13 Traits of the Best Successful Leaders

What is a successful leader? My definition, which is likely different from those of many others, is one that is well liked by all his stakeholders in his business world and loved by those in his personal world. He or she has proven the ability, maybe even multiple times, to “bring home the bacon”, build successful businesses that make money and assure their own survival as well as the survival of all the employees.

The traits aren’t in any order; they aren’t much more than my musings.

Thirteen habits of likeable leaders:

  1. They’re approachable – You know those people who only have time for you if you can do something for them? Likeable leaders truly believe that everyone, regardless of rank or ability, is worth their time and attention. They make everyone feel valuable because they believe that everyone is valuable.
  2. They’re humble – Few things kill likeability as quickly as arrogance does. Likeable leaders don’t act as though they’re better than you because they don’t think they’re better than you. Rather than being a source of prestige, they see their leadership position as additional accountability to serve those who follow them.
  3. They’re positive – Likeable leaders always maintain a positive outlook and this positivity shows in how they describe things. They don’t have to give a presentation to the board of directors; they get to share their vision and ideas with the board. They don’t have to go on a plant tour; they get to meet and visit with the people who make their company’s products. They don’t even have to diet; they get to experience the benefits of eating healthfully. Even in undeniably negative situations, likeable leaders emanate hope, a confidence that they can help make tomorrow better than today.
  4. They’re even-keeled – When it comes to their own accomplishments and failures, likeable leaders take things in stride. They don’t toot their own horns, nor do they get rattled when they blow it. They savor success without letting it go to their heads and readily acknowledge failure without getting mired in it. They learn from both and move on.
  5. They’re generous – We’ve all worked for someone who constantly holds something back, whether it’s knowledge or resources. They act as if they’re afraid you’ll outshine them if they give you access to everything you need to do your job. Likeable leaders are unfailingly generous with people they know, what they know, and the resources they have. They want you to do well more than anything else because they understand this is their job as a leader and because they’re confident enough to never worry that your success might make them look bad. In fact, they believe that your success is their success. In what will likely be my last book Homeless to $100 Million, I spend a lot of time discussing how to build wealth, not income, and one the tenants that the book will teach is that you can’t build substantial wealth being cheap. You need others helping you.
  6. They demonstrate integrity – Likeable leaders inspire trust and admiration through their actions, not just their words. Many leaders say integrity is important to them, but likeable leaders walk their talk by demonstrating integrity every day. Even a leader who has  charm in abundance won’t be likeable if that charm isn’t backed by a solid foundation of integrity.
  7. They read people – Likeable leaders know how to read people. They know unspoken communication is often more important than the words people say. They note facial expressions, body language and tone of voice in order to get what’s really going on with their people. In other words, they have high social awareness—a critical EQ skill. You know, like your grandad. He seemed to have an uncanny knack for sizing people up quickly and accurately.
  8. They appreciate potential – Robert Brault said, “Charisma is not so much getting people to like you as getting people to like themselves when you’re around.” Likeable leaders not only see the best in their people, but they also make sure everyone else sees it, too. They draw out people’s talents so everyone is bettering themselves and the work at hand. And look at #7; they know how to spot the potential in people; sometimes when the people don’t even know yet. I occasionally get a request to be a mentor. I don’t do it for the money, and don’t have time to waste on those that want more but can’t won’t or don’t do the things necessary to get there. And if I am not pleased with the progress, why would I make the continued investment?
  9. They are likable – Likeability isn’t a birthright; it results from acquirable skills that are crucial to your professional success. And just like other professional skills, you can study the people who have them, copy what works, and adapt them to your own style. Try these 10 strategies and watch what happens.
  10. They’re strategic – They think fast, really fast. They don’t think about how to start, they think about the goal is and how to finish. Then they plot the steps to get there. They think, if I want that, what are the steps and how do I achieve them? And they pressure test every step by thinking if I do that, what is likely to happen, and if it’s not the desired outcome, they back up and think about what they should have done. IN ADVANCE.
  11. They hold others – and themselves – accountable – It’s simple if you can do what they ask, you will be a hero; if not, you will be gone.
  12. They surround themselves with people who are smarter than they are, and who will do things that they can’t, wont, aren’t capable of or don’t want to do.
  13. They are articulate – You may think they spend too much time going over the details or the path forward, and making notes, but they know what they want and understand that in order to hold people accountable they must be able to give clear directions or instructions.

Remember only you can make business great!

Ron Sturgeon, Mr. Mission Possible, has been a successful business owner for more than 35 years. As a small business consultant, he can deliver wisdom and advice gleaned from an enviable business career that started when he opened a VW repair business as a homeless 17-year-old and culminated in the sale of several businesses he built to Fortune 500 companies.

Ron has helped bankers, lawyers, insurance agents, restaurant owners, and body shop owners, as well as countless salvage yard owners to become more successful business people. He is an expert in helping small business owners set the right business strategies, implement pay-for- performance, and find new customers on the web.

As a consultant, Ron shares his expertise in strategic planning, capitalization, compensation, growing market share, and more in his signature plainspoken style, providing field-proven, and high-profit best practices well ahead of the business news curve. Ron is the author of nine books, including How to Salvage More Millions from Your Small Business.

To inquire about consulting or keynote speaking, contact Ron at 817-834-3625, ext. 232, rons@MrMissionPossible.com5940 Eden, Haltom City, TX 76117.