As we grow and develop our leadership skills, it’s important to focus on what will turn us from average leaders to great leaders! However, being a great leader isn’t easy. And while there are certainly more than five essential qualities that make a great leader, here are five that are important to me:

1. Don’t be too big for the small things.

As I was disgruntled at navigating a parking lot full of stray carts, I was reminded of a graphic I recently came across and a phrase I’ve heard before: “if you’re too big to do the small things, you’re too small to do the big things.”


Being a leader isn’t about the notoriety, the earning potential, or the big events… it’s about doing the little things the right way. These small things build up over time and become the big things: memorable moments, team achievement and engagement, and business success. Here are some great examples of small actions you can take to have a huge impact!

2. Nurture your own growth mindset.

Yes, serve others, but don’t forget about yourself! You can’t lead or perform if you neglect your personal and professional development needs. One way to positively influence yourself (and, in turn, others) is to nurture a growth mindset.

While we often encourage a growth mindset in others, it starts with cultivating our own. Every time we let go of a fixed mindset in favor of growth, we increase our resilience for the next challenge.

If you’re feeling stuck, take a moment to reflect on your mindset. Maybe it’s time to do something new and uncomfortable like trying something you’ve never done before. You can even build a new habit or take a new class. Push yourself to identify where you can improve. As you grow and learn, you’ll continue to make a positive impact on your team.

3. Demand work-life balance.

Demand work-life balance for your team AND for yourself! Balance between personal lives and professional lives is good for employees’ health and the health of the business’s bottom line. Intentionally helping workers balance their lives results in increased productivity, reduced staff turnover, less stress, and lower absenteeism.

But it starts with you! As a leader, you have the power to create a culture that encourages balance.

Encourage your team to establish their own business hours, take breaks, use their vacation time (and not work during it!), enjoy hobbies, disconnect outside of office hours, implement self-care, and practice empathy. Visit here for more ideas on improving your work-life balance!

4. Fail. And fail a lot!

The fear of failure is a powerful force that leaves many of us feeling stuck. As humans, we tend to prefer our comfort zones. But there is a lot to learn in those moments of feeling defeat, discomfort, and failure.

The resulting lessons often lead to personal and professional growth including building resiliency, staying humble, and expanding your knowledge!

5. Have more fun!

Life is too short to not have more fun! After all, the average person spends 90,000 hours working during their lifetime. Is it unreasonable to expect to have a little fun along the way? Of course not! I believe having fun at work should be a priority.

Employees who have fun at work are happy employees. Having fun boosts productivity, increases endorphins, decreases illness, reduces work absences, and enhances personal and professional relationships. 

There’s no reason not to incorporate fun into your team or organization!  

What are other qualities do you think are essential to a being great leader? 

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