What Makes an Effective Leader? How to Pick Your Next Team Leader

Is it time to designate a new team leader? What Makes an Effective Leader? How to Pick Your Next Team Leader

Not everyone is cut out for being a leader, and that’s okay. Every great project needs people with all kinds of unique skillsets. But what makes an effective leader? How do you pinpoint someone who has those desirable skills?

We’re here to offer you advice so you can find the best team leader for your project. We’ll explain how to be an effective leader so you know what to look out for.

Keep reading to learn all about the qualities of an effective leader.


One of the first qualities that all good leaders exhibit is integrity.

When someone displays integrity, they’re showing people that they have (and stick to) values and morals regardless of the situation. They have ethics and principles that extend even beyond the workplace, and these things help them lead.

When someone displays integrity, it’s easier to trust and follow them. It’s difficult to be loyal to someone who is inconsistent.

Listening Skills

While leaders should be good talkers, they also need to be able to listen. This can present itself in several ways.

First, good leaders should display and practice active listening skills. When someone is an active listener, they’re able to fully “hear” the other members of the conversation instead of just waiting their turn to talk.

Active listeners are engaging and they make their conversation partners more comfortable. They’re able to display comforting and neutral body language, keep solid eye contact, and mirror the other party.

An active listener will show that they’re listening by asking questions, paraphrasing what the other person has said, and nodding along during the conversation.

A good listener also has to be able to listen to input from others, even if they don’t agree with it or it upsets them. Being able to let other people lead for a moment while the “leader” listens is crucial.


Self-awareness is key for any good leader.

When a leader is self-aware, they’re able to improve. They know their weaknesses and strengths and strive to better them. They’re also aware enough to know when it’s time to delegate a responsibility to someone who is more skilled in an area where the leader is lacking.

Leaders never forget where they came from. They still do the work that they excel at, so their workers complement their efforts instead of replacing them entirely.

A Willingness to Learn

Great leaders never stop learning.

Leaders should always display a certain level of curiosity. They may be interested in expanding their skills and education with classes, podcasts, books, and seminars.

They never think that they know everything, and this helps them continue growing.

In any industry, there are going to be frequent changes. New technology comes around, new resources appear, and your workplace has to adapt. For someone who loves to learn and change, this is a non-issue.

Good learners make good innovators and great critical thinkers. They’re able to take in new information and process it instead of jumping to conclusions or acting on impulse.

When you’re looking for someone to lead your team, consider looking toward the person who’s done the most to improve themselves in the past year. This person is striving for success and self-betterment.

Organisational Skills

While this isn’t true of all leaders, the best leaders are able to stay organised when the situation calls for it.

Organisation isn’t always easy, and it doesn’t look the same for everyone. The leader may be great at maintaining an organised team and delegating the right tasks while others are great at maintaining an organised space so everything runs smoothly.

Some “leaders” proclaim that an organised schedule is the most important part of being a leader. While it’s helpful to stick with a schedule, it doesn’t have to start with pre-dawn mornings, overworked days, and working late into the night.

A good leader knows how to organise their time (and the time of their team) so that they can maintain a good balance while staying productive.

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is one of the most important traits of an effective leader that people don’t talk about. But what is emotional intelligence anyway?

Emotional intelligence is someone’s ability to stay in tune with their own emotions and their ability to empathise with others.

People with high emotional intelligence are good at reading body language and understanding the signs of “hidden” emotions in others. They’re also able to control their own emotions and not lash out on impulse, despite how they’re feeling.

Someone with good emotional intelligence will be a great communicator, a great negotiator, and a level-headed leader.


Last (but not least), flexibility is crucial for all leaders.

A good leader needs to be able to accept input and change their plans as necessary. When you’re leading a team, things will rarely go to plan. A flexible leader is able to get back on track without missing a beat.

Flexibility means leaders should be able to meet deadlines despite unexpected changes or roadblocks. They should be able to address concerns from their team members and respond appropriately.

A leader that isn’t flexible will get stuck on roadblocks. This can make them frustrated and overwhelmed, potentially causing them to miss deadlines or important innovations.

So What Makes an Effective Leader? These Qualities

Not all leaders have to display every one of these qualities, but when you’re trying to determine what makes an effective leader, they’re a good starting point.

Leaders want to lead, not control. They want to listen and learn, so they can improve themselves and their project. A good leader is a valuable resource for the entire team.

Are you interested in improving the potential leaders among your team? What about improving your own leadership skills?

Contact us to learn more about our philosophy, so we can start helping you today.