Throughout history, there have been a handful of universally great leaders. Whether these individuals fought for religious freedoms, civil rights, or the advancement of women in the workplace, each of them demonstrated courage. In addition to bravery in the face of challenge, there are several other characteristics that are common among notable leaders. The public and those close to them have great respect for these leaders. They earned that respect over time and through consistent behaviors.


While no human being is perfect, a respected leader always behaves with integrity. You can earn respect by being honest in your business dealings. Exhibit role model behaviors such as selflessness, and stay positive despite negative circumstances. Do not accept bribes or favor one person or group over another. Accept feedback and take it under advisement, even if you do not believe the criticism. Employees respect a leader they can look up to and even aspire to be like as their own career progresses.


Respected leaders definitely have the gift of communication. They are able to effectively relay messages and plans to one individual or an entire stadium full of people. But the most important part of communication is the transparency and openness of the message. Do not hide or conceal information unless it is required due to a confidentiality clause. Otherwise, relay information in real time and ensure that everyone hears and understands the same message. Allow time for questions and answer them as thoroughly as possible. Be very open with employees during performance reviews and tell them the truth about how they can improve or grow within the organization.


Being trustworthy is very similar to being a person of integrity, but goes well beyond the surface. Trustworthy leaders take their position very seriously and do not engage in activities or conversations that could even possibly be misconstrued. They do not make promises they cannot keep and they stand by their word and what they believe in, even when it costs them something valuable. As a trustworthy leader, you will advise employees on ways to improve their performance and then honor any agreements you made concerning salary increases or promotions. Trusted leaders keep secrets and make employees feel comfortable speaking in confidence.