leadership traits of successful entrepreneurs

Leadership Traits of Successful Entrepreneurs

What are the leadership traits of successful entrepreneurs? Wow, we certainly are experiencing some interesting and divisive leadership times in our county. Regardless of your feeling towards Donald Trump, he is now our Commander in Chief which got me thinking, what are the traits of a good leader? Can being a great leader lead to success in our businesses?

In this post I have no interest in debating our new president, however, I would like to explore what are the characteristics that make us great as entrepreneurial leaders.

I started by creating a list of my own, then I did some research on what other industry experts thought were traits of successful entrepreneurs. Of 22 traits that I found, I’d like to share my top 10.

Open mindedness

Successful entrepreneurs keep an open mind. They don’t approach a problem or situation thinking they know the answer. Even though they may have some definitive thoughts, being open and listening to the ideas of others is an important trait to have. Surrounding yourself with thought leaders and others with expertise that you lack can enable more powerful decision making.

Risk taking

Building a business is hard and takes risk. Being able to stomach the challenges, the losses, the uphill battles that come with the territory starting and growing a business requires the ability to take risks. Learning how to mitigate risk, and learning from the mistakes that will inevitably happen is what makes leaders great.

Empower others

Whether it’s your team, your employees, your prospects or your customer, the ability to empower others is what great leaders do. Being able to empower others not only means an emphasis on them, but also an eye for seeing and nurturing the strengths of others. There are so many ways that a focus outside of yourself makes someone a great leader, being able to empower others is a formidable one.

Lifelong learning

One of my best friends is an expert in effective communication and leadership. She works with some of the most influential leaders in our government. She’s super smart, and has drummed into my head the importance of lifelong learning. Often we have a tendency to look at things through what we know. We interpret things through our experiences and knowledge. Keeping that thirst for learning, for experiencing things in a new way, for being open to exploring things we haven’t before is one of the hallmarks of great leadership.

Know your strengths and hire your weaknesses

You know by now I’m all about team and hiring out thing things we don’t like to do or are not good at. (Check out the Good At – Like To Do exercise here). Great leaders know what they are good at and surround themselves with people who excel at their weaknesses. Weak leaders think they can do it all and fail because their ego won’t let them admit they can’t. Know your strengths and hire the rest. Resist the temptation to surround yourself with people like yourself. Build a diverse team whose skills address the needs of your business.

Persistence and consistency

Great leaders keep at it, they don’t stop, they are persistent and consistent. Consistent means you do what you need to do frequently, without fail. Persistence means you keep going through challenges, failures, the hard times. Read more on persistence and consistency here.


One of my personal favorites. I learned a very hard lesson a long time ago about integrity. It is one of my highest values and something I take very seriously. I’ve known some very successful business owners, people who have made a lot of money, but they lacked integrity and in my opinion were very poor leaders. I believe great leaders have integrity and it is one of their greatest strengths.


The ability to change, to be nimble, to go a different direction, to see things from another viewpoint, all characteristics of strong leaders.


To be a great leader you have to be able to make a decision. Leaders take in the facts that are available to them, and decide. They take action, they, by example lead others. The ability to make a decision is important to great leadership.


Great leaders see the big picture. They have a vision of where they are where they want to go. They share that vision with others so that everyone knows the direction they are going. Everyone is on the same page. Leadership requires direction and directions requires vision.

I’ll leave you with another viewpoint. I’m reading a book called Intelligent Leadership by John Mattone. He looks at leadership qualities from a slightly different angle. Based on the Enneagram, he identifies behavioral and personality traits associated with what he calls leadership maturity. He explores how your personality trait can affect your ability to become an effective leader.

What traits do you think make a great leader? Please share in the comments below.







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