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Qualities of a Good Team Leader

quality of a team leader

The qualities of a good team leader are instrumental to progressing and motivating the team they work with. Increasingly, there is interest in trying to break down the individual traits and what is required for the role in order to maximise success. In this article we break this down and consider 14 core qualities that are instrumental in progressing teams and being a good leader. Remember with such traits that whilst some people will inherently be strong in many or all aspects, these qualities can be learned too. It is therefore helpful when trying to equip future leaders with the skills and mindset to achieve goals.



What defines a Team Leader

There are marked differences between team leader roles across organisations. Teams can arguably be as little as two! What defines the role is working in a group toward a common goal. They should ensure that all parts of the team know what the objective is and how that individual plays a part. Solid communication working toward a clear strategy is the aim.  The team leader heads monitors and supports the team as well as the interdependency of all team players.


What defines a Good Team Leader

This is harder to find agreement on a definition. Historically leadership was more considered as “strength” and the classic “alpha male” style. This autocratic style is now usually considered as poor leadership in many organisations and teams as it often leads to feelings of being bullied and lack of worth.

We have put together a list of alternative qualities that many agree are more sought after for today’s good team leader.


Good Team Leader Quality List


  • Clear communication:
  • Empathy
  • Vision
  • Flexibility
  • Accountability
  • Confidence
  • Delegation
  • Problem-Solving
  • Positive Attitude
  • Continuous Learning
  • Ability to motivate others
  • Lead by example
  • Be a good listener
  • Respect


A good team leader is one of many factors that can breed success in business. Whilst each member of the team has an important part to play, a good team leader is there to motivate and guide the team to achieve its goals.
The 14 qualities we’ve listed above are all essential for the best team leaders. Effective communication, problem-solving and being a good listener are just the start of what it takes to ensure your team does well in business.

Read on for more detail on each characteristic to see if you have what it takes to become a good team leader.


Qualities That Every Team Leader Should Have


Clear communication

Often thought of as speaking, communication can take many forms, such as listening, body language, and motivation. It’s important to recognise that communication is multi-faceted and that effective team members should be skilled in a range of communication methods.

A successful leader can take control of a situation and make people feel included and vital to the team’s success, this can be achieved through a combination of informal and formal communication methods. Good team leaders these qualities to foster better understanding.



Empathy is an important quality for effective leadership. Successful leaders must understand and share the concerns of team members, by offering constant support and nurturing a spirit of collaboration. Effective leaders create an environment conducive to collective success.

An empathic mentor can easily put himself in his team members’ shoes, thus he understands things from their perspective. This allows him to be a sensible problem solver; as he can better anticipate how his decisions and actions may impact the team members and adjust accordingly.

Consequently, an empathic leader helps to build stronger relationships between teammates, creating a positive and supportive work environment. He is also able to establish a culture of trust and respect, which is very important. This secure establishment can lead to higher levels of engagement, job satisfaction, and ultimately results in better performance.



A good team leader should always know exactly what goals and objectives the team is aiming for. A leader should ensure that the whole team shares the same vision so that everyone feels inspired and motivated. When the leader has a strong vision, it gives the team confidence as the team knows what they are working towards. It also makes sure that the efforts of the team match up with bigger goals. In this sense, the work done by the team really contributes to the success of the organisation.



Possessing effective planning skills is a positive trait for a leader. However, there are instances when unfortunately, things fail to unfold as expected. In such situations, a good leader should demonstrate the ability to adapt and make necessary adjustments.

Having the capacity to revise plans in response to changing circumstances is a vital trait that contributes to successful leadership. This flexibility ensures that a leader can face unexpected challenges. It also helps the leader to guide the team towards achieving goals despite the obstacles.



Effective leadership doesn’t mean being bossy, a good leader should take responsibility for the successes and failures of the team as whole, including themselves. Everyone in the team should be held accountable for their contribution to the project’s goals and objectives.

Accountability is a crucial quality for team leaders because it ensures that they take responsibility for their actions and decisions. When team leaders are accountable, they are more likely to make decisions that are in the best interest of the team and the organisation, and they are less likely to blame others when things go wrong. This helps to build trust and respect among team members, as they know that their leader is honest, reliable, and consistent.



One cannot be a good team leader without having confidence in their own abilities. A good leader should not only be a confident person but also shows assurance in his team members.

A confident team leader inspires and motivates his team members. His confidence level is tested during decision-making and how he takes action when faced with difficult situations. The more a leader demonstrates confidence, the better it allows his team to remain calm and focused under pressure.



Assigning work to team members based on their skills and capabilities is a skill that a team leader should have.

A successful and productive team is produced when a leader can effectively delegate tasks while directing the skills and capabilities of the members. It also enhances the personal growth of each team member’s competencies. This is because it gives them chances to take on new tasks and challenges. Additionally, delegation frees up the leader’s time. Consequently, the leader may concentrate on strategic planning and high-level activities to make the most of their time.



A skilful team leader must possess the ability to identify and address obstacles that can arise anytime. He should be quick-thinking while working with the team to find effective solutions and strategies.

Leaders with strong problem-solving abilities can approach problems rationally and analytically. They should make good use of creativity and critical thinking to come up with answers. This approach to issue solving will be beneficial for them to guide their team through difficulties while still accomplishing their goals.


Positive attitude

A positive attitude gives hope even in the most challenging situation. A good team leader should maintain a positive attitude to encourage team members towards success.

Indeed, an optimistic attitude will definitely inspire, not to mention greatly motivate team members. A positive approach from the team leader will create a sense of enthusiasm and energy that can drive performance and productivity. Moreover, it will also develop a constructive work environment full of collaboration between team members, as well as enhance creativity, and innovation.


Continuous learning

There is no such thing as a perfect leader, a good team leader understands that there is always room for improvement. Thus, a great leader will dedicate himself to continuous learning as well as self-improvement. He will constantly try to seek out new skills so as to enhance his leadership abilities. This good trait will help him to support the team’s growth and development.

There is another benefit of continuous learning. This habit allows leaders to stay up to date with the latest trends, the newest technology, and best practices. By learning continuously, a leader is able to adjust his leadership style according to the needs of his team. It also helps leaders nurture a team culture that encourages members to enhance their skills and pursue individual learning goals.


Ability to motivate others

A motivated team wants to do well. Being able to inspire this feeling in others is another string in the team leader’s bow. Knowing what to say to spark drive in others can drive improved performance, commitment and concentration when needed. Ultimately a motivated team will lead to better business results and happier employees.


Lead by example

Leading by example is all about showing others the way to behave for the best outcome. By taking responsibility for their actions and creating a culture of accountability, team leaders that lead by example create a positive environment that is based on support and collaboration for others to thrive.


Good listener

Sometimes, actions speak louder than words and the ability to listen is one of the most underrated skills someone in a team leader position can apply to their work.

Listening to others builds trust, and demonstrates that the opinions and perspectives of others are valued. Being able to listen and act accordingly when members of a team come to the person in charge, is crucial to learning from team feedback and improving decisions, processes and outcomes in the future.



In line with the company’s corporate culture, a good team leader will create a positive, inclusive, and diverse working environment that respects the rights and contributions of company employees.

Being respectful of others is an essential team leader trait. Respecting other people is key for building trust, rapport and appreciation amongst team members. Recognising and respecting individual skills, achievements and contributions within a team is a great way to treat others with courtesy and respect.


Growing Your Team Leader Qualities?

A team leader is a person responsible for steering a group of people towards a shared purpose. From businesses to sports teams and community organisations, team leaders are needed to guide the teams to success. It is their duty to provide direction, inspiration, and support to their team members. This will help them to work in a successful way together to achieve their shared objectives.

Team leaders are found in every walk of life, from company workplaces to on-field sports teams, their role is to guide a group of people toward a shared goal. Team leaders should understand the requirements of the role for themselves and others, and be able to communicate effectively with team members. They should also be good decision makers.

One of the primary responsibilities of a team leader is to set milestones and goals. However, his task does not stop here, a team leader must also delegate tasks effectively. He must excel when it comes to communicating with team members. A good team leader provides feedback and coaching while constantly monitoring the team’s progress towards its goals. A leader should know how to balance the needs and strengths of individual team members for the team’s prosperity.

Remember to consider that whilst delivery of tasks is a measure of success, it is not the only one and can hide other issues. Delivering a goal is all well and good but if the staff turnover is high, due to dissatisfaction or your organisation receives complaints of bullying, you are not where you want to be. Agreed reviews and ‘blind’ 360 degree feedback can be helpful if you have team leaders who want to hone their skills. These are personally challenging though and if agreed, appropriate supported feedback should always be available.

Mentorship and Leadership Training all support the growth of the qualities discussed. Leadership like learning a sport takes time and can be improved upon with training. Good Team Leaders will often be hungry to learn more and personally develop in order to grow as an individual and be able to support their team further.


Poor Qualities For Team Leaders To Have

So far we have focused on the positive attributes of team leaders, but it’s equally important to understand the attributes that may not benefit a team, there are plenty of people in team leader positions without the right qualities for leadership. Additionally, understanding the qualities to avoid or transform is an excellent way to improve your abilities as a team leader.

Three poor habits for team leaders to have are; being indecisive, micromanaging, and untrustworthy Micromanaging can prevent team members from taking good initiative. It can even discourage them from taking ownership of their job and hinder creativity, innovation, and teamwork. A leader who cannot make decisions and fails to define goals will have a bad impact on the team. It will definitely result in a lack of direction and clarity that will only confuse team members.

It will be challenging for an unreliable leader to create an environment where team members are comfortable expressing their thoughts. In the end, a leader displaying these negative traits will not be able to develop a high-achieving team. It will be very difficult for him to accomplish his objectives.

Where Are Team Leaders Valuable?

There are several places that can benefit the help of team leaders. This includes among others, workplaces, schools, sports teams, and even community organisations. Team mentors play an important role in the workplace managing and encouraging teams to achieve different goals.

The role of a team leader is important when it comes to promoting collaboration and teamwork. His presence is valuable when it is about ensuring members have the resources and support they require to succeed.

Team leaders in educational environments can help establish a pleasant learning environment and encourage student involvement and achievement. Team leaders in sports can motivate and inspire their teammates, encouraging teamwork, and increasing performance of the team.

Lastly, team leaders in community organisations can support the development of robust and productive volunteer teams. This is imperative as it fosters social impact and community involvement. Leaders are important in all of these situations because of their capacity to uplift and encourage team members which help to accomplish achievement.

Can You Become A Better Team Leader?

Whilst most team leaders seem to naturally radiate the qualities needed to excel in this role, motivating others and being surrounded by people, it is possible to learn and develop the skills required, even if they don’t come naturally to you.

There are plenty of leadership training programs, coaching and mentoring opportunities and workshops available to help you hone the skills needed to be a great team leader. Most organisations will be able to offer access to this type of upskilling – whether it’s in house through existing and experienced team leads or externally provided training sessions.

If you’ve been offered a new role managing a team but don’t feel confident yet, ask your leadership team for some additional training.

Remember though, there is no one size fits all and it’s highly unlikely that any one person will excel in every characteristic we’ve covered in this article. Effective leadership needs to factor the right skillset with the context, business culture and individual personalities within the team being led. So, if the role feels tough to start with, you can still become a good team leader with time, effort and commitment to the role.


To recap, 14 qualities that a good team leader should possess include;

  • Clear communication:
  • Empathy
  • Vision
  • Flexibility
  • Accountability
  • Confidence
  • Delegation
  • Problem-Solving
  • Positive Attitude
  • Continuous Learning
  • Ability to motivate others
  • Lead by example
  • Be a good listener
  • Respect

Combining these skills, with a desire to do well at work and a supportive company culture can all add up to creating the right environment for teams to thrive.




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