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Not everyone is cut out for a leadership position. Author and management consultant Peter Drucker once said, “Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to high sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.” Leading people is an incredible responsibility. When I think of the best leaders, some of the traits that come to mind are empathy, integrity and being a good communicator. However, some qualities that make for a good leader are less obvious. Below, we’ll look at a few of these traits.


Prioritize Personal and Professional Development

While leaders need to invest in their employees, it’s just as crucial that they invest in themselves. Taking time to develop your own skills and foster your own personal and professional development will better equip you to lead others. Failing to take the time to focus on your own growth may lead to getting stuck in a rut and accepting the status quo while also falling behind in developments in your industry.


Commit to Cultural Competence

Another often overlooked trait that makes for a good leader is cultural competence. Due to the increasingly diverse workforce and globalization, being able to tactfully manage interactions with people from cultures different from your own is critical. Make an effort to learn from the people around you and seek educational opportunities to increase your cultural awareness. 


Always Be Approachable

Even if you have everything else going for you, if your employees aren’t comfortable approaching you with questions or concerns, you won’t be able to lead effectively. Strive to make your employees feel valued and heard. Make yourself available. A leader who is constantly locked in an office or only interacts with employees to offer criticism is intimidating. Take time to encourage your employees and build a positive rapport so they feel like they can come to you when needed.


Have a Sense of Humor

Finally, one other unlikely trait is having a sense of humor. It’s inevitable that things will go wrong and your team will make mistakes. Sometimes those mistakes are serious and, as a leader, they may call for disciplinary action. Other times, mistakes can be small and inconsequential. Laughing about silly mistakes makes a significant difference in relieving stress, both for you and your employees. Presenting an exclusively serious demeanor will only make you more unapproachable.


Do you possess any of those traits?