Top Traits of An Effective Leader That You Need To Know

It is a question that many people seem to have a similar answer to; what makes an effective leader?

Ideally, a supervisor at your workplace or at your university course will listen to you, give you feedback in a positive way, and will help you to grow in your skill set. Sadly, in real life, people are tired, stressed, and obsessed with deadlines being met, which can mean that the leaders that you have in your life may come across as a bit bossy or impatient.

So, if you are being promoted at work to a managerial role, or you are looking to start your own business with staff, you may have been thinking about what makes a good leader, and how you can be one. But (as mentioned before) the real world is a bit different from the imagined one and it can be hard to know exactly how to put those ideas into practice.

In this article, what it takes to be an effective leader will be explored, so you can assess if you have any of these qualities and will help you to identify areas that you may need to build on.


When it comes to being an effective leader, the first skill you need to have is self-awareness. What does that mean in practice? Well, a self-aware leader is able to reflect on their own behavior and change it as and when needed. If you are meeting with a client, for instance, you need to show a different face to the one you would show to your staff. Self-awareness can also mean admitting mistakes and facing up to consequences.

If this sounds like a skill you are confused about, don’t worry. There are many leadership courses available that can help you learn how to be more self-aware, such as an online EdD leadership training program.


Being an effective leader also means that you will need to be fair and balanced in any judgments that you make. Do you really want to blame Carol for Mike’s mistakes, even if you don’t get on with Carol? Do you want to lie about your knowledge of something to your staff?

Being ethical also means having a sense of justice in all areas of your work, so if someone is being blamed for something that they didn’t do by another member of staff, you need to step in and resolve the issue.


Clarity is key when it comes to leadership. Never hide anything from your staff what they need to know, and always be crystal clear when asking your staff to finish a task or start one. Do not assume that your staff are psychic! This will not end well and may lead to issues with staff retention in the long term.

Also, if your staff are confused, take the time to communicate with them in a different way. Every person has a different learning style, and as a supervisor, manager, or another authority role, it is your job to teach them the skill in a way that they can relate to. You should not simply teach it in a certain way because it is easiest for you.


If you have a member of staff that is struggling, do not confront them about it. Aim to set the time aside to ask them what is wrong, and if there is anything you can do to help them.

Being an empathetic leader means seeing your staff as people, rather than machines that you can boss around. This can mean having to have uncomfortable conversations with them, it will mean listening to their points of view and considering them, while also exploring practical solutions to their issues with them. You will also need to show active listening, which is another skill that you can learn in a leadership or even counseling course.


At some time in your life, you will have had a boss or manager who was not approachable. Think back and consider what made them this way. Were they moody? Were they dismissive? Or did they simply not listen? To be an effective leader, you need to be approachable to all the people that you manage. In practice, this can look like having your office door open, reiterating to your staff that you are there to listen, or simply taking the time to talk to everyone on your team.

A team that feels they can approach their boss or manager about any issue is more likely to stay around and perform well on the job.