10 Common Traits of Successful Leaders

Leadership qualities are more than just luck of personality, they are skills that can be honed to ensure that your business is led by a powerful force

A true leader emanates a balance of charisma, enthusiasm, and self-assurance. They are people who inspire others to want to follow them into the unknown, and to do so by their free will. People who led with confidence often find themselves seemingly at the right place at the right time, however, it is the skills that such people have acquired that put them in that position, not dumb luck.

While some leaders might possess many of the qualities that it takes to be a natural-born leader, other traits need to be practised. Some leaders are more inclined towards organization and forecasting, while others are better at listening and motivating. There is a combination of 10 things that successful leaders share, whether learned or inherent.

Self Management

Learning to be in control of your thoughts, feelings, and actions is a high-level skill that takes life experience and commitment to learning. While some people are more introspective, other people need to learn how to manage their time and goals or develop patience and resilience. A successful leader understands that self-management is a skill that gives them the ability to take full responsibility for their actions as well and have confidence in their decisions.



Effective Communication

Successful leaders know when to listen and when to respond. They can talk with people from all backgrounds and in all scenarios, from a one-on-one chat to a public speaking engagement in front of thousands of people.

Effective communication means listening, responding, and clarifying ideas. Communication is an action that takes place in written and verbal forms, and a successful leader is apt at all styles of communication.

Strategic Actions

Leaders need to adopt a forward-thinking, open-minded approach. To navigate the complexity and fast-changing direction of modern business, leaders must be able to think ahead and understand the consequences of their actions. Strategic thinking can be learned by:

  • Being curious and seeking information about your business and industry,
  • Adopting a flexible mindset and trying new approaches and ideas,
  • Forecasting the future and predicting the company’s operational conditions, and
  • Maintaining a positive outlook.

See the Future

Exceptional leaders look to the future of the company and have a clear vision of what it looks like. They understand what it is going to take to achieve that vision, they share it with their team, and they inspire and motivate everyone to want to achieve the same goals.

However, it is not as simple as having a dream and asking others to pitch in to make it a reality. A visionary has an agile mind and understands that adjustments must be made, paths created and targets moved to accommodate business growth, economic changes, and unforeseen factors. A successful leader is realistic about achieving goals and supports their team as together a business reaches targets.

Accountability and Responsibility

Effective leaders hold themselves accountable and take responsibility for their actions, be they positive or negative, and they ask that others do the same.

Successful leaders understand that mistakes are made, and they support people in their growth and development. They require that those who make mistakes also understand the how and why of any error that has occurred and devises a strategy that ensures the same mistakes are not repeated.

Goals and Persistence

People who have charisma as leaders have some things in common: they set clear goals and are determined and purposeful in achieving them. They radiate enthusiasm and are truly excited about what they are doing, which gives them a sense of self-confidence that is magnetic.

Successful leaders make plans then stick to them, motivating others with their unshakable belief that what they have planned is possible.

Manage Complexity

Solving problems under rapidly shifting circumstances and making decisions, sometimes even the wrong ones, is one of the most difficult skills a leader can learn. Thinking through crisis situations, making judgment calls, and choosing the best possible options requires a calm mind and a strong nerve. Successful leaders navigate difficult territory with the support and guidance of their team. They do not attempt to do things in isolation or in ignorance of expert opinion – they bring people together as a team and make the hard decisions based on an understanding of various potential outcomes each action could entail.

Team Building and Teamwork

Successful leadership is about understanding people. You cannot have a successful business without a successful team. A powerful leader does not pull the ladder up behind them, fending off any aspiring coworkers, they lift them up, elevate them to their full potential and develop a team of empowered individuals who are committed to the success of the business. Leadership is about inspiring the best in others, and when a successful leader sees the skills that individual team members have, and asks the person to step into their talents, they reinforce themselves as a successful leader of a motivated team.

Emotional Intelligence

Employees who feel valued and appreciated, who feel heard, who feel that they are known as an individual are more likely to commit to a business, and their projects or tasks.

A leader who listens, who allows team members to also be individuals who have personal lives, dreams, and aspirations, will be well respected.

A leader who understands themselves, their motivations, their weaknesses, their drives, will connect with people, establish real relationships, and inevitably, grow as a leader who is admired. Taking ownership of who we are, what we need to keep improving on, and how this radiates out to others is part of developing emotional intelligence, and it is part of life-long learning.

Successful leaders come from all backgrounds, are in all areas of business and daily life, and embody a host of skills. The 10 listed are some of the most common traits that truly effective leaders embody, there are more. As a community, we know a great leader when we encounter one – a person who listens, who inspires, who is respectful and considerate. We do not always agree with a great leader, but we feel confident that they are making an informed decision from a place of experience. To become a leader that people want to follow, think of people you admire and seek to hone the qualities you identify in them, in yourself.