The Best Leadership Qualities in 2022

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Being a leader means more than just owning a company or having your name on the deed to a retail store. In fact, being a leader more often means representing certain key leadership qualities that can be seen and experienced by your employees and clients.

If you already lead a business, odds are you have at least some of these leadership qualities inherent to your personality. As for all other important qualities, you can cultivate them with a focused, disciplined mindset and some practice.

Today, let’s break down the best leadership qualities in 2022 that will help your company survive and thrive in the modern market.

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Emotional Intelligence

To be a good leader, you need to have excellent emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is a broad skill set that includes:

  • Being able to understand how you come across to others
  • Understanding why people relate to you the way they do
  • Understanding why people phrase things in specific ways

Put another way, it’s about understanding the impact your words, communication, and business texts have on other people. Quality leaders always have excellent emotional intelligence. It’s part of what allows them to lead people through thick and thin without having employees abandon ship when things get a little tough.

You can cultivate emotional intelligence by listening to others, paying attention to how your employees and clients respond, and doing your best not to talk over other people. Let’s break down four subsidiary skills closely related to emotional intelligence.


Humility is a specific trait all leaders should seek to hone and practice. No one likes a braggart for a leader, and showing humility will make your clients and employees more likely to trust your word. While some leaders maintain a cult of personality and forsake humility entirely, said cults never last long.

Humble leaders inspire loyalty in their followers. In addition, being truly humble allows you to recognize your own character flaws and blind spots. When you speak with your advisors or confidants, you’ll be more likely to take their advice into account and potentially avoid disasters down the road.


Also important is empathy, which is the art of putting yourself in another person’s shoes. Empathetic leaders connect more deeply to their long-term customers and, more importantly, their employees.

This, in turn, helps generate loyalty in a small business’s workforce. When you empathize with your workers, you can:

  • Better understand what motivates them, thus allowing you to incentivize them for greater productivity
  • Determine what pain points they might be experiencing in their day-to-day work. It may allow you to stop those pain points and make your organization a better place to work at

Both of these effects will lead your company to become more successful and have lower employee turnover. If you cultivate a loyal, strong workforce, you’ll spend less time constantly hiring new employees and more time enjoying productivity from the experienced, hard-working employees already at your business.


Then there’s integrity, a core part of emotional intelligence that leads people to trust you. As a business leader, you should do as you say, not act like the rules don’t apply to you. For example, if you set a workplace policy requiring employees to work six days on a certain week to meet sudden deadlines, you should also be in the office for those six days.

A big part of integrity means walking the walk, not just talking the talk. If you have integrity, your employees will be more likely to follow you even when things get difficult. Furthermore, they will believe you when you promise upcoming benefits like life insurance, incentives like bonus pay, etc. They won’t think of your words as empty platitudes they can dismiss in the next moment.


The last of the emotional intelligence skills is transparency. You should have an open-door policy for all your employees, clients, and customers. Even as your business grows, no issue should be so far beneath you that you can’t hear it.

Not only does this help you take the pulse of your workforce from time to time, but it also:

  • Shows you are committed to listening to your front-line employees, which further generates loyalty
  • Ensures that employees feel like they can trust you and don’t need to hide things from you

As a leader, the last thing you want is for your employees to believe they can’t come to you with critical concerns, especially when safety or dignity are involved. Be transparent in your decisions, mistakes, and desires, and your employees will be honest and transparent with you in return.

Communication Skills

While emotional intelligence skills are supremely important, so are communication skills. As a leader, you need to communicate effectively with your workforce, clients, and any future customers.

Communication skills include knowing:

  • What to say and when to say it
  • How to strike the right tone when talking to different people. For example, you should speak differently to a trusted employee than to a new customer

Communication skills also include being willing to learn from every conversation you have. No one is a perfect communicator, but you should be willing to admit fault or mistakes when you make them. Social grace is more closely tied to honesty than many people think.

Be direct, truthful, and gracious in your conversations, and you’ll become a better communicator in no time.


Persuasiveness is closely related to the other communication skills you need to learn to become a great leader. In business, persuasion is important, so you can:

  • Convince employees to stick with you through thick and thin
  • Pitch projects or ideas to board members or other executives on your team
  • Handle PR crises as they crop up (and they will!)

Note that persuasiveness is not the same as knowing how to lie effectively. When you persuade someone, you should believe what you say. This conviction will, in fact, make your persuasive efforts more successful. Always try to persuade people by saying what you really mean.


Any good leader needs to know how to make decisions. Simple, right? In truth, many leaders struggle with being decisive. Decisiveness isn’t just the art of making decisions quickly, though; it’s also the art of making the right decisions on time.

Decisiveness shows that you know what you’re doing, which inspires confidence in your followers no matter your industry. You can practice this trait by being more decisive in your day-to-day life. For example, don’t dilly dally when ordering a Starbucks coffee. Simply make a choice and roll with it.

As you gain experience, your decisiveness will be paired with business wisdom. Your decisions will gradually become better for the company, along with your leadership qualities.


Rationality should be considered an important leadership trait as well. Even though you need to be emotionally intelligent and able to empathize with your customers or employees, you should remain levelheaded and calm at all times.

Nothing diminishes faith in a leader like an angry explosion or a descent into despair. Even if you have a bad quarter, interact with a disgruntled customer, or have some other negative experience, remain rational and work through the problem calmly.

A calm leader can act as an island of stability for all the human elements in a company. When your employees see you weathering a new storm with the same stoic demeanor that you always have, they’ll be more likely to let negative experiences roll off their backs as well.


Naturally, any quality leader needs to have a good amount of vision. You need to know:

  • What the ultimate goal of your company is, both practically and symbolically
  • Where do you hope your company will be in a month, a year, and 5 years
  • What your company should do in a broad sense, especially as it pertains to big ideas like the world market for your industry

Vision is important because you’ll need to decide how to evolve or scale your company as you acquire increased resources and revenue. The right vision can lead a company to become an industry champion or a trendsetter. But the wrong vision can cause your business to flounder and eventually fail.

If you don’t already have a broad vision for your company, develop one ASAP.


Modern business leaders no longer have any excuses for not knowing how to use Microsoft Excel or leverage important technologies. You need to be tech-savvy to the same degree as your employees, especially when it comes to the tools and products that your business puts out.

If your company creates a new product or technology, make it your mission to at least know how it works to a moderate level. You should also know how evolving technologies, like AI and machine learning, may impact your business and how those tools can benefit your company in the long run.


A good leader is usually organized. Your desk can be as cluttered as you want, but when it comes to your business goals and meetings, you need to know what’s going on each day and how to accomplish every objective on your list.

Excellent Time Management

Related to organizational skills is time management. Good leaders know how to manage time effectively for themselves and others, especially if you do the schedule for your employees. Be sure to give yourself and your team regular breaks to maintain morale and energy levels throughout the day. But also be sure to use work time productively, not wastefully.

Good at Delegating

Last but not least, a great modern leader will be excellent at delegating, especially as they grow their business and acquire more subordinates. Eventually, you won’t have enough time or energy to do everything yourself. You’ll need to know how to delegate important tasks to others, such as other executives or shift supervisors.

Good delegation means knowing who can be entrusted with certain responsibilities and when to let go. Attention to detail is important, but not if you are so detail-oriented that you don’t let your employees do their jobs. 

Wrapping up

Ultimately, each of these leadership qualities plays an important role in determining which leaders will inspire their employees and which companies will flounder. Whether you already lead a company or seek to launch a start-up soon, you should consciously cultivate these leadership qualities to improve your business prospects.

Best of all, each of these qualities will serve you well in the decades to come. As universal positives, they’re important leadership qualities for all company leaders, not just in 2022 but in 2023 and beyond.

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Nahla Davies

Nahla Davies is a software developer and tech writer. Before devoting her work full time to technical writing, she managed—among other intriguing things—to serve as a lead programmer at an Inc. 5,000 experiential branding organization whose clients include Samsung, Time Warner, Netflix, and Sony.