Leadership qualities. Leadership traits. Characteristics of a good leader. Google any of these phrases and you find plenty on these topics. But, if you try to narrow down the search to the single, most important leadership quality, you’ll come up with relatively few results. Why?
I have a theory as to why. Leadership is an art and a science. It concerns people, a tricky space of continually shifting terrain.
Because of this, few people are willing to reduce leadership to a foremost attribute, especially when one can easily get away with offering three, five, eight, or nine important leadership qualities. It is much safer to offer multiple characteristics.
So, I will offer you one overriding leadership quality.
Five Essential Qualities of a Great Leader
Before I share this quality, I want to provide one of the many examples that breaks leadership into numerous “essential” qualities.
This recently published article from Inc. magazine tells leaders they must embrace these five leadership qualities for success.
- Clarity. Leaders must be clear and concise. This helps employees who are not certain about what they want and how to get there.
- Decisiveness. Good leaders do not hesitate to commit. They are consistent and willing to make even the toughest decisions.
- Courage. A fearless or bold leader (or one that reframes fear) is a vital asset for any leader.
- Passion. Passion is inspirational. It’s obvious to those who look: A passionate leader cares about what they do each and every day.
- Humility. Grateful, humble leaders are naturally attractive to all employees.
The Number One Leadership Quality
The number one leadership quality is the ability to create a vision. All the above qualities are true; however, they are easily subsumed by an audacious, well-communicated vision.
A solid vision is clear, decisive, courageous, passion invoking, and puts company before leader.