The Essential Attributes of a Leader

Posted: July 5th, 2021

Important Leadership Skills for Workplace Success Infographics

Successful leaders possess unique attributes that set them apart from the rest, making them effective leaders and leaders that are able to inspire their followers. These unique attributes set apart successful leaders from unsuccessful ones. They also direct their actions, decision-making, and behavior as leaders. A good leader is able to lead their organization and provide direction to their followers or employees, towards the achievement of organizational goals and targets. It is only through effective leadership that an organization can live its mission and achieve its vision. There are numerous attributes that successful leaders possess, with the key ones being honesty, confidence, innovativeness, commitment, creativity, strong work ethic, accountability, transparency, self-belief, being an effective communicator, patience, and persistence (Van Eeden et al., 2008).

A successful leader is able to bring his or her subordinates and employees together, bringing about organizational change through visionary and transformational leadership. He or she has the interests of the organization and the people at heart and leads with strict observance of ethical concepts and moral values such as transparency, honesty, and accountability. In addition, a successful leader is able to align employees with the goals of the organization and motivate them towards their achievement.

Acquisition of Unique Attributes

The leadership attributes listed are acquired over a long period of time through exposure to career challenges and hurdles and through leadership experience. As an individual goes through their career path, experiencing different challenges and developing ways to overcome them and get things done, they are able to acquire and develop attributes such as persistence, patience, innovativeness, and creativity. Attributes such as commitment and being able to communicate effectively are developed over time as an individual within an organization works closely with other employees or colleagues towards the accomplishment of organizational tasks. Other attributes such as confidence and self-belief are acquired and developed through experience and withstanding various work challenges.

An individual has to learn to believe in the ability of their employees, over time, for him or her to develop confidence in the organization that he or she leads. A leader acquires values such as integrity and transparency through experience and exposure along the journey of developing an organizational culture and code of conduct. Creativity is an important attribute that is acquired over time as a solution to the desire of a leader to achieve success by overcoming recurrent organizational challenges (Johnston, 2017). Through the continuous management of workers, developing organizational plans, and building an organizational culture, a leader is able to acquire unique skills and attributes that make them successful leaders. However, there are some attributes that a leader can acquire through being taught, including communicating effectively and practicing integrity.

An individual can learn various attributes through listening, observation, or practice. A leader can observe the behavior of another leader and emulate them, becoming a successful leader. A leader can identify a deficiency in their leadership and seek to be taught or to learn from other leaders, so as to fix the deficiency. It may, however, take a lot of time and exercise to perfect learned attributes.

Demonstration of Leadership Attributes

Leadership approaches and attributes affect and influence how organizations perform and the achievement of organizational goals. The current CEO of IBM, Ginni Rometty, places moral values and a high ethical standard at the core of her leadership (Husain, 2018). She is able to motivate her employees and align them towards goal achievement. She treats her employees with respect and values their contributions to organizational development. She has been able to develop an effective organizational culture and lead the company to success through her visionary leadership. The business success that the company enjoys today can be attributed to the attributes and leadership approach of Ginni Rometty.


In conclusion, successful leaders possess certain attributes that set them apart from other leaders or members of an organization. These attributes or traits are acquired over time through exposure to different challenges and scenarios in the course of their work and leadership. There are some traits that can be acquired through observation, imitation, and practice, such as the ability to communicate effectively. However, learning leadership attributes from other leaders or from school education takes a lot of time to perfect the skills learned, through trial and error. It is important that leaders identify attributes that are important in leadership and seek to fix any attribute deficiencies that they may have.


Husain, H. (2018, January 10). 5 Leadership Qualities of Ginni Rometty that has Made IBM a Force to Reckon with. Retrieved July 30, 2019, from

Johnston, A. (2017). Book Review: Leadership-as-practice: Theory and application.

Van Eeden, R., Cilliers, F., & Van Deventer, V. (2008). Leadership styles and associated personality traits: Support for the conceptualisation of transactional and transformational leadership. South African Journal of Psychology, 38(2), 253-267.

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