James Durkin What makes a business leader successful_

A Gallop Study revealed some shocking statistics: companies find the right management talent only 18% of the time. While a few are gifted with great manager traits, many others can develop these skills, or better put, virtues of great business leaders, with constant practices.

There are seven commonly cited traits a successful business leader should possess:

  1. Visionary
  2. Ability to motivate others
  3. Inquisitive
  4. Confident
  5. Decisive
  6. Effective Communicator
  7. Integrity


Great leaders unite the people around them by an aspirational vision, according to Harvard Business Review. Often, they are forward-looking and open, thinking and acting strategically to prepare their company to face the future and any transformation to come.

Ability to Motivate and Support Others

When leaders are clear and forth-coming with the company vision, employees follow with a stronger sense of mission and responsibility. It is important for business leaders to be positive and find ways to motivate their staff – acknowledging their achievements and providing support when they need help. When workers are motivated, they naturally give their best and are enthusiastic and creative in their workplace, all ingredients for a successful business.


A great leader is not a know-it-all but is open-minded, with the ability to say “I don’t know. Tell me more.” The business world is evolving, and digital transformation is happening everywhere. To be successful, the leader needs to stay ahead of the market pulses and customers’ needs and know the best business practices.

Confidence and Endurance

Team members naturally look up to a confident leader, who has a strong vision and the confidence to face problems and act. More importantly, successful business leaders need to develop endurance and resolve to manage complex problems, often without complete information.


Leaders who are stuck in analysis paralysis can be perceived as weak, confusing and de-motivating the employees. While great business leaders are supportive of their team, they are equally decisive in making decisions and sticking with them. They carry the company forward.

Effective Communication to Build Lasting Relationships

Successful leaders need to be effective in both speaking and listening. They are able to foster good relationships with their employees, customers, business partners through clear and effective communication – from company goals, business expectations, to specific tasks.


As Eisenhower said, “The supreme quality of leadership is unquestionably integrity.” Great leaders not just do the things right, but do the right things. Honesty, when no one is watching. When leaders have great integrity, employees emulate and do what is right.