What are the qualities of a good leader? The answer is strongly influenced by factors such as an individual’s leadership style, the business they are heading up, its culture and employees. Four qualities have been identified as common to all good leaders. We take a closer look at these and how to implement them.

An insightful study on leadership

Recent research by McKinsey, a global management consulting firm, revealed there are four types of behaviour that all good leaders practice. These leadership traits were identified from an initial list of 20, which McKinsey developed and used as the basis of the survey.

Over 189,000 people, from 81 organisations diverse in their size, location and industry, shared how frequently certain types of leadership behaviour occurred in their organisations. The organisations were then categorised into those with strong or weak leadership performance. In the highly ranked businesses, four qualities were found to account for 89 per cent of leadership effectiveness and were what divided the businesses with strong leadership from the weak.

If you want to make your business more successful we suggest you consider whether you can improve your leadership skills in the four key leadership traits identified in the study:

1. Be supportive

Employees who feel supported are likely to have a positive mindset, feel appreciated and be able to better communicate their needs. Supportive leaders trust and respect their staff. They listen to and work with them to help drive and achieve results.

2. Operate with strong results orientation

Good leaders value hard work and high quality. They don’t settle for less than the best and work with their staff to increase efficiency and deliver work to high standards. They recognise and reward these qualities in their team, and put the right people in place to help achieve strong results.

3. Seek different perspectives

Being able to see an issue from different perspectives is a vital leadership quality. It reflects a collaborative, inclusive approach to management and helps leaders stay in tune with their business. This is done by seeking out ideas and feedback and pursuing or exploring those that are worthwhile.

4. Solve problems effectively

Problems should never be left unaddressed as they can cause conflict and tensions in a workplace. Good leaders know this and won’t ignore or overlook them. They will identify problems, or acknowledge them when they are brought to their attention, and will put plans and actions in place to address and solve them.

While there are many qualities and factors that contribute to a good leader, aiming to practice these four leadership skills is a great place to start.