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Ten Leadership Qualities For Top Professionals

Updated on July 29, 2014
Leaders need to ensure they motivate others.
Leaders need to ensure they motivate others. | Source
Leaders always look the part.
Leaders always look the part.
Delegation inspires individuals and teams.
Delegation inspires individuals and teams. | Source
Delegate evenly and don't favor anyone.
Delegate evenly and don't favor anyone. | Source

Inspirational Leader Checklist

How to be an inspirational leader and demonstrate leadership qualities to others is something that looks natural when done well. The manager you admire the most makes you feel comfortable, at ease and motiviated to work well and do the right thing by the company.

As a manager how do you become less like the boss who tells his staff what to do, and more like the boss who only needs to ask?

Ten Leadership and Motivation Ideas

Full of practical advice and tips for exhibiting top leadership qualities, top professionals will enjoy this inspirational leader checklist below.


ONE: Promote Confidence By Looking The Part

How a manager dresses is an important part of the image you project to your office. Many companies now do dressing down days, casual Friday and costume days to raise money for charity. Successful managers will not dress up or down and will contribute the money to charity anyway. They allow others to go fancy dress or casually, but they themselves do not engage. Why? Let customers, clients and your staff see that you are always the manager, with the tie, or the suit, or the smart dress on. Subconsciously, your colleagues will register that you are in charge through the consistent way you dress for work.

TWO: Have The Courage To Delegate

Like the famous Iwo Jima flag raising picture by Joe Rosenthal, it is hard to capture the moment your team fires up. Is it when you give the employee you think will make a good manager the instruction to lead the team in your absence? Is it because you singled out the most creative team member to design a brochure? An inspirational manager will examine each team member's strengths and make a note during professional development reviews to delegate tasks based on those. That way, each team member will maximise their efforts and this will benefit the whole group. Be wary of delegating leadership roles. You will be seen as having favorites.



Inspiring leaders remember to encourage and enthuse their employees by recognizing their efforts. It is important to be able to state a specific quality that the employee has in order to sound genuine. Complements on a task or quota are good ways to thank people, but won't enthuse them. Better encouragement might include noting to the receptionist how much better she deals with difficult customers than most people would. You could observe in a sales team member how observant they are when listening to customers as the reason they are successful. Encouragement is about making natural observations on other's good points. Comments are better to be pertinent, than made often.



Inspirational leaders rarely demonstrate a fussy side and employees respect them for it. When a boss leans over shoulders, monitors staff, or is present and circulating too often, it creates a tense atmosphere. Our society prizes extrovert personalities who speak loudly, socialise and network however, this kind of behavior around your staff will set their teeth on edge. Balance the days by staying in your office sometimes and being quiet. Create space for people to come to see you when something is on their mind. This is more motivating than adopting a proactive management style that is out of control and has become micromanagment.


Undertake leadership and business training often to ensure you understand new technology. You need to be familiar with all software, database and reporting systems used by each and every employee you supervise. You need to be an advanced user of email and Microsoft Excel, alongside internal report generating systems. Business is about making money, and if you don't understand how to report success electronically, you will lose support within your company. Inspirational leadership is best communicated by good reports that illustrate how successfully your team is meeting company objectives. Advanced competency with information technology is one of the essential leadership qualities for business professionals.



This is not so much about avoiding heavy drinking at office parties or in the streets. That sort of input is fairly obvious when discussing leadership qualities for professionals. Setting the right example is more about work and life balance. Workaholics who expect the same standards from their staff will be disappointed. Inspirational leaders respect that people have children, partners, and lives outside of work. The truth is most people don't live to work, they work to live. Leave early occasionally and let people know that leaving on the dot at the end of the day is the norm, not the exception. Try not to frown at doctor's appointments and emergencies, and just follow HR protocols on these things so that everyone knows you are fair with company policy.

Temporary staff need recognition too.
Temporary staff need recognition too. | Source


Top professionals recognise staff and make sure each person in the room feels as if they have meaningful contact during briefings, meetings and visits. If you forget someone's name apologise and ask for it. When meeting someone for the first time give the same amount of time and attention you would give the CEO. No one likes to feel small or insignificant. It doesn't matter that the temp who will only be with you for three months before returning to university won't cross your path in life ever again. What matters is that he doesn't bad mouth the company and you when he leaves. It's all about the public image.


In business, opportunism is a strategic endeavor to remain focused on long term company goals. As a leader you are beset with short term, immediate problems each and every day. In order to steer the ship you need to adopt a habit of thinking opportunistically. Inspiring leaders answer questions with explanations about how the activity fits with the overall company plan. A key leadership technique is to avoid needless speculation and gossip about how the company is doing, and instead focus on what the company is doing and why. At times you will need to calm your staff with explanations as to why bonuses are being cut or someone is being made redundant. A top professional will explain that the reason is to do with company needs and cast no blame on individuals.

Everyone suffers stress at some point. Chocolate cake is often a good office remedy.
Everyone suffers stress at some point. Chocolate cake is often a good office remedy.


Stress is the result of modern life and has certain triggers. You can quickly de-motivate your colleagues if you don't recognise the warning signs in your own behavior. The reasons are always personal, and involve how we all interpret life; how physically healthy we are; and how happy we are in our interpersonal relationships. Leadership and business training for stress tells us that in order to deal with stress and maintain a top leadership profile, you must remove yourself from your staff and write down a strategy to deal with issues that arise. You only need to get through one day at a time. (Here is further advice on How To Deal With Stress).


Inspirational leaders know how to give a speech to the whole staff and get a few laughs. Professionals who rise to the top of the pile are well known for their sense of humor and quick quips. It comes from dealing with so many people and needing to build meaningful positive interactions with each and every one of them.

I hope this checklist of Ten Leadership Qualities for Top Professionals enriches your working life and inspires you to be a great leader!

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