The 3 Key Qualities of a Great Team Leader

People often ask me: What are the key skills you look for in great team leader? What is it that separates a good team leader from a great team leader?

What it is is quite simple to grasp. How to do it is a bit trickier.

In this article, I will show you:

  • What the key attributes of great team leaders are;
  • How you can recognize in yourself if they are sufficiently present; and
  • If not present, what you can do in order to improve.

The 3 Key Attributes of Great Team Leaders

Let us take the easy part first. Fundamentally, great team leaders are recognized in the behavior of their followers or members. The followers and members mirror the quality of their team leaders.

What you see in great teams are these:


  • There is a clear sense of a desired future that everyone buys into.

  • Team members are individually clear on what the team is trying to achieve as a whole.


  • Roles and goals are clear individually.

  • There is a clear understanding of how each and every one contributes to the larger picture.

  • Everyone has a sense that this is a well-coordinated and well synchronized effort.


  • Team members go the extra mile.

  • There is a sense of mutual understating and trust.

  • There are visibly high levels of engagement.

How to Evaluate Yourself and Your Team

Here is an easy way to check your own team or anyone else's team for that matter—what we observe in teams who have:

Lack of Clear Direction

  • No agreement on priorities

  • Team members feel they are being pulled in multiple directions.

  • There are lots of activity but not much progress.

Lack of Alignment

  • Deadlines are missed. Rework is required and lots of errors are evident, resulting in double work.

  • People feel disconnected from each other.

  • Internal competition and blame games are the norm.

Lack of Commitment

  • Only the easy things get done.

  • Team members are questioning what is in it for them.

  • Individuals avoid taking ownership and responsibility.

Now, it is up to you to evaluate to what extent these three key indicators are present on your team. Look at yourself in the mirror and decide if anything could be improved. Find out what it takes to be an inspiring team leader.

How to Develop the 3 Key Skills of a Great Team Leader

How does one make that leap from good to great as a team leader?

It is a process, not a quick fix. Here is how you can do it:

Observe, reflect, learn, plan and act.

Repeat this weekly for about 12 weeks and review your progress

This is not always easy to do on your own but it is a breeze—and great fun—with a good coach to support you.

That is exactly what I can help you do with the Team Leader’s Toolbox program.

How You Can Train to Become a Great Team Leader

We start off by defining what you specifically see as your leadership challenge. It is different from one leader to the next, so in order for this to work, we need to work with the challenges that are specific to your needs.

Then, you have one week to study the first module of video training from me.

In the following week, you schedule a call with me through Zoom and we have a coaching session where we discuss your challenge in relation to what you have learned in the past week.

Then, we go back to the following week’s learning module.

Presumably, you will also be at work during this period. In effect, your work becomes our live laboratory to try out what you are learning and subsequently discuss with me on our live call.

I call this tutored e-learning. It is a powerful way of learning that produces clear change and new behavior. It is the only way to ensure you make solid progress as opposed to just signing up for something you never finish.

Take the First Step Now

The sooner you roll up your sleeves and start working on the skills that will make you an exceptionally good team leader, the sooner you will benefit from the result in your career—and the happier your team will be.
When is a good time to get started?
Because if not now, when?

Further Reading

Understanding Direction, Alignment & Commitment (DAC)

The Definition of the Flipped Classroom

Using Experience to Develop Leadership Talent: How Organizations Leverage On-the-Job Development: One-on-one human tutoring leads to marked improvement in learning over conventional methods of teaching. (Bloom, 1984)

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Mike Hohnen, MBA is a coach, trainer, author and public speaker who supports leaders, managers and their teams in implementing the principles of the Service Profit Chain.

Discover how the Team Leader's Toolbox brings out the best in you.

Explore the course that will show you how to develop your leadership qualities, step by step.