10 Most Powerful Leadership Qualities

When defining leadership, the late Warren Bennis and Robert J. Thomas of the Harvard Business Review suggest, “One of the most reliable indicators and predictors of true leadership is an individual’s ability to find meaning in negative events and to learn from even the most trying circumstances.”

To put it another way, they wrote, the skills required to conquer adversity and emerge stronger and more committed than ever are the same ones that make for extraordinary leaders.

One element necessary for the proper functions of every business is a staff that demonstrates quality leadership skills. And while the term may seem abstract as it’s stretched across industries, there are certain qualities that provide leadership with a concrete definition, regardless of the business.

Leadership Qualities at a Glance

Honesty and Integrity

Leadership careers require professionals who are passionate about their company’s goals and passionate about their staff. According to Heidi Grant Halvorson, a psychologist who studies the science of motivation and communication, a staff’s overall commitment to team goals is likely to increase when the leader is a trustworthy individual.

Strong Communication

As stated in a previous article, strong communication promotes better teamwork and collaboration. It contributes to successful completion of group projects within a company, and the business’ goals overall.


Professionals in leadership positions are often hired because of their superior education or experience. It’s important for these individuals to understand that each staff member may still be learning his or her role and may require more time to understand company concepts.

Ability to Delegate

Accompanying the importance of patience, leaders must demonstrate proper delegation skills when it comes to assigning specific tasks to staff members. When a leader understands the strengths of individual team members, projects can be completed quickly and more efficiently.


Leaders demonstrate their ability to lead by providing action-oriented advice during performance reviews. Through such feedback, leaders can guide their staff members to individual improvement and large-scale success.


It’s important for leaders to understand that staff members are humans with responsibilities outside of work. When it comes to demonstrating a sense of understanding when a staff member makes a mistake or must tend to other priorities, practicing empathy can establish trust and compassion, resulting in stronger relationships between leaders and their staff.


To effectively accomplish business goals, leaders must understand the value of each member of their staff, as these individuals may have knowledge that the leader does not.


Planning for the future is an important responsibility every leader must face. To establish realistic business goals and to create effective plans of action, leaders must understand where a business stands along with the capabilities of each staff member.


While not all staff members communicate with each other daily, leaders must be prepared to communicate with every member of a business at all times. By subscribing to a consistent routine of open communication, and establishing normalcy throughout a business, leaders can promote trust.


Most importantly, a leader must not be afraid of failure. Failure is natural and sometimes occurs against a company’s greatest efforts, and it’s important that leaders learn from their mistakes.

How an MBA Empowers Leaders

Earning a Master of Business Administration is a proven pathway to becoming a leader in business. Designed to create new generations of leaders, this degree provides students with the right knowledge and skills to develop the characteristics that define leadership.

Virginia Wesleyan University’s online MBA program allows students to sharpen their leadership skills on their own time, regardless of where their busy schedules may take them. As an online student as Virginia Wesleyan, you can count on the following variety of skill-building practices:

  • innovation-improving exercises
  • career-focused tasks to promote your entrepreneurial spirit
  • hands-on learning techniques to improve your practical accounting, management and marketing skills

Discover your pathway to a managerial position with Virginia Wesleyan University and learn more about how you can complete your online MBA on your own time today.