3 Essential Traits for Business Leadership



When I was younger in my career, I used to observe my managers and wonder how they knew how to handle certain situations or to react certain ways.  I now know the secret answer—experience.  And I also now know that experience isn’t always enough in the challenging world of modern business.  Here are three essential traits that make a good manager a successful business leader:

 1.    A Strong Core

Understanding who you are, what you stand for and how you “show up” to others is critical to professional sustainability in the ups and downs of the business world.  While plans may change, a leader’s commitment and resolve are a reflection of their self-awareness and understanding that the business and its people need to be anchored in something.  Even if employees don’t agree with every decision being made, they appreciate clearly knowing what they are a part of, and the path they are on.

 2.    A Sixth Sense

Leaders don’t need to look for the monsters under the bed every day, but they do benefit from having a heightened sense of when things could go wrong or when the organization is feeling uneasy.  A finger on the pulse, an intuition, allows you to make choices with your eyes wide open and to course correct before the consequences are imminent.

Being “present” in conversations and available to people are keys to feeling that sixth sense kick in.  An organization is only as good as its people.  So, listening, engaging and participating in what others are doing or feeling gives you that much more intel into where things are headed and how successful everyone will be/feel when you get there.

 3.    Self-Belief

Believing in yourself is something that no one else can do for you.  You cannot fake true confidence and there will come a moment when you are making a difficult speech or looking in someone’s face and you will have to respond on your feet.  A leader responds with authenticity and self-assurance because they are not afraid of two things: 1) thinking their experience, training, knowledge and lessons learned are valuable and relevant, and 2) saying they simply “don’t know” or deferring to someone who does.

Self-belief is what allows you to commit to a path or an answer, even if the outcome is uncertain.

There are lots of other traits that I could have written about here, such as passion and courage.  What would you say is required by today’s business leader?

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