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5 Qualities Every Business Leader Should Have

So you want to be a leader in the business world? Good for you! Before that can happen, you need to make sure you’ve got what it takes to be a leader.

top 5Here are the top five qualities that every business leader needs to have to be successful:

Be Charitable

This is listed first on purpose. It’s easy to get caught up in the “what’s in it for me” mindset when you want to be a business leader. If you really want to get ahead of the pack, though, you need to be philanthropic as well as profit oriented. Donating to charity and using your success to start non-profits will only help you get ahead. Don’t believe me? Look at Pepe Fanjul. The sugar and real estate mogul currently donates his time to a number of non-profits and is on the board of St. Thomas University. If he can make the time and find the energy to be charitable, so can, and so should, you.

Love What You Do

You are far more likely to find success if you believe in what you are doing and believe that what you are doing is worthwhile. That might sound like some sort of hippie nonsense, but it is completely true. The question isn’t your level of commitment; it is whether commitment itself is enough to make you successful. The answer, often overwhelmingly, is no. Make sure your answer is yes!

Trust Your Gut

You know in your gut that what you are doing needs to be done in the way that you are doing it. Listen to that. Remember that education can only get you so far. After that, it’s instinct and trusting yourself to know what to do. That is something that you can’t learn from a book. You learn it with experience. Which brings us to –

Don’t Be Afraid to Make Mistakes

If you are afraid to make a mistake you aren’t ever going to really try. If you really want to be the next Steve Jobs, Rupert Murdoch or Oprah Winfrey you can’t be afraid to mess up every once in a while. Mistakes are the things that teach you the lessons you need to learn. Learn from your mistakes so that you don’t repeat them, but don’t be afraid of making them every once in a while.

Build Good Teams

You can’t do everything yourself. So surround yourself with smart and capable people that you can trust to do the things you need them to do. Choose people whose personalities and work ethics mesh with your own. Building a team is something that takes time to learn and there is a lot of trial and error involved. You can read tips for how to do it in books and articles but practical experience is the best teacher here.

These are definitely not the only five qualities that every successful business leader needs to have. If you want to find success, though, you’ll want to make sure these qualities are in your “toolbox.

6 Responses to 5 Qualities Every Business Leader Should Have

  • Phil,

    Great stuff! I think that the item most people have a hard time with is #4 – Making mistakes. While we all are conditioned not to like making them, more could jump back and realize they are opportunities for growth.

    The item that is most in my window now is building good teams. Part of my goals for 2013.

    Thanks for sharing your insights,


    • Thanks for weighing in Keri. I’ve lost out a LOT on building a great team as a solo-preneur, and I realize I miss it. A ton.

      So I’m working on that for 2013 too. First step was completed with my ebook launch. More to come! :)

  • Making mistakes is key. But that’s not enough.


    I write that in capital letters with purpose. If you never failed, you will. Once you do, you will pick yourself up, think why you failed, and improve yourself.

  • Absolutely agree on the first and last points in particular (perhaps that was on purpose in the way you wrote it?). The charitable aspect brings so much more meaning to what we’re about. I’ve set myself the goal of giving away a million dollars a year – so much more fulfilling than having a 6 car garage filled with cars that perhaps get driven annually. Team is critical too. You can’t be great at everything so play to your strengths and get help with your weaknesses.

  • True! To achieve success, you need to be gutsy, compassionate, and you must build good relationships with your customers as well as with your employees (this people will help you climb to the top).
    But I do agree that the #4 is the hardest. Making mistakes is risky, but what we don’t realize is that from those mistakes, we learn new things. We become better businessmen and human beings.

    Thanks for sharing your awesome insights Phil.

  • Great post Phil.

    All very critical qualities. I’m very analytical and aim to make decisions as data driven as possible – however every time I didn’t trust my gut due to data supporting a different direction, or those with expertise advising a path that felt like it didn’t quite jive, I ended up wishing I had trusted my gut.

    So I’ve come to value both.

    The logical part of me says that data must trump the gut feel, but although the gut-o-meter is difficult to quantify, upon further reflection I’m thinking what goes on (due to the accuracy of the gut) is that a background analytical process goes on in the mind as it culminates years of experience in order to forecast a prediction.

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