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7 Essential Qualities of an Extraordinary Leader

Becoming an exceptional leader can be difficult without a roadmap. Follow these seven steps to guide your way


Leadership runs the gamut — extraordinary, great, good, bad, terrible and just awful. I’ve seen them all during my career.

To successfully lead requires a mix of innate and learned abilities that culminate in the ability to adjust in any setting. Given the complexities of a global economy and challenges we’ve never seen before, succeeding requires extraordinary leaders with an adaptive, inclusive approach.  

Tried and true ways won’t cut it and today’s business landscape demands a new crop of leaders to flex differently to be successful, otherwise they’ll find themselves in the just awful category.

In my experience, the most exceptional leaders have the majority of the attributes below and I’d encourage every aspiring leader to try to master most, if not all of these seven qualities:

1. They give clear communication.

I’ve worked with some of the best communicators in the world ranging from politics to government to technology. I’ve also encountered some of the worst, like awful communicators who flip-flop on their positions and those I’d consider patently dishonest.

The extraordinary leaders all have two things in common, they are authentic and clear in how they communicate. I once had a boss where every other word was a lie and I had to compare notes with my co-workers just to figure out what was true. As a leader, you never want staff or customers to think you aren’t on the up and up because once you lose their trust, it is difficult to regain.

2. They don’t pick favorites.

People want to know they’ve been treated fairly.  A boss playing favorites wreaks havoc on team dynamics, fosters feelings of resentment and results in folks leaving the organization due to unfairness.  

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