"A leader is a dealer in hope." Napoleon Bonaparte

You invested effort, perfected your knowledge, and now you are a leader. We couldn't be more happy!

Transitioning into a leadership role is a commendable achievement, but true leadership extends beyond technical expertise. Effective leadership hinges on qualities often referred to as "soft skills" or "people skills".

According to a recent SHRM study, employers place more emphasis on some soft skills over technical skills such as:

1. Active listening

2. Communication and,

3. Adaptability

In today's landscape of continuous performance management and regular coaching, soft skills have become indispensable in a leader's toolkit.

This article explores the key traits that differentiate a competent leader and how they underpin successful leadership.

Whether you're aspiring to lead or aiming to enhance your leadership abilities, the following qualities serve as the foundation for success.  

10 Qualities of a Good Manager

Over the past decade, the characteristics of a successful leader have evolved.

In the past, the focus was on experience and technical skills. But today, the focus is on interpersonal skills.  

These soft skills complement and enhance broader aspects of leadership excellence like building trust, showing empathy and accountability. Exceptional leaders at the best workplaces excel in these areas. They help create an environment where employees feel valued, connected, heard, and recognized.

Certain leadership qualities have a positive impact on employee engagement, retention, and the ability to attract top talent.

1. They Establish Transparency 

Transparent communication helps employees in leadership roles stay well informed about important company decisions.

When leaders communicate openly and honestly, employees feel like true partners in the company's journey, even if they don't always agree with the choices. This sense of inclusion increases their value and involvement.

2. They're Effective Communicators

Great leaders are good communicators. They engage with their teams, and actively spend time understanding and listening to them.

Leaders are effective communicators

Managers who care about employee concerns and listen in an active manner create a positive workplace that promotes loyalty and performance.  

61% of employees consider trust between senior management and employees to be an important factor in job satisfaction.

Source: SHRM

Building and maintaining employee trust is key to creating a positive work environment and defining effective leadership. 

3. They're Empathetic 

Leaders who show empathy create a compassionate workplace. Understanding and considering employees' feelings and viewpoints fosters a supportive environment. As a result, employees trust management decisions, and commit to the organization's goals.

4. Confident Decision Makers

Besides having understanding and empathy, a good leader must make decisions in a quick and confident manner. This skill becomes especially important in difficult times.

If a leader is able to assess situations without hesitation, gather information and decide on a course of action, it creates trust and confidence in the team, which directs everyone in a clear direction.

5. They create forward momentum through vision and goal setting

Effective managers go beyond managing tasks; they create a clear path to their team's goals. By presenting a compelling vision and involving team members in setting goals, a leader fosters a sense of shared ownership and enthusiasm.

When employees take part in formulating goals, they feel a stronger connection to the team's mission and are motivated to give their best.

6. Takes Ownership

A leader who takes responsibility for his choices and actions is a strong role model for his team. Acknowledging mistakes and using them as opportunities for growth promotes a culture of accountability. This culture not only boosts team morale, but also encourages continuous improvement.

When a leader demonstrates accountability, it sets a precedent that encourages each team member to be accountable for their contributions and results.

7. Leads By Example

When a leader adopts a closed mindset, it is difficult to connect with team members and lead them in an effective manner. Maintaining the professionalism, dedication, and commitment expected of the team demonstrates strong leadership.

Essentially, a leader must embody the values ​​they expect their team to live by, setting a positive precedent for everyone.

8. They Stand Behind Their Decisions

The main characteristic of a leader is the ability to make decisions and stick to them. A constant change of mind can make employees uncomfortable.

A leader who exudes confidence is not afraid to make mistakes. The best leaders see adversity as opportunities for growth and learning, showing resilience in the face of challenges.

Employees tend to distance themselves from leaders who refuse to acknowledge the consequences of their decisions.

9. Embraces Personal Growth 

Becoming a professional manager and leader is a gradual process that requires patience. Take the advice above and seek guidance from experienced people who have worked in similar roles.

Learning from their insights can improve your leadership skills over time and help you become a more effective leader. Remember that mastery takes time, so be patient with yourself as you strive for continuous improvement.

10. Knowledge promoters

Effective leaders understand their organization's operations and the role of knowledge sharing. They serve as positive role models, fostering ongoing engagement and continuous learning. Encourage your team to embrace knowledge sharing and continuous development for a successful workplace.

Asking the proper questions and encouraging continual development are contributing factors to a company's success. Here are 19 engaging questions every leader must ask their employees to assess their engagement, and create a harmonius workplace.

Closing thoughts

In the words of Napoleon Bonaparte: "A boss is a distributor of hope." Effective leadership goes beyond task delegation. It's about inspiration and motivation. Successful leaders combine technical skills with qualities that elevate teams to their highest potential. Remember, leadership is an ongoing journey of skill development and empowering others. It's about letting others shine and mastering "soft skills.


1. What Are Five Effective Management Skills a Good Manager Has?

Typical management skills every good manager possesses:
a) Transparent communication
b) Active listening
c) Empathy
d) Confident decision-making
e) The ability to set and communicate clear goals and vision for their team's success.

2. What Are the Top 10 Responsibilities of a Manager?

  1. Setting clear expectations.
  2. Providing feedback and coaching.
  3. Leading by example.
  4. Managing resources effectively.
  5. Promoting teamwork and collaboration.
  6. Setting and achieving goals.
  7. Handling conflicts and challenges.
  8. Supporting employee growth and development.
  9. Communicating openly and transparently.
  10. Ensuring the team's success.