Leadership Traits – The 5 C’s A Good Leader Possess

A leader is a person who motivates a group of people to perform so as to achieve a common goal. Thus the definition of leadership captures the essence of being able to inspire others. The strategies applied by leaders help by inspiring staff to perform and directing the employees to the common goal in a business environment. Leadership is often spoken about in business environments, but defining leadership and good leadership traits are not as easy as it may seem.

Some CEOs believe that having human qualities such as empathy and integrity are important, while others may place precedence on having business acumen and forward thinking. It is therefore essential that organizations have a clear definition of what leadership is and what it entails to be a leader in their organization. Establishment of a set of preset filters of the traits of a good leader helps set a prerequisite for future hiring and also prepares internal staff to take on leadership roles within the organization.

Leadership traits and skills that perfectly represent the company’s culture and vision should be set as filters. This allows the right candidates to end up in positions to lead the organization while also bringing everyone to date with the company’s prerequisites. Leadership filters allow the best candidates who represent the company’s interests to be promoted and hired, while maintaining a unified work culture.

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While the definition of leadership may vary from person to person, there are five qualities of an effective leader that many CEOs find in common. They can be broadly classified as the five C’s of leadership:

C1: Confidence

One of the most important qualities that an effective leader should excel at is confidence. Confidence comes with making informed decisions, while passionately understanding each situation and being aware of themselves as well as of their surroundings. A good leader knows the difference between being too modest and not being overly confident. Having the confidence to make decisions is crucial to being a good leader. Although being in a position of power doesn’t necessarily mean that a leader will always make the right choice. Having the confidence to make the decisions that may not always be politically correct is what sets a great leader apart from the rest. 

C2: Competency

In today’s business structure and environment, leaders should be competent enough to be able to deal with any given situation. A competent leader is not one who can do everything, rather he is the one who can get anything done. A good leader is aware of their strengths as well as their shortcomings and this helps them hire the right talent to be able to compensate for these shortcomings.

Another quality of a good leader is to realize that leaders never stop learning. Knowing their weaknesses and working on improving them is crucial to all leaders in any given business setting. Staying up to date on the trending skills is also another important aspect of being a good leader.

C3: Communication skills

Having good communication skills is one of the strongest leadership traits and extremely critical for management. A leader is someone who will motivate and encourage employees by using these communications skills. Communication works both ways, thus being an active listener and empathizing with the employees is equally important. A successful organization is one where the colleagues feel that they are being heard and there is an open line of communication between the higher ups and the juniors. Empathy in leadership is what keeps employees loyal to the organization. The feeling of being heard empowers employees thus paving way for a strong leader to lead his/her organization to new heights.

C4: Character

The character of an individual may be judged by his/her credibility, honesty and reliability. Building trust amongst colleagues and juniors as well as amongst the clientele of the company is one of the characteristics of a good leader. Demonstrating knowledge and the experience required to be able to successfully run an organization can help in building a leader’s credibility. This also fosters a feeling of safety amongst staff and helps them feel safe and secure in their work environment.

C5: Commitment

Commitment can be a very broad term when it comes to defining the characteristic of a good leader. Commitment to the organization and its cause is one way of understanding the kind of leader employed by the organization. Another way to determine the commitment of a good leader is understanding their relationship with the employees and colleagues within the organization. The success of an individual or the organization is directly related to the level of commitment of its leadership. This determination of leaders to see everyone in the organization succeed is what forges the trust and dedication of both employees as well as clients and partners.

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To earn the employees trust and admiration is crucial to being a leader. Oftentimes employees end up respecting the title but not the person who is filling the duties that come with it. Encompassing the 5 C’s of leadership mentioned above will give leaders the cutting edge above any other individual competing for the role.


  • “What is leadership, and who is a leader?” By Jacob Morgan on January 6, 2020
  • “The Five C’s of Leadership” by Tyra Peluso for HYPE Blog on Apr 15, 2015

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