6 Essential Traits of Likable Leaders


Being a likable leader is a key requirement for getting people to follow you with absolute conviction. Bad-tempered leaders or tyrants with great ideas can develop a following, but those rarely last long. Eventually, they’ll burn people out before they realize their plans.

Think of the best and worst leaders you’ve worked for. Got it? Now, what would you say were the main qualities of those leaders? Chances are, you’ve set aside innate characteristics (extraversion, intelligence, etc.) for something they can control, such as humility and integrity. These are some of the many traits of leaders skilled in emotional intelligence (EQ).

Want to improve your leadership skills? If so, start practicing these six behaviors.


1. Generosity

Many leaders always seem to hold something back because they’re afraid you’ll surpass them if given the necessary resources or knowledge. Likable leaders, meanwhile, understand that your success is their success, and will give you anything you need. More than anything, they want you to do well because they’re confident in their own abilities.

2. Approachability

Nobody likes leaders who only make the time for you if you can do something for them. A likable leader believes that everyone, regardless of their ability and rank, is worth his or her attention. They believe everyone is valuable, which makes everyone feel valuable.

3. Positivity

You can tell a leader is likable by the way they describe things. Instead of saying they have to give a presentation, they’ll say they get to share their vision. Rather than complaining they have to go on a plant tour, they’ll remark that they get to visit the people making the company’s products. Even in negative situations, they emanate confidence and hope for the future.

4. Stability

All leaders experience failures and achieve success; what makes them different is how they react to these things. Likable leaders don’t get rattled when they mess up or boast of their achievements. Instead, they learn from both. They’re quick to acknowledge failure without getting bogged down by it and they enjoy success without it going to their heads.

5. Humility

Nothing kills likability quite as fast as arrogance. Likable leaders never act as if they’re better than you because they don’t believe they’re better than you. To them, their position isn’t a matter of prestige, but a source of additional accountability to people working under them.

6. Substance

Winning people’s attention is great, but you also need to have something to tell them. Likable leaders understand that their expertise is crucial to the success of everyone around them. This is why they share that expertise regularly instead of engaging in small talk or pretending to be something they’re not.