What Makes Strong Leaders? Study Reveals 14 Characteristics of Excellent Leadership

As more women ascend into leadership roles, it is helpful to assess what characteristics excellent leaders share. With the race to presidential elections in the U.S. running full throttle and the possibility of a female president more probable than it has ever been before, most voters and spectators can’t help but wonder who really is better-equipped to run a country.Some seemingly strong leaders falter when given a position of influence, others allow the power to get to their head and lose sight of what’s important. A gifted few, however, can wield power with finesse, shouldering the responsibility and pressure that their position entails.PsychTests.com, a leading online testing company, recently analyzed the personality profiles of 7,379 leaders who took the Leadership Style Test. After studying the responses, individuals are assessed as excellent or poor leaders. When comparing excellent to poor leaders, these 14 distinct differences stood out as key for strong leaders:

  1. 84 percent of the excellent leaders have a clear vision in mind of what they want to achieve as a leader. They also know how to communicate that vision in a way that inspires employees and gets them on board. Only 46 percent of the poor leaders do this.
  1. 76 percent of the excellent leaders frequently reevaluate the company’s/team’s goals in order to stay abreast of developments in the world. Only 1 in 2 of the poor leaders does this.
  1. Not only do 86 percent of the excellent leaders set challenging yet reasonable goals, they don’t stay idle after one is accomplished. They always set their sights on the next innovation, milestone, or performance record. Only 62 percent of the poor leaders do this.
  1. 72 percent of the excellent leaders make sure that every decision made is done with the company’s mission statement in mind. They adopt and stick to the company’s values. Only 58 percent of the poor leaders do this.
  1. When forced to decide between standing by their ethics or making a profit, 90 percent of the excellent leaders consistently opt to uphold their principles. In contrast, 77 percent of the poor leaders are willing to do so.
  1. 88 percent of the excellent leaders are creative problem-solvers. They are skilled at brainstorming, enjoy thinking outside the box, and prefer to come up with new, innovative solutions, rather than stick to solutions that have been used in the past. Only 63 percent of the poor leaders do this.
  1. 81 percent of the excellent leaders are skilled at handling stress. They are good under pressure and don’t allow fear or other negative emotions to cloud their judgment. Only 56 percent of the poor leaders are able to do this.
  1. 80 percent of the excellent leaders realize that they are seen as role models. They understand that in order to persuade others to work hard, they have to be persistent and hardworking themselves. Only 58 percent of the poor leaders recognize this.
  1. Not only do they regularly praise their team after a job well done, but when required to give someone negative feedback on their performance, 93 percent of the excellent leaders make sure to offer clear, practical tips to help the person improve. 74 percent of the poor leaders do this.
  1. 91 percent of the excellent leaders recognize that delegation is essential. Not only does it allow them to focus on their priorities, it is also a means they nurture their team’s potential. Excellent leaders also regularly consult their team for their opinions, ideas, and feedback. In comparison, 77 percent of the poor leaders do this.
  1. 87 percent of the excellent leaders in comparison to 76 percent of the poor leaders recognize that handing out bonuses isn’t the only way to motivate people. Although perks are important, many individuals are motivated by the desire to learn new skills, inspire others, or express their creativity.
  1. 81 percent of the excellent leaders adopt an optimistic attitude. They choose to focus on possibility and success, rather than problems and failure. Less than half (45 percent) of the poor leaders are optimists.
  1. 85 percent of the excellent leaders believe in themselves and in their abilities. They are confident that others will accept their ideas and decisions. Only 50 percent of the poor leaders are self-assured.
  1. Most importantly, 94 percent of the excellent leaders consistently look for ways to improve their own performance. They recognize that learning is a continuous process, and are determined to turn any weaknesses into strengths. Only 78 percent of the poor leaders are willing to do this.

[bctt tweet=“With more women in leadership roles, it is helpful to understand the qualities strong leaders possess.”]With more women in leadership roles, it is helpful to understand the qualities strong leaders possess. How do your leadership skills add up?