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10 Traits That All Business Leaders Should Have

Having the privilege of working with some of the top CEO’s/Executive’s in the world has allowed me personal access to some of the brightest minds of our time. One of my favorite questions to ask is “what would you say is one of the pivotal moments you attribute your success to?” Believe me this is a really fun question to ask because each individual’s path is different, but the answers however seem to be just about the same. Below you will find the top 10 that I hear time and time again. These are in no particular order…

1. Think Creatively

While being able to manage finances is an important part of business, it pales in comparison to the ability to creatively problem-solve. In the business world, problems will inevitably arise in which a solution is not readily apparent. Thinking creatively is often the only way a solution can be found, and those who fail to do so might find themselves quickly out of business.

2. Surround Yourself with the Brightest Minds

Contrary to what popular figures like Gordon Gekko would have you believe, having a huge ego is not the key to success in the business world. Being able to identify and surround yourself with talented people who are smarter than you in specific fields will give you a far greater chance of success, because your company will have the broad skillset needed to thrive. So find the best and the brightest, and hire them as quickly as possible.

3. Be Willing to Fail

Risk is an inevitable part of being and entrepreneur. Those who are risk-averse are destined to remain employees, not employers. If it were possible to guarantee success, everyone would want to be a business leader. In reality, you must understand that there is a very real risk of absolute failure. The difference between leaders in business and followers is the willingness to lose it all for an idea you believe in.

4. Always Be Growing Your Network

Regardless of industry, networking is an absolutely crucial part of becoming successful in business. Networking will open the doors to opportunities and relationships that will be the difference between success and failure, so take every opportunity you have to meet new people, build a positive relationship with them, and find mutually beneficial opportunities.

5. Have a Strong Work Ethic

Starting a new business or maintaining an existing one are two of the most difficult jobs. They require a tremendous amount of hard work, and the ability to come back day after day. Without a strong work ethic, it is simply impossible to put in the long hours required to be successful.

6. Choose to be Honest

In business, and in life, the most important asset you have is the integrity of your word. While it is true that some business leaders in fiction and the real world have become successful by being conniving and manipulative, the vast majority of the time this behavior can come back to damage you. If employees, clients, etc., don’t trust you, it will become increasingly difficult to convince them to put their faith in you or give you 100% of their effort.

7. Be a Great Listener

No matter how well you think you know your company or an your industry, you must always be listening to those around you for advice on what needs to be changed and what should stay the same. Often times, your customers, employees, etc., will have a perspective that you lack, simply by virtue of the fact that they are not as emotionally invested in a concept or idea as you could be. Remain open-minded to the suggestions of those you surround yourself with.

8. Have the Stamina to Persevere

Success in business can take years. Those that are not able to put in the hard work without any results for an extended period of time will eventually lose heart and give up. If you wish to be successful, you must be willing to endure hardship after hardship until your efforts pay off.

9. Manage Your Stress

Although some don’t see it this way, being a business leader can be one of the most stressful jobs in the world. While getting stressed out is an inevitable part of life, learning to manage and mitigate it will prevent burnout and allow you to enjoy the fruits of your hard work.

10.Remain Optimistic

A healthy sense of optimism is crucial for any business leader. There will be an endless barrage of people and events trying to convince you that failure is inevitable. It is up to you to overcome those distractions and keep your eye on the long-term prize.

After writing the 10 above I couldn’t help but think about an 11th one that came to mind. A mentor of mine, Alan Hall Founder of MarketStar, eloquently told me over lunch, “Eamon, it is all about luck”, and to be honest he’s probably right.

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