5 Essential Qualities of Brilliant Team Leaders

As your career starts to gain momentum and you start to demonstrate what you can deliver personally, chances are you will find yourself in a position where you are given your own team to lead. Leading a team brings with it a number of challenges and can feel like no matter what you do someone will be unhappy. So if you are to succeed as a team leader, what 5 qualities are essential to your success?

Quality 1: An effective listener

One of the most important and yet most challenging things for team leaders is effectively listening to others. It can be hugely tempting to try and rely on your position power to make things happen and while this might get some results in the short term it is unlikely to work in the long term. Make listening more effectively and actively a priority if you want to make an immediate improvement in your team leadership competency.

Quality 2: Treating everyone fairly

Just as in life, there will be some people that you connect with more than others. This in itself is not a problem as such unless it starts to compromise how you treat others. Treat everyone fairly and you will gain the respect and support of those that you lead in most cases.

Quality 3: Providing clear direction

As the leader of the team you need to provide direction to others. This includes giving a clear message of the overall direction of the team or function as well as clearly setting the expectations of the team of people that you lead. If you fail to do this, chances are that the results that you deliver will be less than they could potentially be.

Quality 4: Making decisions

You might not always have 100% support for every decision that you make but people will value the fact that you take decisions. Being led by someone who procrastinates over every decision is a huge de-motivator and hugely frustrating for those that you lead.

Quality 5: A genuine interest in others

If you don’t show any interest in helping others to achieve results and success in their careers why should they be interested in helping you get results? Team leaders who make the time to take a genuine interest in helping others achieve results will get benefits well in excess of the investment of time and energy that that they make.

Bottom Line – Team leadership is challenging and rewarding. Doing some simple things exceptionally can make a huge difference to the results and success that you achieve.

Duncan Brodie of Goals and Achievements helps professionals and organisations to achieve better results through improved team working.  Click here for my free audio masterclass Leading and Managing Highly Productive and Highly Positive Teams

About the Author Duncan Brodie

Since 2006 I’ve worked with in excess of 8,000 accountants and professionals in workshops, seminars and one to one helping them land their next jobs and become better leaders, presenters and business partners. Before that I spent 25 years in accountancy climbing the career ladder from Payments Clerk to FD. I’m a CIMA Fellow, Certified Professional Coach and Team Coach Facilitator.

Leave a Comment:

Gill Thurgood says 18 January 2010

I would add ’empower your team’ as a sixth quality. It can be very difficult to be brave enough to do this but the rewards are enormous. You end up with a team that
take increased responsibility and are proactive looking for solutions not picking over problems, a team that contributes and are creative and crucially are an engaged and happy team. The team benefit, the manager benefits and most importantly the shareholder benefits through increased company performance.

Duncan Brodie says 24 January 2010


Agree totally that the skill of empowering others is so vital and at the same time so challenging.

What have you noticed works really well when it comes to empowering others?


leadership says 23 July 2011

You’ve got great insights about leadership skills, keep up the good work!

Add Your Reply