Hone Your Skills

Leadership Qualities Every Executive Should Have

September 13, 2022
5 min read

Leadership qualities are essential for anyone in a position of authority. Whether you're the CEO of a company, the manager of a team, or simply a leader within your family, it's always possible to become a better leader — a good leader is a lifelong student in the art of management.

In this blog post, Poised will discuss honesty, humility, discipline, and other qualities of a good leader.

What Are the Most Important Leadership Qualities for Executives?

Being an effective leader requires many skills and attributes, but some characteristics may take a higher priority than others.

Let's discuss the strong leadership qualities that have a higher billing:


Honesty is the best policy, especially for leaders. Your team members and clients need to trust you, starting with being honest with them. Be truthful about your intentions and objectives. Provide accurate information and feedback. Be transparent in your communication, and people will respect you for it.

Here are a few tips for displaying honesty:

  • Don't make promises you can't keep.
  • Be sincere in your interactions.
  • Admit when you're wrong or don't have all the answers.
  • Keep your word, and follow through on your commitments.

Being honest with yourself and others will go a long way in building trust and put you on track to becoming a great leader. It’s more than just personal development; a study from 2013 found that when workers believed upper management had behavioral integrity, turnover reduced and job satisfaction increased


While honesty is an important leadership quality, humility is just as critical. Humble leaders are strong leaders, and they can put their egos aside and focus on what's best for the team or organization. They're also able to receive feedback and criticism with a positive attitude.

Being humble doesn't mean you have to be a doormat. It's okay to have confidence in your abilities and to be assertive when necessary. The key is to strike the right balance between being confident and arrogant.

You can show more humility in the workplace by:

  • Don't take credit for other people's work.
  • Avoid speaking negatively about others.
  • Be open to feedback and criticism.
  • Listen more than you talk.

If you can be humble, you'll earn the respect of your team members and clients.

It can be easy to fall into the trap of false humility, but you must be aware of it and avoid it. False humility is when you act like you're not important or don't deserve recognition. It can also involve downplaying your achievements or qualifications.

To avoid false humility, be confident in yourself and your abilities. Recognize your accomplishments, and don't be afraid to stand up for what you believe in. Stay true to your values, and don't let anyone push you around. When you're confident and humble, you'll exude leadership traits that people will respect.

Strong Communication

As an executive, you need to be able to communicate effectively with your team, bosses, clients, and other stakeholders. You should be able to express your ideas clearly and concisely, as well as listen carefully to others. If you can't communicate effectively, your team won't be able to understand what they're trying to achieve, and you'll lose credibility with your bosses and clients.

Good leaders know how to communicate with the people they are leading. This means that they need to be able to speak and listen in a way that makes everyone feel comfortable. Leaders also need to be honest, which means not hiding their thoughts or feelings, even if it might make them look bad. 

Lastly, leaders need to be able to empathize with the people they are leading. This type of emotional intelligence means being able to understand how they feel and what they need. Keep an open mind and always look for ways to confront your biases; self-awareness is key here. 

7 Quick Tips for Better Communication

Spoken Language Tips

  1. Speak calmly and clearly. Your speech rate, tone, and enunciation will significantly influence how you deliver your message and how people receive it. 
  2. Use simple language. Yes, you can sound professional without using a bunch of fancy words that confuse your audience! Try to speak in plain language. Remember, people don't expect perfect grammar in verbal communication. 
  3. Avoid slang and jargon. Slang and jargon can easily make your message unclear. For example, if all your team members don't know what "EOD" means, just say that you need the project done by the end of day. It takes one second longer and can save you from a heap of trouble!

Body Language Tips

  1. Make eye contact. Looking someone in the eye shows that you're engaged in the conversation and interested in what they have to say. It also makes you appear more trustworthy.
  2. Stay positive. No one wants to listen to a Negative Nancy or Ned. If you're constantly complaining or putting people down, people will tune you out. Holding a leadership role is about being empowering.

A work environment that inspires self-confidence and adaptability over fear-based dialogue will be more productive. Positive spaces result in greater creativity and enhanced problem-solving skills.

Take a look at this example:

NEGATIVE: "This project is a trainwreck."

POSITIVE: "I know this project is challenging, but I'm confident we can handle it."

  1. Be patient. Rushing someone through a conversation can make them feel like you're not interested in what they have to say. Others will pick up on your impatience and be less likely to want to communicate with you in the future. 
  2. Pay attention to physical presence. Your body language communicates a lot. For example, crossing your arms or looking around the room while someone is talking to you sends the message that you're not interested or engaged. Be mindful of your own body language and that of the person you're talking to.

Being an Active Listener

Active listening is often overlooked but is imperative for effective communication. It means paying attention to what the other person is saying and not just waiting for your turn to speak. You should also be taking notes so that you can follow up later.

When actively listening, you show the other person you respect them and their opinion. You also demonstrate that you care about what they have to say. This builds trust and rapport with your team, which is essential for a successful team dynamic.

Active listening also helps you better understand the situation and develop appropriate solutions. By listening carefully, you can pick up on subtle cues that the other person may not have mentioned explicitly. Here are some active listening skills to work on:

  • Make eye contact and nod to show that you're paying attention. 
  • Don't interrupt; let the other person finish speaking before you respond. 
  • Paraphrase what the other person has said to ensure that you understand them correctly. 
  • Ask questions to clarify any unclear points. 
  • Take notes so that you can follow up later.


Great leaders know how to cooperate with others to achieve common goals. You must be able (and eager) to work with a variety of different people, personalities, and backgrounds. You never know what skills and knowledge someone else may bring to the table. By cooperating and collaborating, executives can create a more productive and efficient workplace.

Cooperation also builds trust and rapport within the team. When people feel they can trust and rely on one another, they're more likely to be productive and cooperative. Effective teamwork is crucial for a successful organization.

The bottom line is that cooperation is essential for any executive. By working together and sharing resources, executives can achieve more than they could by working alone.

Openness to Feedback

Executive leadership is a demanding role that often requires quick and difficult decision-making. This can sometimes lead to executives feeling like they're not able to take input from others. However, being open to feedback is an essential leadership quality.

Team members are a valuable source of feedback. They may have insights and observations that you don't have. They're also able to observe your leadership style and advise on how you can improve. 

Bosses can also be a valuable source of feedback. Your boss might have experience or knowledge you don't have and can provide helpful insights on how you can grow in many different aspects of leadership. 

Finally, clients can come to the table with a different perspective than team members and bosses. And since they are the lifeblood of any organization, clients' opinions are invaluable to the organization's well-being.

Being open to feedback shows that you're willing to listen to others and are interested in improving yourself as a leader. It builds trust and rapport with your team and demonstrates that you value their input. It also shows that you're willing to take accountability for your actions and are open to constructive criticism.

Overall, openness to feedback is an essential quality that helps executives become the best leaders.

Focus and Discipline

Successful leaders stay focused on their team's and organization's goals. This means being disciplined and setting aside time each day to work on those goals. It also means being dedicated to your team and ensuring that they have what they need to be successful.

Staying focused on your goals: 

  • Demonstrates discipline and commitment.
  • Shows that you're willing to put in the hard work necessary to achieve success.
  • Communicate to your team that you're serious about achieving the organization's objectives.
  • Allows you to remain composed in difficult situations. 
  • Naturally improves your time management skills.

When things get tough, it's easy to lose sight of your goals. Disciplined executives can maintain their focus and continue working towards their objectives — despite how they feel.


As an executive, being kind to those around you is crucial. This includes team members, bosses, and clients. Kindness builds trust, rapport, and camaraderie within the team. It also makes the workplace more enjoyable and positive.

You can still be assertive and hold people accountable while being kind. Kindness is about treating others with respect and understanding. It's about going the extra mile to help someone out or putting yourself in their shoes.

The Ability To Take Initiative 

As a business leader, it's essential to be proactive and take the initiative to get things done. You need to be able to anticipate problems and work to solve them before they become an issue. By taking the lead, you can set the tone for your team and help ensure that things run smoothly. Keep an eye on the big picture and prioritize strategic thinking. 

Willingness To Admit Mistakes

Nobody is perfect, and a true leader admits when they’ve made a mistake. This shows that you're human and that you're willing to learn from your errors. It also sets an excellent example for your team members and shows them that it's okay to make mistakes as long as you learn from them. 

How Can Poised Help Executives?

Sharpening your leadership skills requires dedication and hard work. Even when you think you've reached the pinnacle, there's always room for improvement. Fortunately, modern technologies can help you grow significantly within a short timeframe, especially regarding communication. 

The Poised communication coach is a one-of-a-kind tech tool that helps leaders improve their executive presence and performance during virtual meetings. Here are a few things to expect when using our innovative software:

Strengthen Your Communication Skills

The ability to communicate effectively is one of the most critical leadership qualities an executive can have. Poised can help you become a better communicator by teaching you how to express yourself clearly and confidently.

Poised will also help you learn to listen effectively and respond appropriately to others. This can be a valuable asset for any executive who wants to develop good communication skills.

Become a Better Listener

Being willing and able to listen is another crucial leadership quality. Poised can help you become a better listener by teaching you active listening techniques. This will enable you to hear what others say and understand their needs more deeply.

Active listening shows that you value others and their input. It also helps to build trust and rapport with your team members.

Our communication will even monitor soft skills such as empathy. It will alert you when you need to be more empathetic so that you can make adjustments and demonstrate to your colleagues that you care about their experiences. 

Get Real-Time Feedback as You Improve

One of the best things about working with Poised is getting real-time feedback as you progress. This immediate feedback will help you fine-tune your leadership skills and ensure you're on the right track. You can also use it to identify any areas where you need to continue to improve.

If you're looking to develop to your full potential, Poised is an excellent resource. We can help you become a better communicator and listener, two essential qualities for any successful executive. 

Bringing Your Best Work to Your Work Environment

The leadership qualities above will help every executive guide their team to success. By growing as a leader, you can build rapport with everyone around you and take your career to new heights. 

Continue seeking opportunities to improve and use Poised to enhance your speaking and listening skills


Why Humble Leaders Make the Best Leaders | Forbes

How To Be a Better Boss: Everything You Need To Know About Becoming a Manager Who Inspires Teams and Leads With Confidence | Business Insider

The Importance of Feedback When in a Leadership Position | Chron

Relationships Among Employee Perception of Their Manager’s Behavioral Integrity, Moral Distress, and Employee Attitudes and Well-Being | ResearchGate

The Importance of a Positive Environment in the Workplace | Chron

Say it like you mean it.

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