Your #1 source for auto industry news and content

Unlock your leadership potential with these 7 traits

Learn the key skills and principles great leaders use to improve their effectiveness as a manager and achieve greater personal success

Leadership is an essential element of success, particularly in the business world. Great leaders are, in many ways, the face of their organization. Whether you’re leading a team, a company, or an organization, having the skills and mindset can help you become an effective and successful leader. 

Being a great leader requires more than having a vision and ability to delegate. A great leader also needs to have certain traits, such as the ability to inspire, motivate, and communicate, as well as a deep understanding of what motivates people. Let’s explore the traits and qualities that it takes to be a great leader and how each helps create a successful and productive team. Here are some of those qualities: 

1. Empathy

Having the ability to understand and relate to the emotions of others is essential to effective communication, coaching, and mentoring. As a leader, empathy allows you to relate more deeply to your employees, putting yourself in their position to fully comprehend their feelings. Empathetic leaders can better understand and connect with their staff. 

How can you develop empathy as a leader? Try to understand the perspectives of your team members and take the time to listen to what they have to say. Ask questions to gain insight into their feelings and motivations. Put yourself in their shoes and try to imagine what they’re going through. Doing this consistently will help you become more empathetic. 

2. Optimism

Optimism is a desirable trait, and it can help you be a better leader. If you’re always looking at the positive side of things, it will make your team more willing to follow you and more likely to succeed. It also means that when things go wrong, as they inevitably will in business (and life), you won’t get discouraged. You’ll see every setback as an opportunity for improvement rather than a failure.

3. Self-awareness

Self-awareness is the ability to know and understand your own strengths and weaknesses. It’s a key component of emotional intelligence and helps you relate better to others and show empathy.  

When you’re self-aware, it means you have a good idea of how others perceive you–what they like about working with you and what they don’t like. Self-awareness also includes knowing what motivates yourself so that when making decisions about things like setting goals or making changes in life, those decisions are based on understanding, not guesswork or intuition alone. 

By reflecting on your thoughts, feelings, and actions, you can gain better insight into yourself and your leadership style. This reflection will also help you identify areas of improvement and understand the impact of your leadership decisions. 

Also, take time to listen to feedback from your peers and subordinates. Receiving constructive criticism can be difficult, but it is a great way to better understand how others see your actions and decisions. Finally, seek out new experiences and learn from those around you.

4. Inspiration

Inspiration is a powerful force. It can inspire people to work towards a common goal, like reaching the moon or curing cancer. It can also inspire them to do more than they thought they could, like running a marathon or quitting smoking. 

Inspiration can come from many sources: an inspirational leader who leads by example; an inspirational speaker who motivates with words; or even just an inspiring story about someone else’s success

Show that you’re willing to learn and grow as a leader and that you’re open to advice and feedback from those around you. Encourage collaboration and teamwork, and work hard to foster an environment of mutual respect and trust. 

Remember to be patient, understanding, and encouraging when working with others, and always be willing to listen to what they have to say. Above all else, be passionate and stay focused on your goals.

5. Teamwork and collaboration skills

Great leaders know how to work well with others and bring out their best qualities while helping them improve on their weaknesses. According to a Salesforce study, 86% of employees and executives cite lack of collaboration or ineffective communication for workplace failures. They can also encourage teamwork among their employees, because they know it’s not about being better than someone else, but rather being better together than you could ever be alone!

6. Comfort with risk taking

One of the most important leadership traits is comfort with risk taking. You have to take risks to grow as a person and lead others, but risk taking doesn’t mean you should do whatever comes into your head without regard for consequences or other people’s feelings. Just because you’re comfortable with risk doesn’t mean everything has to be on the line all the time. You need balance to have success as a leader! Make sure the risks you take are calculated and well thought out. 

7. Self-Sacrifice

A great leader is willing to sacrifice for the benefit of their team. A leader may, for example, choose to take on more work than they need to ensure that other members of their team can get it done on time. 

This can be a difficult task when you work with people who are less motivated than you. It requires understanding that your needs as an individual aren’t as important as others–and also a willingness to accept and embrace this idea! 


Being a leader is not a single quality but rather a combination of many. Leadership can be learned and developed over time. You don’t need all the qualities listed, or even most of them, to be an effective leader. But if you want to grow into an excellent one who inspires others and makes a difference in their lives, these are traits that would serve as a good foundation for growth.

Did you enjoy this article? Please share your thoughts, comments, or questions regarding this topic by connecting with us at

Be sure to follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and TikTok to stay up to date.

While you’re here, don’t forget to subscribe to our email newsletter for all the latest auto industry news from CBT News.
Anna Delvillar
Anna Delvillar
Anna is the editorial and programming coordinator at CBT News. She graduated with a B.A. in English Composition from Georgia State University. She is an enthusiastic and skilled media professional with high-caliber communication skills, and has five years of experience performing multimedia writing, editing, and publishing for automotive, tech, and small business media.

Related Articles

Manufacturers In This Article

More Manufacturer News

Latest Articles

From our Publishing Partners