May 01, 2024

5 qualities of a successful leader part 1: Personal proficiency

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photo of guy sitting at desk in officeThe UAB Medicine Leadership Competency Model features five domains with 19 competencies. In this series, we’ll take a closer look at this model and how it can be used to empower leadership.

In today's dynamic and competitive world, effective leadership is not just about the perceived authority that comes with the title but about embodying a set of qualities that inspire and drive positive change.

Let's delve into the first of the five domains in the UAB Medicine Leadership Competency Model: personal proficiency.

“As we learn to lead others, we also need to lead from within,” said Jean Ann Larson, Ph.D., Chief Leadership Development Officer for UAB Medicine. “Leadership can be challenging, and it is important to know ourselves: our mission, our purpose, and our values. Managing and caring for ourselves is the most challenging task of all.”

At the core of every great leader lies a commitment to personal growth and development. Here are the qualities that set them apart when it comes to personal proficiency.


Successful leaders are lifelong learners who continuously seek knowledge, adapt to new challenges, and remain resilient in the face of adversity. They actively solicit feedback to refine their skills and strategies, viewing setbacks as opportunities for growth.


Leaders readily establish rapport with others, fostering trust and respect. Their positive brand radiates authenticity and inspires confidence in their leadership.


A successful leader prioritizes self-care and promotes a culture of well-being within their team. They lead by example, demonstrating the importance of work-life balance and mental health awareness.


Service-minded and empathetic, they lead with humility and integrity, earning the trust and loyalty of their team. Their actions are guided by a genuine desire to uplift others and make a positive impact.


Navigating challenges with tact and ethics, leaders take decisive action when needed, instilling confidence and driving progress. Their courage inspires others to overcome obstacles and embrace change.

In essence, personal proficiency serves as the bedrock upon which exceptional leadership is built, empowering leaders to inspire and drive positive change.

Stay tuned for part 2 of the “5 qualities of a successful leader” series.