Many of us can and will succeed in the business world, but it takes a certain kind of individual to be a truly successful leader. Following are four of the traits that I have found the most successful and respected leaders and entrepreneurs tend to have in common.
One of the qualities that great leaders need is the ability to inspire those around them. Getting any business off the ground often involves a degree of risk and it can take some time before it starts to deliver profits. In the gap between the initial idea and generating a return on the investment, business leaders have to be able to give those who are involved in the venture the confidence and motivation they need to keep working towards the end goal. Whether you are dealing with investors, collaborators or employees, as a leader, you have to be able to convey your enthusiasm, passion and belief in the project to inspire people to get on – and stay on – board.
2) The art of delegation
Leaders must be able to delegate. Young entrepreneurs often try to micromanage every aspect of their companies, which is understandable as you have so much invested in the business. But, uUltimately, this is a recipe for stress and strategic challenges down the road. As an owner and leader, focussing too much on the minutiae of your business, means you risk jeopardising your long-term success. Knowing what to delegate, and to whom, frees you up to use your insight and vision to keep your business on course. It also means you build a strong team around you.
And I speak from experience. In my role as founder and chairman of the Cobra Group of Companies, I am responsible for setting the strategic direction of the businesses within the group and for making key decisions to ensure the goals are met. If I didn’t have good people around me to manage the day-to-day running of each of the enterprises within the group, I would be unable to perform this critical function.
3) Excellent communicators
The best leaders are also first-rate communicators. It’s no good having visionary ideas if you are unable to express them in a clear, engaging and persuasive manner. For this reason, leaders must be able to connect with people on all levels and in a range of scenarios. From having one-to-one discussions with employees to giving public presentations in front of stakeholders, it’s important to develop your skills and confidence in public speaking so you are capable of getting your vision and key messages across convincingly.
Without exception, all great leaders are able to maintain a positive attitude. This is essential because being in charge of an organisation inevitably brings its challenges. From changes in market demand to issues among employees, you will face a whole series of obstacles throughout your journey as a leader and entrepreneur. Being able to focus on the bigger picture and maintain an optimistic outlook, even when the odds seem stacked against you, is something that characterises the most effective leaders. Staying calm and assured not only helps you to make the right decisions, it also instils greater confidence in the people around you.
Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list of the qualities that leaders need, but it does cover some of the most important traits.