The world needs strong and effective leadership – in government, at work, and in our homes. No doubt you have seen, and may be frustrated by, the leadership void that seems to be growing. People are abdicating their power for various reasons. Now, more than ever, leaders need to be operating at their best.

When the time came for me to hire a President for my services company a few years ago, I knew I had a leadership challenge ahead of me. After 23 years as Founder and CEO, it was critical that I chose an individual who would exude our core values and continue to move the company forward in a positive way.

I began to think about the leadership attributes that were important, and developed a list of the key characteristics I wanted to see in our new President. This list helped us achieve a successful transition and we now use it as a hiring and development tool for all leaders in the organization.

Here are 10 Characteristics of a True Leader. As you review the list ask yourself: What are your top leadership qualities? Where could you improve? How could you lead more effectively?

1) Integrity

The greatest leaders are impeccable with their word, and care about doing the right thing. Their actions match their words and are congruent with their values.

2) Positive Attitude

Great leaders find a way to solve a problem or overcome a new challenge. They choose to exude the type of attitude that will influence their team in a positive way.

3) Passion

Passion fuels great leaders. It is a never-ending source of energy that separates the doers from the dreamers. It is what initially attracts followers and inspires them.

4) Vision

Great leaders know where they’re headed and why. They’ve always got one foot in the future and one in the present. They view their role as manifesting their vision of the future.

5) Confidence

Confidence is necessary for staying the course when things get tough. Great leaders have an abundance of confidence, without being arrogant. They accept what they’re not good at and are self-secure so that they surround themselves with people whose strengths complement their own.

6) Accountability

True leaders strive for excellence and doing their best and achieve results. They hold themselves and their team accountable to commitments made and own their decisions and actions.

7) Growth Minded

The best leaders are deeply dedicated to continuous improvement and life-long learning. They are constantly seeking ways to grow and improve themselves, so they remain competent and relevant.

8) Servant Hearted

True leaders genuinely care about others and have a desire to serve. They consider it a high honor and responsibility to serve those they have been given the privilege to lead.

9) Communication

Great leaders strive to be excellent communicators. They are responsive and reliable and deliver on their commitments. They listen to others and are sincere and consistent in what and how they communicate.

10) Empowerment

They set their people up for success. They don’t leave them to fend for themselves, nor do they throw them under a bus – for any reason.


The best leaders share several traits and attitudes. Sometimes you can get caught in the swirl of constant change and forget your own development as a leader. However, your leadership and continued growth as a leader is one of the most important things you can do for yourself.