09/19/2014 11:41 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

5 Qualities to Look for in a Leader

I never paid special attention to what a real leader is, it seemed that leaders are the ones running corporate companies, making sure the business stays afloat. I probably wasn't far off at the time, but ever since then I have realized that leaders are much more than that.

Leaders are humble people, they know they've got more experience than you, but they'll rarely opt for the choice of putting it in your face. All the great leaders that I've have had the pleasure of meeting, have generally been quite chilled out people, with chilled out opinions on things.


I'm always looking for opportunities to connect with people, business owners, and entrepreneurs. The one thing I learned early on was to look for people who're capable of running their own small business without much assistance from other people. True leader.

1. Empathy

I suppose we're looking for a quality that can be brought into any situation, be it about business or personal life. Empathy is when the other person fully listens and understands the other person, while also being mindful of possible opinions that he could offer.

Your daily life can pick up the pace very quickly, and without you realizing it straight away - you're left with noise, chaos and disorientation everywhere. A great leader will emphasize and make sure that everyone is on the same page.

It's one thing to feel empathetic towards everyone at the same time, and to feel empathetic towards individual persons and their needs. It is possible, for example, to be overly empathic, entering the world of another so fully that we lose touch with ourselves.

2. Honesty

I read this new self-help book, it talked about unicorns and fairies. I think we need to implement some of those strategies in our business plan, we need to bring some fresh changes around here. I think it could really help us leverage our earning capabilities.

That's the regular office talk to you. Great leaders will usually allocate different choice of words, but the fact that a leader needs to be honest remains. The leader knows that there is too much information available, but he won't display it. He'll reason logically, as you should.

3. Selflessness

You should always respect your leader, he has gone through a lot more than you have, and because of that he is the leader, and you're not. Respect is everything.

Modern leaders get caught up in the mix; business, personal life, family, friends, etc,. It all contributes towards the universal insanity. Selflessness is important.

The leader who has mastered his time schedule will usually have a bit of time for everything, but most importantly - he'll have time to mentor you, to assist you with opinions and examples, as well as to inspire you to move forward.

4. Connectivity

No, not the Wi-Fi connection.

Here is what Matt Ragland had to say on connecting with people:

Forming meaningful connections with people isn't as complicated as we make it. Sometimes we can create additional information around an action as an excuse to not take the action! We think there's something else to learn, and then we'll be ready! Not so. You have the tools necessary to provide value and make connections with people. If you're nervous, just don't make the conversation about you! Just show up, listen and be helpful. You'll be the unsung hero of the day.

Employees need their leaders now, more than ever before. The social media boom is changing the way we interact with each other, and having the big boss come up to you and dedicate 30 minutes of his time for an intellectual discussion is not to be underestimated.

5. Determination

Social intelligence, culture - it's all real within the world of a small business, startups have long adapted to the idea of an experienced CEO to be running the company, though usually the same person who started the company, also remains the CEO for the time being.

Putting aside all the social activities that leaders engage in, what it comes down to is the ability to bring home the bacon. Leaders are here to make everyone rich, or at least those who stay humble to the roots are.

The last quality to look for in a leader is determination, and whether or not the leader is acting on the basis of fear, or deep confidence. I feel this could be elaborated in more than just one way.

The Qualities of a Leader

I'm more than one hundred percent sure that these qualities change depending on the industry we're looking at, but as far as my industry goes (computer science) - I've found these to be very repeating patterns when dealing with leaders. I'd love to hear your own stories, and experiences on working with leaders.