Essay on What Qualities Make a Good Leader?

Published: 2021/11/24
Number of words: 1224


Modern institutions and organizations face leadership problems as a result of under-leading or over-leading. Therefore, there’s a need to increase the leadership potentials among the leaders. This strategy will foster a balanced leadership that creates a favorable relationship between the leader and their followers. This paper seeks to leverage contemporary literature related to good leadership qualities to organizations and institutions to observe universally acceptable quantities about “state of the art” leadership characteristics.

Good Leadership Qualities

According to Bethel (2012), any person seeking to lead should undertake a thoughtful and humble self-assessment of their strengths and weaknesses to help them enhance their ability to define reality in preparation for leadership positions. In support, Owens & Hekman (2016) explains that for effective leadership, one must exercise humility and support to others and avoid putting oneself and interests first. This model of leadership is defined as level 5 leadership (L5L) (Orth, 2021). In their study, Owens, Johnson & Mitchell (2013), examining the leadership of 11 companies against their excellent performance within their industries, concluded that leadership was a factor in creating a great organization. The author also added that when leaders combined “humility with fierce resolve,” they could develop high performance in their respective organizations; this is a critical aspect of L5L.

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Similarly, Salfi, Hussain & Virk (2014) explains that the leading reasons that make humble L5Ls impact significant contributions to organizations’ success include the number of utilities. For instance, L5Ls have good self-awareness and self-knowledge. Thus, they understand themselves correctly, including values, capabilities, personal missions, and capabilities. They are therefore able to leverage proper focus and give clear direction. Also, the L5Ls are teachable. Research shows that humble leaders seek to improve their understanding and perspectives; thus, they are willing to accept input from others and readily admit their lack of expertise in everything. Humble leaders are also able to acknowledge their limitations. To this extent, the L5Ls can devise strategies to minimize the adverse effects of such constraints. Further, research shows that such leaders also acknowledge the need to empower and engage with others to pursue worthy objectives (Owens, Johnson & Mitchell, 2013).

Also, Salfi, Hussain & Virk (2014) observes that good leadership recognizes the need to serve others. The author opines that humility within L5L helps to have a broader sense of awareness that makes them understand the working environment and context, the nature of the relationships that exist, and their role in ensuring that others are treated as valued partners. Prive (2012) adds that good leaders show commitment to the empowerment of others. To this extent, humble L5Ls recognizes that favorable organizational outcomes result due to the appointment of others. Therefore, they put systems to eliminate possible barriers to success and facilitate resource allocation to empower them to succeed.

Further, the L5Ls recognizes that a leader should be a debtor and a servant with a substantial commitment to honor the needs of others within the organization. This strategy helps a leader to earn their loyalty and trust towards a collaborative partnership. Therefore, an L5L can demonstrate reverence and respect to others due to their humility (Orth, 2021).

On the same note, good leaders are willing to empower others because they acknowledge that others may possess more excellent skills than they do due to humility. As a result, they are always ready to give their power with the knowledge that such a decision is essential for the overall improvement of organizational performance in many ways (Owens & Hekman, 2016). Good leaders also have an integrated sense of ethical awareness. Therefore, they conform to their moral duties by demonstrating a commitment to often unimaginably high ethical ideals (Owens, Johnson & Mitchell, 2013). A related study by Muteswa (2016) reports that good leadership pays attention to commitment to constant improvement and learning. Therefore, they recognize their potentials and ensure to prepare themselves towards achieving such potentials through education. Further, research also shows that a good leader is dedicated to a higher purpose or a noble objective beyond themselves. Humble leaders can recognize that they are not the center of their existence; instead, they pursue important and noble goals that transcend the self (Caldwell, Ichiho & Anderson, 2017).

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Olanrewaju & Okorie (2019) argues that humility in L5Ls makes them able to share credit for achievement; therefore, they can acknowledge the contributions of others toward the success of the organization because the efforts of those who played a role in the success deserve recognition and credit because of their achievements and contribution. Lastly, research demonstrates that good leadership is tied with the willingness to accept personal responsibility and accountability. Gayathri (2020) explains that humble leaders show personal accountability to the organization’s goals and mission and the outcome and results. Therefore, the L5Ls can transition their organizations to successful corporations, the critical elements associated with humility.


The purpose of this essay was to explore the qualities of good leadership. In conclusion, this essay finds that level 5 leadership is considered ideal for organizations and institutions because it is anchored on humility as such humility ensures that the leaders demonstrate good qualities, including willingness to empower others, having an integrated sense of ethical awareness, desire to undertake servant leadership, and the understanding of the big picture and perspective. The essay also shows that humility makes the level 5 leaders share credit and achievement, demonstrate commitment to empowerment, accept personal responsibility, and pursue constant improvement and learning. Also, the essay establishes that good leaders possess self-awareness and self-knowledge. They also demonstrate teachability, willingness to accept personal limitations for improvement, and dedication to noble objectives or higher purpose than themselves. These characteristics are a prerequisite for the success of a leader.


Bethel, S. M. (2012). Making a difference: Twelve qualities that make you a leader. Audio link.

Caldwell, C., Ichiho, R., & Anderson, V. (2017). Understanding level 5 leaders: the ethical perspectives of leadership humility. Journal of Management Development.


Muteswa, R. (2016). Qualities of a good leader and the benefits of good leadership to an organization: A conceptual study. European Journal of Business and Management8(24), 135-140.

Olanrewaju, O. I., & Okorie, V. N. (2019). Exploring the qualities of a good leader using principal component analysis. Journal of Engineering, Project, and Production Management9(2), 142.

Orth, M. (2021). Skills and Qualities of a Good Leader. LEADERSHIP BASICS FOR CLINICAL LABORATORY PROFESSIONALS, 34.

Owens, B.P. & Hekman, D.R. (2016), “How does leader’s humility influence team performance? Exploring the mechanisms of contagion and collective promotion focus”, Academy of Management Journal, Vol. 59 No. 1, pp. 1088-1111.

Owens, B.P., Johnson, M.J. & Mitchell, T.R. (2013), “Expressed humility in organizations: implications for performance, teams, and leadership,” Organization Science, Vol. 24 No. 5, pp. 1517-1538.

Prive, T. (2012). Top 10 qualities that make a great leader. Forbes. Retrieved1.

Salfi, N. A., Hussain, A., & Virk, N. (2014). Qualities of a good leader: Perceptions of teachers and headteachers and district school managers. Public Policy and Administration Review2(2), 171-188.

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