There are a lot of different ways to be a great leader--someone that people want to follow. And just like anything else, some approaches are better than others. Here are 7 of the most important habits of truly great leaders.

1. Confident

The best leaders are confident, and their confidence is contagious. They're confident because they do their homework and know the right path to follow. While they are confident in their own positions and beliefs, they are always willing to listen to what others have to say.

2. Optimistic

No matter how bad things may be today, great leaders are always hopeful for the future. They are relentlessly positive, and they know that they can have an impact on the outcomes of their people, their team, and their company.

3. Decisive

Great leaders aren't afraid to make tough decisions--they know that it's an important part of their job. They gather enough information to make an informed decision, and they do everything they can to avoid getting mired down in too much data or input.

4. Empathetic

Great leaders put themselves in their employees' shoes--supporting them through difficult times. Rather than making things personal when they encounter problems, or assigning blame to individuals, great leaders look for constructive solutions and focus on moving forward.

5. Accountable

Great leaders don't hesitate to take responsibility when things go right--or wrong. When things are going well, they praise the employees who are responsible for the success. When problems arise, they identify them quickly, seek solutions, and get things back on track.

6. Honest

The very best leaders know that honesty really is the best policy. They treat their employees like adults--not children--and they are truth tellers instead of truth deniers.

7. Inspiring

Great leaders paint an inspiring vision of the future--one that engages their people by showing them their place in it. But words aren't enough. Great leaders follow words with action--assigning their employees meaningful roles in working to achieve the vision they have created.