Great teams are led by great leaders, and great leaders all share traits that are absolutely essential to their ability to lead. These are the 5 most important traits leaders have--if you're a leader, they will transform the way you lead for mind-blowingly rewarding results.

1. Empathy

One of the most valuable traits a human being can possess is the ability to understand people. Those who are able to understand the emotions of others are better equipped to respond to them--and subsequently develop stronger, more substantial relationships with those on their teams. Leaders who are able to demonstrate empathy can more easily gain the support of those around them, becoming more respected in the eyes of their employees.

2. Awareness

Self-awareness--as well as insight when it comes to the actions of others--is always key to making the best decisions. Having enough awareness of how employees feel, even without someone explicitly telling you, or which projects are or aren't going over well, is a tremendously valuable asset. Without first being aware of a problem, it will be impossible to fix it.

3. Honesty

There's nothing more despicable than dishonesty. When someone's trust is broken, it can rarely be gained back. This is something that holds true both in our everyday lives and our professional ones as well. Great leaders always maintain a level of transparency, regardless of how difficult it may seem. It always pays off in the end.

4. Decisiveness

One of the biggest problems with society today is our inability to choose from the multitude of options surrounding us. Thus, in such a dynamic landscape, it's imperative that great leaders have enough decisiveness to carry us through. They should be quick on their feet and able to make huge, on-the-go decisions in an educated manner, gathering the data they need.

5. Optimism

Despite how easy it may seem, it's not easy to keep up positive energy. When things go sour, morale is the first thing to fall, but excellent leaders are always the ones who can pull it back up. They know the time for encouraging words, for boosting team spirit, and for making sure that people feel good enough about what they're doing to keep forging on.