100 Leadership Qualities: What’s Your Signature Style of Leading?

There’s an entire industry of books and seminars founded on the assumption that if you just learn the right set skills and behaviors, you’ll be a leader (though which skills those are, few seem to agree on). I’m here to tell you there’s an easier way: pay attention to your existing leadership qualities.

I’ve spent over two decades helping women develop their leadership skills, and I’m honored that 100,000 professional women have dedicated time to their development by attending my workshops, webinars, and coaching programs. Along the way, I’ve seen how easy it is to get bogged down on the path to realizing our leadership potential. I frequently watch women be unaware of how much they already are a leader. Their internal monologue whispers, “But I’m not a leader yet,” when in fact they have bucketloads of leadership ability.

Claiming your value starts with understanding where your power comes from, and one of the best things you can do for your self-development is to identify all of the ways in which you are already a leader.

Here’s a list of 100 leadership qualities crowdsourced from 1,200 of my workshop participants, followed by a simple exercise you can use to uncover your signature leadership strengths.

100 Leadership Qualities

A leader is someone who:

1.    Sees the big picture
2.    Thinks strategically
3.    Focuses on the future
4.    Sets the vision
5.    Sets the direction
6.    Displays a strong business acumen
7.    Strives for continuous improvement
8.    Sees a cross-functional, cross-organizational view
9.    Thinks critically
10.  Focuses on the customer
11.  Possesses strong interpersonal skills
12.  Communicates with transparency
13.  Sends clear messages
14.  Speaks in an impactful way
15.  Delivers effective speaking presentations
16.  Gives open, honest, and direct feedback
17.  Listens to understand
18.  Asks the right questions at the right time
19.  Manages crises and conflict with ease
20.  Breaks down complex information in simple terms
21.  Interacts comfortably with people at all levels
22.  Stays positive and constructive during difficult conversations
23.  Finds middle ground and a path forward
24.  Goes above and beyond
25.  Focuses on results
26.  Likes to succeed
27.  Drives results
28.  Gets things done
29.  Embraces and leads change
30.  Acts decisively
31.  Stays goal-oriented and solution-focused
32.  Makes decisions in times of ambiguity
33.  Completes difficult tasks despite obstacles
34.  Exudes energy and determination
35.  Pushes for what she believes in
36.  Embodies a positive attitude
37.  Has tenacity and curiosity
38.  Strives to accomplish what she commits to doing
39.  Takes ownership
40.  Takes charge and assumes responsibility
41.  Sets high standards
42.  Has excellent organizational skills
43.  Takes risks
44.  Is fearless
45.  Exudes honesty and dependability
46.  Wins trust
47.  Earns respect
48.  Collaborates
49.  Operates with integrity and fairness
50.  Has a thirst for learning
51.  Shares know-how
52.  Shows empathy
53.  Is supportive and caring
54.  Stays calm in difficult situations
55.  Possesses leadership presence
56.  Leads by example
57.  Serves as a role model
58.  Stands up for she believes in
59.  Is an influencer
60.  Inspires and empowers others
61.  Motivates others during times of uncertainty
62.  Influences without authority
63.  Works across functions to get things done
64.  Manages up, down, and across
65.  Engages differing points of view
66.  Builds teams and fosters teamwork
67.  Instills a sense of community
68.  Adapts her message to the environment
69.  Rallies people to achieve a common goal
70.  Creates a shared sense of purpose
71.  Relates work to the organization’s goals
72.  Motivates people and aligns them around team goals
73.  Ensures team spirit is upbeat
74.  Builds collaborative teams
75.  Inspires people to act and move toward goals
76.  Delegates
77.  Sets clear expectations
78.  Trusts others to do their jobs without micromanaging
79.  Enables others to be successful
80.  Removes obstacles from a team’s path
81.  Gives positive and constructive feedback
82.  Allows people to learn from mistakes
83.  Develops strong talent
84.  Mentors, coaches, and develops people
85.  Empowers others
86.  Provides people with the tools and autonomy to get things done
87.  Acts as a strong advocate for those she manages and mentors
88.  Gives credit where it is due
89.  Celebrates others’ achievements
90.  Rewards good performance
91.  Creates opportunities for visibility
92.  Attributes successes to those who contributed
93.  Builds up team members and helps them grow
94.  Understands the motivations of others to inspire them in their work
95.  Identifies and utilizes others’ strengths
96.  Encourages others to do their best
97.  Cares about the well-being of the team
98.  Enjoys seeing others succeed
99.  Brings out the best in people
100.  Helps others shine

You can download a printable list at www.jomiller.com/100qualities.

Exercise

Step 1: Read back over the list of 100 qualities with a more deliberate focus. Highlight all of the characteristics you recognize in yourself.

Step 2: Focusing on your strengths and innate leadership style, select 3 qualities you’d most like to own and be known for 12 months from today. It might help to group similar qualities (such as “Sets the vision” and “Sets the direction”) into one category.

Or share this list with a handful people who know you well. Ask: “Which three qualities best describe my leadership strengths?”

Step 3: Write down your three leadership strengths and put them somewhere where you’ll see them as a daily reminder. Look for everyday actions you can take to own the heck out of these three qualities.

Developing as a leader is not about changing yourself. It’s about becoming yourself. When you emulate someone else’s style, you cancel out your own. You feel like an imposter, and that’s no way to lead boldly and effectively.

Think of these key attributes as a platform from which you can lead, rise, and thrive—without selling out your soul. As you learn and grow, stay anchored in these strengths, and what you can uniquely contribute as a leader. Give yourself permission to show up as you are and grow from there.

Adapted from Woman of Influence: 9 Steps to Build Your Brand, Establish Your Legacy, and Thrive by Jo Miller, (McGraw-Hill).

This post first appeared at Forbes.com.

Jo Miller

Jo Miller is a globally renowned authority on women’s leadership. She’s dedicated two decades to helping women advance into positions of influence by leveraging their leadership strengths. Based on her work with hundreds of thousands of women, she developed a pragmatic and powerful roadmap that guides women to become the leaders they aspire to be. Jo shares this proven process in her book Woman of Influence: 9 Steps to Build Your Brand, Establish Your Legacy, and Thrive (McGraw Hill, 2019.)

Jo is CEO of leadership development, consulting and research firm Be Leaderly. Learn more about her speaking engagements at www.JoMiller.com and follow @Jo_Miller on Twitter.

25 Questions to Ask a Mentor

Whenever I’m asked “What are some of the best questions to ask a ...

25 Songs For Your Leadership Playlist

What are your all-time favorite leadership songs — the ones that make you ...

Four Types of Questions To Ask Your Mentor

Have conversations with your mentor gotten a bit repetitive lately? Perhaps you approached ...

How to Shut Down a Colleague Who Takes Credit for Your Work

Has this ever happened to you? You’re in a meeting and the unthinkable ...

11 Leadership Lessons Learned

Here are 11 lessons I’ve learned about leadership—mostly from much-admired colleagues, and just ...

5 Ways to be a Leader, Not a Manager

Have you ever wondered about the difference between a manager and a leader? ...

100 Leadership Qualities

What are your leadership strengths? That’s a question I ask in a survey ...

10 Killer Leadership Skills: The Great Differentiators?

Last week at Hallmark I hosted a couple gentlemen from a partner company. ...

15 Leadership Quotes to Help You be a Leader, Not a Manager

Sometimes you need a reminder and some inspiration to be a leader, not ...

Influencing Without Authority—Using Your Six Sources of Influence

I am in the difficult situation of being unofficial project lead, responsible for ...

Leaderly Quote: The tasks you let go of…
Leaderly Quote: The tasks you let go of…

“Shoulds” are tasks or obligations we take on, accompanied by an inner monologue that goes,

How to Write a Simple and Beautiful Manifesto
How to Write a Simple and Beautiful Manifesto

Traditionally, a manifesto is a written statement where you publicly declare your… – Intentions (what

Leaderly Quote: Leadership is not about doing more
Leaderly Quote: Leadership is not about doing more

You probably already had a to-do list longer than a CVS receipt before this global

What’s on Your Not-To-Do List?
What’s on Your Not-To-Do List?

Leadership is not about doing more. It’s about switching from doing to leading. From this

100 Leadership Qualities: What’s Your Signature Style of Leading?
100 Leadership Qualities: What’s Your Signature Style of Leading?

There’s an entire industry of books and seminars founded on the assumption that if you

20 Leadership Quotes by Women to Inspire You in 2020
20 Leadership Quotes by Women to Inspire You in 2020

20 of our favorite leadership quotes by women At Be Leaderly, we’re on a mission

Happy Holidays 2019
Happy Holidays 2019

May your Holidays sparkle with moments of love, laughter, and goodwill, and may the year

5 Ways to Shift From Doing to Leading
5 Ways to Shift From Doing to Leading

To become a leader, there is a series of key shifts in mindset and behavior

You Do You: Claim Your Leadership Strengths
You Do You: Claim Your Leadership Strengths

We are often so focused on trying to fix our weaknesses that we neglect to

Leaderly Quote: We are often so focused on trying to fix our weaknesses…
Leaderly Quote: We are often so focused on trying to fix our weaknesses…

We are often so focused on trying to fix our weaknesses that we neglect to

At Be Leaderly, our mission is a simple one: To provide proven career strategies that help you lead, climb, and thrive as a rising woman of influence. If you’re ready to lead, we’re here to support and inspire you.

Copyright 2020, Be Leaderly