20 Timeless Characteristics Of Quality Leaders

20 Timeless Characteristics Of Quality Leaders

Many would argue beneficial results within the world hinged on quality leadership. Yet leadership remains something of an elusive art; often we only see what worked in hindsight. Dozens of the world’s best leaders have had multiple traits in common, a few of which are detailed below. Regardless of the reason you’re interested in becoming a better leader, the following characteristics will timelessly serve you and your team towards success.

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    1. Great Leaders Understand There’s No Such Thing As Perfect Timing

    Indeed, perfect timing is a myth that remains mired in fairy tales and Hollywood movies. In real life, the only things that happen are those that happen right now. After all, you only have today and there is no telling what tomorrow may bring. Seize today as the gift it is and make the most of the resources you and your team have been blessed with.

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      2. Great Leaders Celebrate The Individual

      The United States and many other developed nations often put heavy emphasis on the individual. There is tangible social pressure that tries to convince everyone of having a flashy car, huge home and perfect-looking partner. Individual success is heralded as the apex of accuracy, all the while frequently overlooking what it actually means to be an individual.

      The best leaders understand each individual brings unique talents and insights to the table, and treats them accordingly. When everyone has distinct treasure to share, no one person is more or less valuable than the other. Each person has a puzzle piece that makes the larger image sharper, and fantastic leaders take the time to cultivate this into reality.


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        3. Great Leaders Have Voluntary Followers

        Leadership is occasionally viewed as a title that’s given, rather than a respect that’s earned. In truth, it’s the latter, not the former. True leaders have voluntary followers. Individuals in the corporate world with “leader” somewhere in their title can indeed be leaders, but it is not a given. The best leaders earn trust and respect with others before they seek to maximize their leadership gifts.

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          4. Great Leaders Genuinely Like People

          Somehow we’ve gotten the idea that leadership doesn’t always involve genuinely liking people. Sadly, too many people have experienced ego-centric leadership – someone who was supposed to be leading and was instead berating. Authentic leaders genuinely like people because they understand value cannot be added to an entity that is not inherently valued.

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            5. Great Leaders Are Meek

            The best leaders don’t have to shout to get your attention or threaten you with trouble if you aren’t “good enough.” No; the best leaders are meek individuals, who prioritize win-win conversations with each person on their team. Meek people also have no need to don a bravado attitude around the workplace or in life. They use humility and common ground to gain and share influence.

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              6. Great Leaders Give More Than They Take

              Life is too short not to go all out. Accordingly, great leaders understand giving their team their best is a surefire way to boost success. Great leaders give more than they take, not because no one is pouring into them, but because they’re that enthusiastic about the team they’re building.


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                7. Great Leaders Know Their Shortcomings

                There’s nothing worse than a know-it-all leader – the type of person who you want to trust and confide in but who only makes you feel dumb and insignificant. The best leaders don’t assume they know it all – in fact, they readily acknowledge their shortcomings. Wonderful leaders value their team enough to ask for help when and where they need it.

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                  8. Great Leaders Surround Themselves With Complementary People And Skills

                  The leaders shaping today and tomorrow understand that projects with enduring impact require a breadth and depth of various talents and visions. Therefore, they aren’t reluctant about seeking out individuals with differing skill sets. A team where everyone has the same weak spots is a recipe for disaster, so great leaders do everything they can to build a mutually supportive and watertight team.

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                    9. Great Leaders Understand They Won’t Always Receive Recognition, And Press On Anyways

                    Leadership is often a thankless task, especially when one’s work challenges the status quo or requires immense unorthodox thinking. Depending on one’s industry or craft, the true leader of a project may not always be seen in the forefront. Great leaders recognize they won’t always be in the limelight, and continue pouring out their best effort anyways.

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                      10. Great Leaders Rise From The Ashes Of Failure

                      Failure is a painful but necessary step on the road of leadership. The innate response is to cower in fear or lower one’s standards, but incredible leaders understand every failure and mistake teaches them something. They use their newfound experience to make them smarter, stronger and wiser.


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                        11. Great Leaders Remember To Say Thank You

                        Seeing a team successfully complete a project invariably leads to celebration and feelings of accomplishment. What isn’t always handled so well is expressions of appreciation. Top-shelf leaders remember that saying thank you is one of the most necessary small gifts they can give, and deliver this with consistency.

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                          12. Great Leaders Understand Leaders Come In All Shapes, Sizes And Ages

                          At times, there seems to be a subcultural whisper that leadership only comes in specific types of packages (aesthetically speaking). Fortunately, this is nothing more than a myth! If leadership were only available from certain types of people, our world would be limited to certain types of gifts. Leadership is a virtue that extends beyond academia, corporate meetings and scientific labs. The best leaders know we can learn from everyone, and listen to individuals of different backgrounds accordingly.

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                            13. Great Leaders Don’t Make Or Accept Excuses

                            Teams and leaders themselves don’t always see how to get to the next step or are afraid to commit. Talented leaders refuse to accept excuses – for themselves or their team. Excuses only deflate the potential of excellence, and leaders see to it that clear communication defeats any need for half-baked effort.

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                              14. Great Leaders Don’t Overlook The Small Things

                              Skilled leaders know that it’s not just what you say, it’s how you say it. Similarly, leaders understand that providing details and tightening up loose ends is as important as casting a gripping vision.


                                Credit: Pixabay

                                15. Great Leaders Don’t Ask For Permission To Do Great Things Or Change The World

                                Leadership occasionally comes down to calculated risk. Accordingly, the most courageous leaders understand they don’t need permission to change the world. Radical action often requires immediacy more than caution.

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                                  16. Great Leaders Are Compassionate

                                  The best leaders don’t need to act like they are better than anyone else. Subsequently, the strongest leaders are also the most compassionate, looking for creative ways in which to support the needs and interests of the voiceless.

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                                    17. Great Leaders Forgive People For Their Mistakes – Including Themselves

                                    Even though individuals place immense trust in leaders, everyone is human, and leaders sometimes make mistakes. This includes team members that leaders oversee. Emotionally intelligent leaders forgive themselves and others for honest mishaps.

                                      Credit: Pixabay

                                      18. Great Leaders Give Other People The Credit

                                      Speaking of looking out for others, reliable leaders are quick to give others the credit, and take a bit more than their share of the responsibility. Life is too short to hoard all the results for yourself, so leaders understand that sharing credit boosts trust, morale, happiness and engagement.

                                        Credit: Pexels

                                        19. Great Leaders Are Great Stewards

                                        The best leaders use everything they have to the best of their ability. People are a leader’s most valuable asset, and stewardship with humans comes down to consistently adding value. Leaders love their people and remain great stewards through consistently adding value.

                                          Credit: Pexels

                                          20. Great Leaders Tell The Truth, Are Humble And Listen

                                          Last but never least, incredible leaders always tell the truth, are humble and listen. Telling the truth is rarely comfortable, being humble requires thinking of others often and listening well takes a lifetime to master, but these are three of a leader’s strongest qualities, and only the finest commit to mastering them.

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                                          Brad Johnson

                                          Top 5 Kindle Author | Author of 10 Books

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                                          Last Updated on January 13, 2020

                                          Is It Time for a Career Change? (And How to Make the Change)

                                          Is It Time for a Career Change? (And How to Make the Change)

                                          Are you challenged at work? Do you regret career decisions? Are you happy? If the answer to the questions leads to a negative feeling, it is time to determine next steps.

                                          Many people settle for a career that no longer brings satisfaction. Most will respond by stating, “I am surviving” if a colleague asks them “How’s work?”

                                          Settling for a job to pay bills and maintain a lifestyle is stagnation. You can re-direct the journey of a career with confidence by taking control of future decisions. After all, you deserve to be live a happy life that will offer a work-life balance.

                                          Let’s look at the reasons why you need a career change and how to choose a career for a more fulfilling life.

                                          How to Know if You Need a Career Change?

                                          The challenges of dissatisfaction in a career can have a negative impact on our mental health. As a result, our mental health can lead to the obvious appearance of stress, aging, weight gain and internal health issues.

                                          You deserve a career that will fulfill the inner desire of true happiness. Here are common factors that it is time for you to change your career.

                                          Physical Signs

                                          Are you aging since you started your job? Do you have anxiety? What about work-related injuries?

                                          It feels amazing to receive a pay cheque, but you deserve to work in an environment that brings out the best of you. If the work environment is hazardous, speak to your boss about alternative options.

                                          In the case that colleagues or your boss take advantage of your kindness, feeling the anxiety of fear of losing your job because of a high-stress environment may not be right for you.

                                          Mental Signs

                                          One out of five Americans has mental health issues, according to Mental Health America.[1] In most cases, it is related to stress.


                                          I remember working at a job in a work environment where harassment was acceptable. I had to walk on eggshells to avoid crossing the line with colleagues. My friends started to notice the difference in that I seemed out of character. It was then that I knew that changing a career to freelancing was the right decision.

                                          Here is a list of mental signs of workplace unhappiness:

                                          • The tension in your neck
                                          • Difficulties with sleeping
                                          • Unable to concentrate
                                          • High anxiety
                                          • Depression

                                          If you start to feel your self-esteem is diminishing, it is time to consider if working in a high-stress industry is for you. The truth is, this negative energy will be transferred to people in your life like friends and family.

                                          Are You Sure You’re Not Changing for the Wrong Reason?

                                          Most people that feel they need a career are frustrated with their situation at work. Do you really understand your current situation at work?

                                          The reason it is important to think about the work situation is some people decide to change career for factors that are insignificant. Factors that can potentially change if the person works in a different department or new organization.

                                          Here is a list of unimportant factors to think about before you decide to make the transition:

                                          Desire for an Increase of Salary

                                          The desire for a higher income can persuade some to believe they are in the wrong career. The issue with this is more money requires more time in the office or taking on several positions at a time.

                                          At times, pursuing a high-income role can be the complete opposite of what one is expected. It is what happens when a colleague leaves a company to a new one and returns several years later.

                                          Overnight Decision

                                          Let’s face it. We make overnight decisions when stressed out or disappointed with situations at work. The problem with a quick decision is the negative and positive points is overlooked.

                                          Rejected for a Promotion

                                          I have heard stories of managers that applied ten times for a position throughout a 5-year period. Yes, it sounds to be a lengthy process, but at times, a promotion requires time. Avoid changing a career if you do not see the results of a promotion currently.


                                          Bored at Work

                                          Think deeply about this point. If you work a job that is repetitive, it is normal to feel bored. You can spice it up by changing the appearance of your desk, socializing with new employees in a different department, joining a leadership committee at work or coming to work with enthusiasm. Sometimes, all it takes is you to change jobs into a fun situation.

                                          A career change can take time, networking, education and the job search process can be a journey. Here is a list of things to consider before making a final decision:

                                          • How long have you worked in your career?
                                          • What is the problem at work? Do you work well with the team?
                                          • Do you receive recognition?
                                          • Can you consider working in a new department?

                                          If after reviewing your work situation and none of the above recommendations can help, then it’s time to make a career change.

                                          How a Career Change Will Change Your Life

                                          I have a friend that works in the medical industry. She was once a nurse working directly with patients in one of the top hospitals in her area. After five years, she started to internalize the issues with her patients to the point where she felt depressed after work hours. It impacted her relationship with her family and she almost lost herself.

                                          One day, she decided to wake up and take control of her destiny. She started applying for new medical jobs in the office. It meant working on medical documentation of patients which is not an ideal career based on what society expects a medical professional to perform. But she started to feel happier.

                                          It is a classic example of a person that was negatively impacted by issues at work, stayed in the same industry but changed careers.

                                          A career change can fulfill a lifelong dream, increase one’s self-esteem or revive the excitement for one’s work.

                                          You know a career change can be the right decision to make if you experience one or all of these:

                                          • Working in a negative workplace: Don’t be discouraged. A negative workplace can be changed by working at a new organization.
                                          • Working with a difficult boss: The challenges of working with a difficult boss can be stressful. All it takes is communication. You can address the issue directly with a manager professionally and respectfully.
                                          • Feeling lost about what you do: Most people stay at their jobs and settle for mediocrity because of the fear of failure or the unknown. The rise to success often comes with working a tedious role or stepping outside of one’s comfort zone. If you fear the idea of being involved in activities that are new, remember that life is short. Mediocrity will only continue to make you feel as if life is passing you by.

                                          How to Make a Career Change Successfully

                                          The ultimate key to success is to go through a career transition step by step to avoid making the wrong decision.

                                          1. Write a Career Plan

                                          A career plan has a dead line for action steps that includes taking new courses, learning a new language, networking or improving issues at work.[2] A career plan should be kept in your wallet because it will motivate you to keep pursuing the role.


                                          You can learn how to set your career plan here.

                                          2. Weigh Your Options

                                          If you have a degree in Accounting, write down five positions in this industry of interest. The good news is diplomas and degrees can be used to a variety of roles to choose.

                                          You don’t have to stick to what society holds a top job. In the end, choosing the right role that will make you happy is priceless.

                                          3. Be Real About the Pros and Cons

                                          It is time to be honest about strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in the job market that are impacting the current situation.

                                          A SWOT Analysis of a career can include:[3]

                                          • Economic factors
                                          • Direct competition: Is this role in high demand?
                                          • Location: Do you need to move? If the goal is to work in tech and living in Cincinnati is not realistic, consider moving to San Francisco.
                                          • Achievements: To stand out from the competition achievements like awards, committee involvement, freelance work or volunteering is a recipe for success.
                                          • Education: Do you need to go back to school? Education can be expensive. However, online courses, webinars or self-study is an option.

                                            A career blueprint is the first step to creating realistic goals. A person without goals will be disappointed without a clear direction of what to do next.

                                            4. Find a Mentor or Career Coach

                                            A mentor or a career coach that works in the desired position can share the pros and cons of working in the role. Here is a list of questions to ask a mentor:

                                            • What is required to be successful in the role?
                                            • What certification or educational development is needed?
                                            • What are the challenges of the role?
                                            • Is there potential for career advancement?

                                            A chat at a coffee shop with a mentor can change your mind about the desire for a career change.

                                            Find out how to pick a good mentor for yourself in this article: How to Find a Mentor That Will Help You Succeed


                                            5. Research Salary

                                            Some people decide to change careers for a role that pays less or perks like benefits to make up for the difference in previous to potential salary.

                                            It can reveal the cities throughout the country that offer a higher salary for those that have an interest in relocating for work.

                                            6. Be Realistic

                                            If your goal is to move up into an executive position, it is time to be honest about where you are in your career.

                                            For example, if boardroom meetings, high-level discussions about financials or attending weekly networking events are boring, an executive role may not be right for you. If you are an introvert and working with people every day is nerve wrecking, you need to reconsider a job in sales.

                                            Ask yourself if you can work in this role for the next five years of your life. If other benefits that come with the role are enticing, other roles are fit that will make you happy.

                                            7. Volunteer First

                                            A person that wants to become a manager should take on volunteer opportunities to experience the reality of the position.

                                            Becoming a committee member to pursue a presidential opportunity can provide a perspective on leadership, maintaining a budget and public speaking.

                                            Volunteer in a role until you are certain that it is the right opportunity.

                                            8. Prepare Your Career Tools

                                            I recommend asking a boss, colleague or mentor for career tools. If you prefer professional assistance, you can seek out resume writing assistance. Here is a list of things to consider when preparing career tools:

                                            • Online search: Search your name online to see what shows up. I recommend searching images that are on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat or other sites on a personal account. The last thing you want to realize is the job search is unsuccessful because there is unprofessional content you posted online.
                                            • Be LinkedIn ready: Recruiters conduct a LinkedIn search to see if the work experience is the same on a resume. Remember to change the wording on LinkedIn from the resume, or it will appear there was no effort put into creating the profile.
                                            • Portfolio: A portfolio of work is recommended for people that work in the arts, writing, graphic design and other fields. I recommend a portfolio online and one that is available in hand when attending job interviews or networking meetups.
                                            • Cover letter: A good cover writer will always impress your potential employers. Here’s how to write a killer cover letter that stands out from others.

                                            Bottom Line

                                            It takes time to move towards a new career. Pay attention to the physical and mental signs to maintain your health. You deserve to work in happiness and come home stress-free. If you avoid the common mistakes people make, you will find a job and discover the role in a career field that is the best fit with your skillsets.

                                            Master these action steps and changing career paths will be on your terms to make the best decision for your future.

                                            More About Career Change

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                                            [1] Mental Health America: The State of Mental Health in America
                                            [2] MIT Global Education & Career Development: Make a Career Plan
                                            [3] Creately: Personal SWOT Analysis to Assess and Improve Yourself

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