Leadership is more than being the best at the job you did before. It’s often the case that the best ‘doers’ aren’t the best leaders.

Think about the great leaders you know – your favourite boss, a great sportsperson, a historical political leader.

What sets them apart?

In almost every instance it will be their Character. Not what they know or what they do, but who they are.

That’s their X-Factor.

Five Character Qualities that could transform your career

Here are five Qualities that we believe are common to most great leaders and are vital for anyone looking to advance their own leadership impact.

Whether you’re an accountant, a psychologist, a sports coach or a budding Prime Minister, these Character Qualities, if used well, will play a big part in your success. There are others, yes, but let’s start with these five.

1 Visionary

A great leader has vision. They see an opportunity beyond the current horizon and they are able to communicate it to others, introducing them to the possibilities that aren’t currently visible to most.

Q: Who is the most visionary person you know?

2 Humble

Leadership isn’t about having all the answers and being right all the time. Being able to listen and accept that you may be wrong is crucial to making the right decisions and achieving the end goal.

Q: How can you open yourself and your ideas to challenge from others?

3 Honest

A leader has to be honest if they are to drive real change: honest with their team, colleagues and managers above them in the hierarchy. It’s not about being rude or abrupt; it’s about clearly communicating rationally, with conviction and compassion.

Q: How do you like to receive feedback from a colleague or manager?

4 Strategic

Stepping out of the weeds, looking at the bigger picture and making decisions for the long term sets leaders apart from operators.

Q: Can you clearly articulate long-term v short-term objectives?

5 Compassionate

Generally, leaders are leaders of people and not machines. People have human challenges, issues at home, ill health and worries. They make mistakes and they can learn. A compassionate leader will help people to grow, engender loyalty and commitment.

Q: How could you encourage someone who has made a mistake and feels lost?

Take time to think about your own journey of development and reflect on these Qualities. Is there one thing you could do in any of these areas?