As a leader who is passionate about developing younger leaders, I often think about the most important things that I want to pass on and impart to emerging leaders. In my experience, there are certain leadership qualities that attract others. Not a “flash in the pan” kind of attraction. Not the super high-octane personality that draws a quick crowd. But the type of leadership which is followed the closest over the long haul.

GeeseIn my experience and opinion these are the seven most admired qualities of leadership in today’s world:

Integrity – You are who you say you are even when no one is watching. You tell the truth and nothing but the truth. You do what you say you will do. You follow through with the promises you’ve made in a timely manner. Yes is yes. No is no. You are real. Authentic. Transparent.

Servanthood – A willingness to be a blessing to others even if they never do anything for you. You compassionately think more of other’s well-being than your own.

Leading the WayVisionary – You are able to see beyond today. You can paint a picture of the future that creates interest and passion in others. You make people discontent with where they are so they will endure challenges to get to where they could be.

Innovative – You find new ways to do things. You don’t settle for status quo. If one way doesn’t work, leaders figure out another way. You lead people to do things better than they’ve been previously done.

Humility – It’s not about you. It’s hard to remember that when you are a successful leader, but really, it’s not all about you. Readily own your mistakes. People will value your leadership in proportion to the value you demonstrate for those who follow you.

Persistent – You know how to stick with it through the challenges, the obstacles and storms of life. Leadership is never for the faint-hearted. Perseverance, tenacity, determination and grit always standout in a microwave, fast-food, easy-come easy-go, undisciplined culture.

Balanced – You are healthy in every way. You don’t just work hard, you know how to play hard. You don’t just focus on your career, you put as much effort into your marriage and family. You don’t just watch the bottom line on the financial reports, you also pay attention to your physical, emotional, relational, mental and spiritual health.

If you are an aspiring leader or an experienced leader, take a few moments of reflection to evaluate which of these characteristics are highly visible in your life? Which ones need to be added? Which ones need to be strengthened?


QUESTION: What have I missed that should be added to this list? I’d love to hear from you in the comment section below.


12 responses to Most Admired Leadership Qualities

  1. Flora Sanchez on October 1, 2013 at 10:47 AM Reply

    Thanks Dennis, I also enjoyed this article. I can definitely identify with this article, I do meet these seven leadership qualities and it’s amazing on how so many leaders have lost focus on these leadership qualities that make a true leader in my humble opinion.

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  6. Todd Kerns on August 28, 2013 at 8:36 AM Reply


    My son(Kolton) just recently applied to be a youth leader at the church and he will be reading this as soon as he gets home from school. All are true and him hearing it from you and just not me will be great. I thanks you for posting this.

    • Dennis Gingerich on August 28, 2013 at 9:25 PM Reply

      Thanks Todd for your affirmation and sharing this with your son!

  7. Dan Gannon on August 27, 2013 at 3:34 PM Reply

    Remembering where you came from. It’s not only important to focus on where you are going or where you want to be but also where you came from. I can’t think of one great leader who did not learn from others, both mistakes and successes, along the way. Don’t forget those people.

  8. Carmen on August 16, 2013 at 10:21 PM Reply

    Love it!

  9. sheng on August 15, 2013 at 5:29 PM Reply

    Thank you! I am greatly inspired by this post! I’m taking up Masters in Public Administration now and this post is making it all the more challenging and interesting for me.

  10. Bryan Brilhart on August 15, 2013 at 7:33 AM Reply

    Accountability is also important: Auditing our sense of well being routinely to assure we are staying on course or moving in the direction of our goals. Keeping a journal, being mentored and even blogging can be helpful in this process. Leadership is a quality obtained through a quest to be the best we can be done through hard work. It’s a marathon run. When you can make the 26 miles, you’ve already run 2600 miles, which can only be done a few miles every day.

    • Dennis Gingerich on August 15, 2013 at 10:21 AM Reply

      Thank you Bryan! I love the accountability piece of leadership. Excellent addition!

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