8 Good Leadership Qualities Often Overlooked

Leadership Trait Theory

Most employers keep a careful eye out for leadership potential in both existing employees and new applicants.

The common good leadership qualities, such as ambitious, goal-oriented , ability to work efficiently with a team, and ability to delegate tasks effectively, are known all too well by almost every business owner and human resources professional.

There are, however, several traits of great leaders that often go overlooked. Here are a few of the leadership qualities that are too often ignored by businesses.



One of the most important traits of successful leaders is the ability to understand what their underlings are dealing with.

Empathy, or the ability to understand and identify with another person's feelings, is therefore of key importance when evaluating leadership potential.

Some people promoted into leadership positions lack this vital quality. In many cases this leads to employees being pushed to overwork themselves resulting in stress, or being put into unreasonable positions by a superior who cannot empathize with the problems he or she has created for them.


Another good leadership quality that is often ignored is self-awareness.

Being self-aware may not play into day-to-day business operations, but it will be an important element in determining a leader's relationship with those who work directly under him or her. Being self-aware allow leaders to evaluate their own strengths and weaknesses and to manage underlings in a way that takes those factors into account. Self-awareness is one of the many important skills taught in leadership courses.


When discussing what traits make a good leader, few are more important than studiousness.

Poor leaders do whatever they have to do to be promoted into leadership positions, and then allow themselves to coast afterwards.

Good leaders, on the other hand, continue working diligently to keep their skills up to date and ensure they are on the cutting edge of their industries, even after having gained management positions.

Leaders who do this will not only be able to rise even higher later on, but will also be able to lead their current teams in the most effective way possible.

Ability to Instill Hope

Instil Hope in Your Followers

At some point, every working team will face a negative situation or set of circumstances. It is in these situations that the good traits of a leader can set up that team for future success or failure.

Instilling hope in a team, especially when that team is experiencing difficulties, is essential to maintaining motivation through tough times. A leader who can instill hope in his or her team will be able to get things back on track and keep every worker motivated to accomplish the necessary goals.

An essential subset of this skill is the ability to successfully orchestrate team building efforts, as these can bring teams closer together.



One of the key traits of great leaders, the ability to listen carefully and with an open mind is essential for anyone who wants to move up into a leadership position.

Listening to your followers is not only important for handling projects effectively, but also for instilling trust and loyalty in team members. Leaders who listen will be a huge asset to any workplace, so listening should be a trait to look for in a potential management candidate.

Listening is also another way to show others that you care about them. Everyone wants to be led by the leader who genuinely cares about who they are and what they think.

Many leaders and managers tend to keep it professional and distance themselves from their underlings’ personal lives, thinking that their relationship with their staff should be limited to work. This is not necessarily true. It won’t hurt a leader to show that they interested in the general well-being and non-work lives of their team members.

Further Reading from Skills You Need

The Skills You Need Guide to Leadership

The Skills You Need Guide to Leadership eBooks

Learn more about the skills you need to be an effective leader.

Our eBooks are ideal for new and experienced leaders and are full of easy-to-follow practical information to help you to develop your leadership skills.


One of the good traits of a leader that is the hardest to find is authenticity.

Leaders who are authentic, however, can be a huge asset in all areas of business. Authentic leaders will be able to form personal connections not only with those they supervise, but also with customers and clients.

Authenticity is also one of the areas that has been harmed by modern managerial approaches, as many management candidates feel the need to adopt personas that are in line with typical leadership personality traits. With so many people attempting to become leaders, some forget that part of being a good leader involves being yourself.


A leader isn't really a leader until he or she guides a team towards a vision or goal.

Every leader should have a specific set of goals for the team he or she is managing. Just as important, however, is the ability to communicate that goal to the team and get other team members enthused about it.

If a person in your organization can envision long-term goals and communicate them effectively to others, that person has one of the most important and most often overlooked traits of successful leaders.



As good as having long-term goals and being able to instill hope are, a great leader also needs to be able to balance these qualities with a practical approach to work and business.

Pragmatic approaches to goals will help to keep a leader grounded and focused on the immediate tasks at hand. A leader without pragmatism may be able to inspire others, but it is very unlikely that he or she will be able to turn that inspiration into real action.

These eight qualities are some of the traits of successful leaders that many people forget about when looking at leadership potential.

Looking for these traits within an organization, or in any setting where leadership is required, will help you to identify the natural leaders within any group. Of course, having these traits is only the beginning. Like anything, becoming a great leader isn't something that happens overnight.

Leadership is a skill that must be developed and cultivated in order to reach its apex. Finding the raw talent and temperament to be a leader, however, is the first step in this process.

About the Author

This article was written by Yazi, an inspired writer who researches and writes content for several companies. She loves to read, write, and learn over a cup of coffee.

Yazi believes ‘learning and sharing’ has no end to it and this is what inspires her to continue learning something new and contributing good content.