyance of expectations and feedback, active listening
Integrity Honesty, trustworthiness, transparency, responsibility
Vision Clear goals and plans, ability to inspire others
Humility Recognition of own limitations, respect for others, readiness to learn
Resilience Perseverance in the face of adversity, adaptability
Empathy Understanding and sharing the feelings of others, fostering a positive team culture

These are the traits that set true leaders apart. These are not innate traits but skills that can be developed and cultivated. So, if you aspire to be a leader, start by working on these traits. With practice and perseverance, you can develop into a leader who inspires and motivates those around you.

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