From clear communication to respecting others, developing these traits can help you manage more effectively—at every level.


A businessman addresses his team.In today’s fast-paced, technology-driven world, strong leadership is more important than ever. But what makes a good leader? And how does strong leadership impact the workplace? Some of the answers—from avoiding popularity contests to advancing your education through a management degree program—may surprise you.

1. They communicate clearly. Managing a group, especially in the workplace, starts with good communication. Whether writing an e-mail or providing face-to-face employee feedback, good leaders say what they mean and mean what they say. They’re not passive-aggressive, nor do they shy away from addressing challenges in a direct manner.

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2. They’re passionate about their work. Many good leaders love what they do, and they’re not afraid to show it. Of course, you can still be a good leader even if your professional and personal interests aren’t a perfect match. Think about what you enjoy most in your work, and develop your enthusiasm around that—you even may find that you’re managing yourself into greater workplace satisfaction.

3. They don’t care about being popular. In fact, if your first concern is whether everyone likes you, you may be less effective. Whether it’s giving tough criticism or pointing out a practice you believe is unethical, learning how to be a good leader means getting comfortable doing or saying things that are best for your team and your organization, even if it makes you temporarily unpopular.

4. They keep their minds open. Another characteristic of a good leader: Remaining receptive to new ideas. Instead of resisting change, good leaders are flexible and highly adaptable. They’re approachable, and they welcome opinions different from their own.

5. They work for their employees. Managers may answer to higher-ups, but good leaders know their real mission is to ensure their employees have the resources to do their jobs as efficiently and effectively as possible—and the direct support they need to thrive in the work environment.

6. They’re positive and encouraging. Good leaders are uplifting. They praise employees for a job well done, taking time to coach and train if there are lapses in performance. In good times and bad, good leaders bring out the best in their employees by encouraging them to be their very best.

7. They respect others. From direct reports and peers to clients and their own higher-ups, good leaders treat others as they’d want to be treated. Those they lead often follow suit, creating stronger morale throughout the workplace.

8. They build relationships. The ability to form productive connections is a key quality of a good leader. Strong managers aren’t threatened by others. Instead of guarding their territory, they’re constantly building bridges with others. A good leader knows the value of mutually beneficial relationships, and actively seeks them out.

9. They lead by example. The best managers know that an essential part of what makes a good leader is setting the right example. From putting in extra hours on a major project to treating others with respect and kindness, good leaders show they’re ready and willing to do anything they’d ask of their employees.

10. They never stop learning. Perhaps the most important characteristic of good leaders is that they’re continuous learners. They put their education first, whether through formal learning like building their skills through management degree programs or through day-to-day attention to other departments and roles. A good leader always wants to know more.

If you’re a good manager who wants to become a great manager, but fear you don’t have the time to invest in a management degree program, consider an online business management degree. Accredited online colleges and universities are designed for busy professionals, enabling them to pursue management degree programs while balancing work and family commitments.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering online business management degrees and certificates, all created to help take your career to the next level—and make you an even better leader in your workplace and in your chosen field.

Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,

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