6 Leadership Skills for Cybersecurity Professionals

Great leadership is the result of someone who takes great pride in bringing others along for the enriching climb up the ladder to success. This climb often leads to new discoveries, advancements, and shared achievements.

Think about those people in your career who have challenged you to develop into the best version of yourself. I imagine that many admirable qualities come to mind. These people may have varying titles that spread across many different ranges of the cybersecurity landscape. A great leader is not created by a position held. A leader doesn’t have to be a seasoned professional. An entry level cybersecurity professional can be just as great a leader.

So what does it take to develop into such a dynamic leader? How does one go from getting a cybersecurity degree to becoming an influencer in the field? It takes the desire to learn and grow leadership skills that will inspire others.

6 important leadership skills:

Self Awareness

According to an article in Forbes Magazine, Are Leaders Born or Made, the single most powerful way to grow as a leader is to become truly self-aware. Leaders know what drives them to do the things they do. They know how to enter that creative zone and stay there. Leaders understand how to play to their greatest strengths. An engaged leader knows the value they bring to their team members. They are also honest about their weaknesses. When leaders know what matters most to them and to their team, they can help develop momentum. They can also create a motivating atmosphere that keeps everyone in the game to win.

cybersecurity leadership


Of all the qualities that cybersecurity teams expect their leaders to have, integrity is right up there next to self-awareness. If leaders expect their team members to behave a certain way, they too should be operating on the same principles. Modeling appropriate actions for a team sets the standard and creates the motivation for all to uphold them.

Clear and Concise Communication

Communicating effectively is the pinnacle of good management in any circumstance. Leaders must clearly communicate objectives, strategies, and feedback with the rest of their team. Effective cybersecurity leaders encourage team members to voice their thoughts candidly and openly. Employees who feel comfortable speaking honestly about their concerns will undoubtedly prove to be more productive and loyal to the team.

Optimistic Outlook

Positivity is contagious. By modeling an optimistic perspective, effective leaders will achieve career success while also making the office a much happier place. When something doesn’t go exactly as planned, members of the group turn to their leader for innovative solutions and reassurance. Inspiring leaders exhibit a sense of control of the situation and provide a voice of reason in stressful times. By acting optimistically, leaders cultivate a consistently positive workplace culture.


Influential leaders are obviously passionate about the work that they do. They are vocal about their commitment to the organization’s goals and they tend to stress the importance of the critical work their teams do to validate the efforts of all involved. That enthusiasm boosts office morale and encourages others to act the same way.

Focused on Relationships

Leaders get along with everyone in the corporate seam. They take a personal interest in the lives and motivations of those they work alongside. They build and nurture working relationships that foster a culture of shared work priorities and vision. When a team of accountable professionals works together and each member is accountable to the next, magic can happen. A great leader takes the time to make sure that every member of their team feels valued. Something as simple as asking about someone’s family or hobby can build trust and respect and create a lasting bond.

If you’re looking to grow as a leader in the cybersecurity field, consider an accelerated cyber security degree or graduate certificate in Cybsecurity from UMBC.

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