What makes a great business leader? Nine qualities the top people possess

Merseyside-based qualified leadership coach Andy Whitehead outlines the essential qualities found in leaders in all walks of life and business.

Executive coach Andy Whitehead addresses an event in Liverpool
Executive coach Andy Whitehead addresses an event in Liverpool

It is one thing being the boss or a manager in a business – but what are the qualities that make a true leader.

Andy Whitehead is a Merseyside-based qualified leadership coach with 20 years senior management and board-level experience.

He specialises in leadership and mental toughness development and runs a successful executive coaching business.

His background covers senior roles in the public, private and voluntary sectors in the UK with international experience in the Middle East.

Andy has identified the key traits possessed by the best leaders and cites, as an example, Andre Sougarret, the engineer who led the rescue of 33 Chilean miners who were trapped half a mile underground in 2010.

“This is a great example of powerful leadership,” he said. “We all have it in us to improve our leadership and become better, stronger, more confident leaders.”

Here are the nine qualities identified by Andy which cover mindset, skills and values:

  1. Positive Focus – their glass is always half-full. They have the confidence that they will succeed.
  2. Goal-oriented – successful leaders always know where they want to get to. They have purpose.
  3. Accountable – strong leaders never blame others for failure. They first look to themselves.
  4. They craft a vision and creative a narrative for others to buy in to.
  5. They can motivate and inspire people around the vision and get them moving to achieve it.
  6. They hold others to account and deliver results.
  7. Leaders understand what their own values are and recognise their own behaviours around those values.
  8. They can identify the missing value an develop themselves to introduce it.
  9. Finally, they constantly reflect to ensure they are true to themselves and their values.
Great leaders don't just tell people what to do - they inspire others to follow them
Great leaders don’t just tell people what to do – they inspire others to follow them


Andy added: “Developing yourself as a strong, confident leader takes time and effort – put the effort in or you won’t succeed.

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