Describing a leader

A leader is often somebody that can sees the improvements that need to be made and then empower others to achieve those things. But what words do we commonly use to describe good leaders?

I think we’ve all probably experienced a good manager and a bad one. Just because somebody received a job in a management position, it doesn’t mean they’re a good leader.

However, I think that the language we use to describe good leaders matters and being a ‘leader’ is something that we should discuss in a positive way.


An empathetic person has the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. This is very important for a leader, because they need to be able to understand others so they can inspire them to achieve an objective. 

Connects well

Strong leaders connects and communicates well with others. This leads to respect and it means that the leader can avoid and resolve conflict quickly. 

Self aware

You can’t direct others unless you’re aware of your own strengths and weaknesses. If you don’t know yourself, then you won’t lead others effectively. So self awareness is a positive leadership trait.  

Reads the room

Not everybody reads the room effectively, but strong leaders have strong situational awareness skills. It’s important to know what is going on around you, so that you can take effective decisions. 

Strong negotiator 

Effective leaders have strong negotiation skills. They get the best terms and they often achieve their desired outcome. 

A top collaborator

Leaders sometimes need to work alone, but they must be able to collaborate with others too. You have to work with others in order to achieve big group goals. 


Leaders sometimes have to make brave and courageous decisions. You can’t effectively lead a team unless you can deal with uncertainty, fear and doubt.

Why does language matter?

When you see leadership skills in action, there are plenty of positive ways to describe them. We shouldn’t just refer back to a stereotype either. A leader might be London-based high-flying legal professional. But they might also be a yoga-loving camping enthusiast, living in Scotland. Language matters because it helps us to perpetuate, or crush stereotypes.