Characteristics of a Successful Leader

Characteristics of a Successful Leader


From Steve Jobs to Martin Luther King, Jr., there are common traits that all great leaders share. Whether you are at the top or bottom of your company’s totem pole, if you want to be a successful leader, read on!

They are charismatic and passionate.

Great leaders must, first and foremost, be passionate about their cause. Could Martin Luther King, Jr. have rallied the United States into action if he had not been passionate about civil rights, and a spectacular writer and orator? Where would Apple be today if Steve Jobs had been quiet and passive about technology? If you do not believe in your cause, or your technology, or your company’s mission, then it is time to rethink and realign yourself to lead to the best of your ability.

They are inspiring and empowering.

Not only do successful leaders inspire the people around them to take action, but they empower their followers. They give them a reason to want to innovate, to revolutionize, to fight for their cause or research and implement new technology or strategies. Great leaders ensure that everyone involved is helping the cause move forward.

They are honest and full of integrity.

In fabled United States mythology, George Washington came forward about chopping down a cherry tree. Honest Abe could never tell a lie. These men were steadfast leaders of our nation, and were able to lead us to revolution, both literally (the Revolutionary War), and figuratively (Emancipation). One cannot be a good leader without the trust of their constituents.

They know how to delegate, communicate, and hold others accountable.

Every great leader has a team behind them to deal with everything from the nitty-gritty to the big ideas. It is vital to remember that no one can go it alone. Successful leaders are nothing without their team. Great leaders know how to use each person on their team to the best of their ability, to hone in on each person’s specific and unique talents in order to best utilize everything available to them.

They are innovative and creative.

Returning to Steve Jobs and Martin Luther King, Jr. Both men were innovative and creative – radical, even – in their methods: Steve Jobs (along with Steve Wozniak at Apple and Bill Gates through Microsoft) changed technology forever, and Martin Luther King, Jr.’s nonviolent resistance changed how the people of the United States fought for their rights for generations. Each, in turn, inspired others to, in the words of Winston Churchill, “take up the mantle of change”. Great leaders must be able to innovate in order to keep up with the ever-evolving times.