The Most Important Qualities of a Great Leader

There are many different kinds of leaders out there. Every business owner or executive has a different style of leadership, and certain situations call for different ways of handling them. The greatest leaders are able to adapt to their environments and empower their team to succeed together. Great leaders inspire us. They bring out the best in us and move us to do better. It’s assumed that great leaders lead through brilliant strategic thinking and bold action. While many leaders certainly do have those qualities, great leaders share these two traits that set them apart:

1) They lead with positive emotion
2) They align people to a common vision or goal.

Positivity is Key

Emotions are contagious. Whatever we are feeling at any given moment spreads to those around us. That being said, if you want to be a great leader you can’t fake it. You have to show up inspired and positive to bring that out in others. Leaders that lead with positivity inspire their employees with hope, passion, and energy. To be emotionally positive, leaders must first be aware of their own emotions and practice managing those emotions to produce the outcomes they seek.

Set the Vision

Great leaders look toward the future. To be a great leader you need to paint a compelling picture of what you envision the next steps the team should take, and they inspire others to come together in pursuit of that joint purpose.

To be successful in aligning their teams with a common purpose, leaders must paint a picture of a desired future that each person on the team can tie back to their own individual purpose.

The vision should be aspirational and clear enough to allow people to see how they can contribute to achieving that vision using their strengths and leveraging their experience and capabilities.


Great leaders are present in the moment. They are aware of their emotions, and they are able to manage them to achieve goals that they set for their organization. Using these tactics can help an aspiring leader unleash the highest amount of potential in both their employees and the organization. For those of us who hope to lead and impact others, we first need to learn to focus on the outcome and spread passion for that outcome by leading with emotion. Once people experience leaders who achieve this, they become someone they want to work for time and time again.

If you’re a leader, it’s very likely just one of the many hats you wear in your day-to-day. Read more about how to connect with people in every role that you take on in your life.

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Author Erica Yesko

Erica Yesko is our head of Operations. She believes in the power of culture, talent, and leadership in building viable organizations. She has deep subject matter expertise in organization design, change management, business development, and leadership development. Erica has focused her career on designing scalable organizations, building managed cultures, coaching high-potential leaders, building highly effective teams, and managing change. She also teaches and coaches Leadership Development at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH.

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