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7 Traits of Successful Leaders

All business leaders are not alike. There are many different leadership styles, all of which can be successful. However, if you take a handful of department heads with unique management styles, and you will see very similar traits in all of them.

The seven traits that are common to most successful business leaders include the following:

  1. Authenticity.  People can sense authenticity and authenticity is directly related to trust. Employees are much more likely to work hard for someone who is the “real thing.” True leaders stay true to their values regardless of the pressure that they are under to act otherwise. They are honest with themselves and others, and take responsibility for their mistakes.
  2. Resilience.  There will always be challenges in work and home life — what’s important is how one responds to the challenges. A great leader not only faces challenges head on, but also grows stronger as a result.
  3. Ability to delegate. Delegating is difficult for many leaders, but it’s important. Leaders who are good at delegating show employees that they have trust in them and have confidence in them. Delegating promotes learning and growth in employees.
  4. Empathy.  Empathy can make the difference between good and bad leaders. Being able to put yourself in someone else’s place is a skill that many managers or top executives lack. A leader who shows empathy toward direct reports is more likely to be viewed as a better performer by “higher ups.” People will work hard for and appreciate an empathetic leader who demonstrates compassion.
  5. Excellent communication.  This one seems obvious but can sometimes be overlooked. This means communicating with a variety of people in a variety of ways, including social media, text, phone calls, Zoom meetings, email and face-to-face. Don’t forget that active listening is just as important as talking. Listening to concerns, asking for feedback, and showing appreciation all play vital roles in how a leader is viewed. Communication is also not always verbal, but seeing non-verbal cues is a quality in an effective leader. The quality of excellent communication directly correlates to the success of a business.
  6. Honesty. It’s often hard to speak up in the workplace, especially to executives, but it’s a trait that is essential to a thriving business. It’s easy for resentment to build and gossip to begin when employees don’t feel comfortable sharing ideas and opinions. Good leaders have the courage to be honest and demonstrate the ability to discuss difficult topics. Leaders intentionally create an environment that encourages employees to do the same.
  7. Respectful.  People who feel like their boss respects them work much harder to meet goals than those who don’t. Respect motivates people to trust others and to work hard to meet and exceed expectations. Employees who have the respect of a manager, also have a sense of purpose and feel valued by their company. A lack of respect can oftentimes lead to a lack of motivation and mediocre work.

What traits are your strengths?  Where are you not as strong?  Having these traits as part of your leadership team will help set the tone at your business and its course of success.