What are the Qualities of a Good Leader?

Many members attended the Leadership Workshops presented at council meetings during the last two years.  Here is more information to help those in chapter, district, and State leadership positions understand some of the qualities of a good leader. There are many interesting and informative articles online about leadership. The Leadership Workshops presented at the council meetings are available on the CSSDAR Members’ website.  NSDAR has many leadership webinars archived on the DAR Members’ website on a variety of topics.


Integrity – A leader must have the trust of her followers and this is accomplished through being honest, adhering to moral standards or having a sound moral character. Honest dealings, predictable reactions, well-controlled emotions, and an absence of tantrums, harsh outbursts, and melt-downs are all signs of integrity. A leader who is centered in integrity is more approachable.  Basically, “what you see is what you get.”

Dedication – Fully and selflessly giving of one’s self to a purpose.

Magnanimity –  Giving credit where it is due. This is so important. A magnanimous leader ensures that credit for successes is spread as widely as possible throughout the organization. On the flip side, a good leader takes personal responsibility for failures. This helps other people feel good about themselves and draws the team closer together. A good leader spreads the praise and the buck stops with her when it comes to failure.

Humility – Leaders recognize that they are no better or worse than other members of the team. They have a modest opinion of their status. A humble leader tries to raise everyone up. Leaders with humility also understand that their title does not raise them to “royal” status.

Openness means being able to listen to new ideas, even if they do not conform to the usual way of thinking. Good leaders are not judgmental while listening to the ideas of others and they are able to accept new ways of doing things that someone else thought of. Openness builds mutual respect and trust, and it also keeps gives the team new exciting ideas that can further the vision or goals of the organization.

Creativity is the ability to think differently, to get outside of the box. Creativity gives leaders the ability to see things that others have not seen and thus lead followers in new directions. The most important question that a leader can ask is, “What if … ?”

Fairness means dealing with others consistently and justly. A leader must check all the facts and hear everyone out before passing judgment. He or she must avoid leaping to conclusions based on incomplete evidence. When people feel they that are being treated fairly, they reward a leader with loyalty and dedication.

Assertiveness is not the same thing as being “aggressive.” It is the ability to clearly state what one expects so that there will be no misunderstandings. A leader must be assertive to get desired results. It is also the responsibility of the leader to clearly understand what followers expect from their leader.

Finally, a sense of humor is absolutely vital to alleviate tension and boredom, as well as decrease or defuse hostility. Effective leaders know how to use humor to energize followers. Humor is a very powerful ingredient in leadership roles. Perhaps the greatest purpose of humor is to increase the camaraderie of team members!

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