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HomeHuman ResourcesLeadershipTop 10 traits of a successful leader

Top 10 traits of a successful leader

Looking to be a successful leader? Here are 10 different characteristics that a  successful leader usually has. These traits can help your business move forward and give your management team and employees the extra edge in their day to day performance.


All successful leaders think and reflect about the way they communicate, not just with their employees but their customers, management board, and even the average Joe on the street. Bringing it back to business, most successful leaders are extremely honest. Being open with their teammates is vital in order to create an environment of trust and progression. Leaders who speak open with their employees experience less staff turnover and generally are more successful as a business due to the inclusive nature that this style of leadership brings about; remember your business is a community and a community works best as a cohesive group of individuals all striving towards one goal, success.

Goal Driven

Leading on from our last point, strong and successful leaders set goals that not only push their team in the right direction but will also create a culture of anything is possible, nothing is impossible. This is extremely evident for any business that is run by a successful leader. Yes goal setting may seem more of a scientific management method as you can statistically measure goal performance but it keeps employees and management focused and this is what successful leaders appreciate the most. Successful leaders set strong goals that may seem unrealistic in the first instance, but they carry out tasks to achieve them with ultimate conviction knowing that by being honest with their team everyone is understanding of the end goal.


Communication lends itself nicely to the first characteristic we talked about, honesty. All successful leaders communicate clearly and regularly with employees and their  management team. This creates an environment based on trust. A survey conducted by Interact found that 69% of managers are often uncomfortable communicating with employees, and 37% said they’re uncomfortable having to give direct feedback about their employees’ performance if they think the employee might respond negatively to the feedback. Successful leaders don’t care much for this stigma. If communication is needed, whether that be negative or positive then it must be discussed.


No don’t worry, we aren’t talking about the law of attraction and thinking positive thoughts day in day out, however, the strongest characteristic any successful leader has in being a positive individual. Strong leaders maintain a positive mindset and attitude towards life. Yes, they may have days where negativity sets in but they understand that if their team is all working towards one goal then nothing is ever fatal in business. Keeping positive allows leaders to transcend this to their team, a trait that only leaders truly understand.


Successful leaders all share this characteristic. Creating and maintaining a vision for any business calls for self-control and creativity. A business leader ought to have the passion, strength of will, and required know-how to accomplish any long-term goals. A focused leader who can inspire his team to organisational goals is a visionary business leader and one with innovation at the heart of any decisions made.


Strategic planning plays a important role in any dynamic business culture. It is a wider and more innovative way of thinking every day about the entire goals and vision of the job, team and organisation. As strategic leaders, they must react to a rapidly evolving  business environment such as making sure all aspects of the business are covered for any unexpected outcomes, such as any employees injuring themselves whilst working for the business; this is why successful leaders make sure all insurances are in place such as employers liability insurance. Successful leaders prioritise important tasks and sideline anything that can wait.


Absolutely nothing drains dedication from a team like feeling their efforts go unrecognised. Leaders who do not show gratitude for their employees are putting their business at risk for higher turnover, lower output and malaise. Even small gestures of gratitude show employees that they make a difference. Successful leaders send out birthday cards and give bonuses and accolades when they are earned. Successful leaders are able to inspire and strengthen their team by showing their utmost appreciation for their team, they understand that they drive the business forward.


The tenacity to fail in order to succeed is one of the most common success secret of fearless leaders, and it’s also among one of the characteristics that most reliably differentiates highly successful leaders from everyone else. Fearless leaders take on more crucial challenges and, if they stumble while learning to tackle those challenges, they become better at learning from their obstacles.


Enthusiasm, purpose, listening and meaning help make a leader inspirational. Exhibiting these qualities and characteristics is a must for any successful leader, if they wish to inspire the best work from their staff members. An inspirational leader does not just say to employees that he or she is deeply committed, they prove it. A successful leader will display this commitment and enthusiasm in every meeting, presentation, and in how the they handle and tell employees to handle customer woes. A successful leaders behavior will inspire employees to act in the same way.


A successful leader can not do everything right and they know this. It is very important for a leader to focus on key responsibilities while delegating the rest to others. By that, we mean equipping your team of employees and delegating tasks to them. If you continue to micromanage your team members, it will develop a shortage of trust and more importantly, you will not be able to concentrate on the important matters. Successful leaders understand this and stay focussed on the task at hand and avoid any unnecessary distractions.


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