The five key leadership traits to hold

Ke Qin, Ang
4 min readAug 24, 2019


Everyone can be a manager, but not everyone is a good leader.

Photo by Marvin Meyer on Unsplash

As we progress in our career, most employees are likely to end up being a management positions. We work hard, we get a bigger cheque, we accumulate years of experience, and there comes the opportunity to take the management seat, where you recognised of your capability, competency and your value to the firm. Also presented with higher responsibilities, a team of employees with hopes and dreams, and higher expectations to perform and serve to the best ability for the firm.

Now take a step back.

Amongst all managers, who have gone through management training?

The few lucky ones meet great mentors and managers who guided them along their career, and they naturally learn a great deal from them. There are some who takes growth in their own hands and take up management courses, be it online or offline. While many a times, people are given the role of a manager, due to their years of experience, competency in their current role, and (hopefully) good performance.

At this moment in my career, as I move to the 6th year of working, where being senior means either becoming more specialised, or being a manager (and leading a team). I start to ponder…

How much do organisations spend time in grooming their people, not to be only good at their work, but becoming good leaders?

I believe being in a management position takes a whole different mindset.

  • You are moving from a ‘doing’ role to now a ‘thinking’ role
  • You are not expected to have all the answers, but to have a direction
  • You are expected to stay calm in any storm and make a well-informed decision
  • You are expected to work well or handle people of various personalities, mindsets and motivations

Nothing of the above has much to do with how competent you are as an auditor, consultant, marketer, designer… though it definitely helps to have the knowledge.

Photo by Maarten van den Heuvel on Unsplash

Being a manager comes from the word ‘manage’. (Disclaimer: I am not a fan of this word, nor the word ‘resource’). According to Cambridge Dictionary,

Definition of ‘Manage’ (Verb)
To be responsible for controlling or organising someone or something, especially a business or employees

In today’s world of globalised opportunities and abundance, millennials are no longer looking to be managed, not to mention control. They want to be inspired, they want to create, to make things happen, to have someone they trust and can learn from.

Everyone can be a manager but not everyone can be a great leader.

I thought about the key traits of what it takes to be a good leader, to me.

Photo by Hannah Busing on Unsplash

Below are five key leadership traits, important to me:

  1. Nurturing
  • Being a good leader does not only mean moving forward and ensuring things get done by the team. It’s important to remember that every single one of my team has placed their career under my hands.
  • It is also about their growth and what’s best for them.
  • Play to their strengths. Make them succeed.
  • It’s my job to understand them (their strengths & weaknesses) and cater work that allows them to grow and play to their strengths

2. Inspiring

  • Think out of the box
  • Do the right thing, which may not always be the easiest way out
  • Show, not tell

3. Compassionate

  • Always remember that work is just paid hours, that we are all human
  • To be compassionate, knowing life isn’t easy or smooth-sailing every day for everyone (We don’t know what others are going through)

4. Trust

  • To be trustworthy & trusting at the same time
  • To trust my team that they will do their utmost best, and I too earn their trust by doing my utmost best for them.
  • To ensure that they know I always have them covered and they can feel safe with me

5. Respect

  • Treat everyone with respect regardless of seniority, age or capabilities.
  • Speak & act with respect (We all deserve it)

Ultimately, I want my team to enjoy working, and enjoy working — with me. To willingly want to work with me because they enjoy it and know they are in good hands.

What is the leader you want to be?



Ke Qin, Ang

Digital Strategist. Enjoys books, design, architecture, flora and nature. Her motto: “Live fully, bravely & mindfully”