The One Trait That Separates the Best Leaders From Great Ones

the ones that absolutely everyone loves


Tealfeed Guest Blog

3 years ago | 2 min read

It’s Tact.

Hear me out. I know many of you have your own opinions about what traits the best leaders have. And chances are, I agree with you.

I know great leaders have skills and knowledge. I know great leaders eat last. I know great leaders empathize, are knowledgeable, and communicate well.

But consistently, I’ve noticed the greatest leaders — the ones that absolutely everyone loves — are the leaders who are thoughtful about their communication.

Everyone has opinions. Disagreements happen. But great leaders are strategic and intelligent about how they voice their opinions, when, and to whom.

This tactfulness allows them to still have their own opinions and be honest with others, but preserve the integrity and respect of their peers. The latter is extremely important to have as a leader.

Great leaders are strategic and intelligent about how they voice their opinions, when, and to whom.

There’s a lot to be said about preserving the respect and admiration of your peers. Even if you’re the most charming, charismatic, skilled, and intelligent leader in the world, it’s difficult to lead effectively when people dislike you and are actively pushing against you.

This calls to mind the famous proverb: If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.

By putting more thought into their reactions and words, the best leaders demonstrate not only heightened empathy and care for others, but also that they’re proactive, have strong strategic thinking, and have others’ best interests in mind.

All of this ties together into stronger teamwork and cooperation — maximizing the great leadership this person already had.

There are otherwise great leaders who have ruined their public perceptions simply by saying things that didn’t need to be said, or at the wrong time.

I am guilty of this too, and it’s something I think about and continue to work on every day. On some days I really struggle: it’s so much easier to just “be myself” and react to things how I normally do.

But oftentimes (maybe even most of the time), there are better ways to say what you’re about to say. There are probably better times to say it. And there are probably better people to say it to.

People are prideful — I believe we need pride to produce our best work. But pride is sensitive, and opinions, however innocent they were meant to be, can hurt this pride. Preserving it will earn you high spots on people’s rankings.


The best leaders remain the best leaders by being thoughtful and strategic about how they express their opinions.

A tactful leader stands heads and shoulders above the rest because they not only are able to be honest with their opinions — they preserve others’ pride, dignity, and respect while doing so.

By taking a step back and considering the impact of how you say something, you can elevate the leadership traits you already have and take another step towards becoming the best leader you possibly can be.

So next time you’re about to just react and say something — stop, and think on it a bit.

This article was originally published by Michael (Vinny) Thanh on medium.


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