Do you know, how many of the leaders are successful?

Not ton-of-money-in-the-bank kind of successful. I mean, successful as a great leader.

It has been found in a research that 3 out of 4 leaders are not performing well leading to an increase in the number of leaders getting fired for failing every decade.

Not good.

See, nobody is a born leader. There are some qualities that make someone a successful leader and have healthy relationships.

To find those qualities, I asked 44 successful leaders & entrepreneurs this question:

“What are those 2-3 qualities that make a successful leader?”

The responses were awesome.

rich simmonds

Rich Simmonds

Head Strategic Consulting at BCORE / Facilitator at @RichSimmondsZA

1. Listening: Without the ability to listen a leader renders themselves useless as they are unable to determine the needs of their followers, which will cause the followers to find a new leader who will be able to serve their specific needs.

2. Consistency: Consistency is what everyone looks for. We trust people when they are able to consistently deliver on what they have promised, good leaders over deliver and under promise.

3. Vision: Leadership is about sharing the vision of where we are going with the people. Leaders who consistently share the vision in creative ways – keeping the communication active and being pro-active about the sharing of the vision are the ones who we remember as being good leaders.

Being creative, inspiring and most importantly, being honest!

eric t tung

Eric T. Tung

Social Media Trainer, Speaker, Consultant, @EricTTung

One of my first jobs was as a key accounts sales manager into The Home Depot. I noticed one day that the store manager was retrieving shopping carts from the parking lot and pushing them back into the store. Of course it was primarily for customer service, but it also meant that even the most senior person in the store was not above one of the most entry level tasks. It was about teamwork, and understanding all levels of employees within the store, and I think that’s what makes a great leader. A leader needs to be able to empathize with their employees and understand what motivates and drives then, rather than just delegating out tasks.

chris voss

Chris Voss

CEO & Social Media Leader, The Chris Voss Show. @CHRISVOSS

Honesty, Inspiring and Creative.

gordon tredgold

Gordon Tredgold

Business & Executive Coach, CEEO at @GordonTredgold

  1. The ability to inspire and create excitement with a team,
  2. Authenticity as this helps to build trust,
  3. Putting the team before themselves.
lori moreno

Lori Moreno

Social Media Influencer, @LoriMoreno

  1. Be a constant Learner
  2. Empower Your Tribe
  3. Lead with Love and Compassion
  4. Be Strong
  5. Learn from Mistakes
  6. Recover from all situations
  7. Be ready and able to Win!
bobby umar

Bobby Umar

Leadership expert on Personal Branding, Networking and Social Media, @raehanbobby

Successful leaders need-

  1. Connection — They must demonstrate authentic connection with the self and the ability to connect with others both deeply and broadly
  2. Content — they should always be generating, finding and supporting great ideas, content and people
  3. Communication – they should always be working on mastering both written communication and public speaking skills.
tim hughes

Tim Hughes

Author of “Social Selling – Influencing Buyers and Changemakers”, Digital Leadership Associates. @Timothy_Hughes

In 2016 leaders have to grapple with a diverse mixture of skills and ages and a successful leader need to be able to have the following two qualities:

  1. Be able to listen and learn, in my experience all the assumptions we have made in business over the last 30 years are “up for change” and we need to listen as there are probably processes than what we have right now.
  2. Foster a culture of innovation, and with such culture will come failure. How do you make sure people set forward with suggestions and support the good and bad ones?
Ted Rubin

Ted Rubin

Social Marketing Strategist, Keynote Speaker, Brand Evangelist and Acting CMO of Brand Innovators, @TedRubin

To me the best Business Leaders are those who know how to unlock creativity… a combination of Explorer (out front seeking the new herself), Gardener (nurturing and tending to what feeds the business), and most importantly for all Leaders, a Player/Coach (that unique person who can not only teach/encourage/empower, but jump in and do it herself as well. This is a big challenge for most legacy businesses today, and so important for all business big and small.

Two things that make a great leader in a digital world are an inspiring vision and giving your team the freedom and responsibility to make mistakes.

Steven Webb

Steven Webb

Speaker, Author, Meditation and Mindfulness Teacher, @themovingroad

  1. Caring more about other people’s success than your own.
  2. Remembering to stay humble and care enough to lift others even when they are not going to improve your position.
  3. Never forget where you come from, remain grounded enough to roll up your sleeves and remember nothing is beneath you.
Chris Kubby Kubbernus

Chris ‘Kubby’ Kubbernus

Founder & CEO at Kubb&Co., Chris @ChrisKubby

  1. Successful leaders are empathetic. They understand people, what makes them tick and can understand them on a deep level. Without understanding people, you can’t lead them. At least not in a way that makes them happy and helps them grow.
  2. Successful leaders have a vision and can inspire people to go after that vision. Without this, you’re not a leader. Leaders need people to follow them and believe in where they are going.
Melonie Dodaro

Melonie Dodaro

LinkedIn Expert, Keynote Speaker, Social Selling, Author of The LinkedIn Code, Top Dog Social Media. @MelonieDodaro

There are many qualities of successful leaders, however I would say that business has changed a lot over the last decade or two.
Today I believe three of the most important qualities of a great leader are: kindness, authenticity and leading by example.

Shaun Frankson

Shaun Frankson

  1. A great leader needs to empower those around them and never diminish or micro-manage them.
  2. A great leader doesn’t have all the answers, but instead inspires and encourages others to find the right answers.
  3. A great leader inspires a vision which enrolls others to act upon it with enthusiasm.
  4. A great leader has great people who make them seem great.
Rebekah Radice

Rebekah Radice

Chief Marketing Officer at Post Planner, Digital Marketer & Social Media Business Consultant, @RebekahRadice

  1. They lead by example and take full responsibility for the failures of their team. They know that with great power comes great responsibility. They hold themselves accountable, quickly move past failure, learn from it, and push their team forward.
  2. They’re self-motivated and remain focused on the important, shrugging off the urgent on a daily basis.
  3. They’re excellent delegators. They work to their highest and best. What they give away is delegated with great detail and clarity so there’s never any confusion.
Mark Schaefer

Mark Schaefer

Speaker, Educator, Business Consultant, and Author, Blogs at {grow}. @markwschaefer

To me, there is one overriding perspective of leadership that is meaningful, and that is having an ability to dispense hope. To dispense hope you must be the carrier of the vision, a superb communicator, and optimistic.

Michael Kawula

Michael Kawula

Here are a few traits I feel you need to have, in order to be a kick-butt leader:

  1. You have 2 Ears & 1 Mouth for a reason. Always listen and ask more questions, than you speak.
  2. True leaders, lead by example, not by force. Always be the example you desire in others first.
Beth Kanter

Beth Kanter

Trainer & Nonprofits Blogger, @kanter

Ability to focus on what is important.

Ability to practice self-care to replenish energy and burnout and encourage staff to do the same.

Warren Whitlock

Warren Whitlock

Influence Architect, Director at @WarrenWhitlock

To be a leader be a servant. Those you serve will follow you anywhere.

Tim Fargo

Tim Fargo

President and CEO at @alphabetsuccess

Great leaders:

  1. Kill their ego. They take it out to the parking lot, and beat it to death. It’s not their friend.
  2. Listen. When they are ready to reply? They keep listening. Ears are not offensive and they will learn something.
  3. Give destinations, not directions. People like taking their own favorite road to completion, leaders let them.
  4. Bonus quality: Did I mention listening? Good. Keep doing that.
Brian Fanzo

Brian Fanzo

Millennial Speaker, Founder of iSocialFanz. @iSocialFanz

  1. Passion: Having a leader that believes in the mission, that lives the purpose and has a passion for what they want to accomplish not only inspires the group, but often times will make up for other leadership qualities that might be lacking.
  2. Listen to learn: I believe great leaders aren’t only listening to everyone on their team, but focus and understand that I can learn and find value and every person, situation and experience.
  3. Embrace Change: To be a great leader and this digital world we live. Today, you not only have to be able to embrace change, but you have to be willing to understand change is not the results of bad leadership decisions rather the results of all decisions that help evoke and power they need to change no matter how big or small that change is.
Neil Patel

Neil Patel

Co-Founder at Crazy Egg & Hello Bar, @neilpatel

Communicate effectively, lead by example, and always have a positive attitude.

Cynthia Johnson

Cynthia Johnson

Forbes Agency Council Member at Forbes Councils, @CynthiaLIVE

Great leaders are trustworthy and they trust their teams. They let their teams take the credit when there is a win, and they take all responsibility when there is a loss. Great leaders empower people to become great leaders.

Sandra Clayton

Sandra Clayton

Founder of Conversion Minded and Yellowdot.

. @SandraJClayton

Here’s my two cents on leadership:

Being a leader is about seeing things three ways: the way they are, better than they are, and not worse than they are. You take stock of what is and isn’t working without letting your ideas about things overshadow reality. But you can’t get caught up in fear and see things worse than the way they are either. You acknowledge the status quo with an undeniable optimism, and have a clear vision of the transformation you want to be and a roadmap to getting there.

Great leaders also know how to create a brand around being the person they want to follow. They’re the writer, director and actor in the third act of their own play and take on the lead role. That means they’re passionate and enthusiastic in the way they communicate with their team and with others. They know what to do and then they do it. They don’t sit on the fence or procrastinate when it comes to making decisions. They see fear as an opportunity for growth and charge straight into it.

Tor Refsland

Tor Refsland

“As a successful leader you need to have a great vision.
And you need to ask yourself: “How is the company, organization or community going to look like when your vision has been achieved?”

Then you need to have an ironclad belief in the vision and yourself, and be willing to take the necessary action steps towards that vision…

Regardless if you feel like it or not…

Regardless if obstacles are being thrown in your way…

Regardless if no one else believes in you.

The best way to be a successful leader is to lead and to inspire people with your actions.”

John Rampton

John Rampton

Founder & CEO at @johnrampton

Leaders are direct and don’t leave room for interpretation. When they want something done, they give exact directions as to how they would like it done so that it’s done right. They also are direct in their discussions with others. If they don’t want something they let you know.

Steve Keating

Steve Keating

Leadership & Sales Developement, @LeadToday

Well, first of course would be integrity, if your people can’t trust you they can’t follow you. Without integrity, trust simply isn’t possible.

Next would be a caring nature. It’s not possible to truly lead people that you don’t care about. Leading requires that you invest a part of yourself in those you would lead, it’s nearly impossible to give a part of yourself to someone you don’t care about.

Third would be good judgment. There have been plenty of well meaning leaders who failed because of poor judgment. Judgment goes along with being able to make a decision, not making a decision is the worst decision can make. It almost always leads to greater problems.

Note: He actually wrote a post explaining the three qualities of leaders.

Mike Vardy

Mike Vardy

Founder of Productivityist, @mikevardy

Leaders need to be willing to make the tough calls and to say “no” when appropriate. This means cutting out things that aren’t working anymore and to make tough decisions for the greater good.

John Baldoni

John Baldoni

Chair, Leadership Development at N2Growth, @JohnBaldoni

Great leaders do three things:

Be Seen — be present and visible,

Be Heard — communicate for understanding, and

Be There — be ready to help others achieve their goals.

Stephanie Burns

Stephanie Burns

I think a successful leader is someone who people WANT to follow. That person inspires the people around them to do better, be better and make an impact.

A few key ways (in my opinion) to get people to want to follow you are:

  1. Only ask people to do what you are also willing to do. If you aren’t willing to take out the trash, deal with a difficult customer or stay late working on a proposal – don’t you dare ask your team to do the same. Just because you are the head of your company/division/department doesn’t mean you are above getting any job done that needs to get done.
  2. Put your family first. Even if your family is your pup. Show your team that you value your family first so they know that you also value their families. Make time for them, allow your team to be flexible around family and help them make it work.
  3. Get feedback. Always listen to the feedback of your team and ask for their ideas. Then really take it into consideration. You can’t always implement their ideas, but make sure they know they are being heard and that their feedback is important. You can’t know everything.
Penelope Trunk

Penelope Trunk

Founder and CEO at Quistic, @penelopetrunk

Understanding what other people need to make their life great, because you motivate them to do what you need them to do to realize your vision by helping them get what they need for their vision for themselves.

The way I learned to figure out what people need for fulfillment — sometimes more accurately than they themselves could tell me — is by learning about personality type.

Richard Lorenzen

Richard Lorenzen

CEO of Fifth Avenue Brands, @rlorenzen

My personal opinion about the top 2-3 qualities are listening, having a vision and being able to communicate the vision.

Syed Balkhi

Syed Balkhi

Founder & CEO at Awesome Motive Inc., @syedbalkhi

I think there are several qualities that make you a great leader, but the ones that I strive for is to lead by example.

I think great leaders are the ones that lead by example. They listen to feedback, are humble, and are loyal to their team.

Yaro Starak

Yaro Starak

Successful leaders have a vision for where they want to see a project go. They know the destination. On top of this they know the steps and the tools required to get to the destination, including the people they need help from. Having this sense of direction gives them purpose, which in turn motivates and guides the people they are in charge of.

Leaders also understand the people they serve. They know that their vision is not their own, it’s the people they help and the people they work with that will ultimately lead the project, even if it’s the leader who is delivering instructions.

It may seem ironic when stated like this – but successful leadership requires following others.

Brian Braudis

Brian Braudis

The first thing to internalize about leadership is, it must be developed. One develops into a great leader. Possessing the traits of a great leader will do you no good if you don’t develop them.

There are probably as many traits of great leadership as there are leaders. One thing is for sure. There are fundamental traits that history has proven if not developed will hold any leader back.

Here are a few:

* Open Mindset: Growth, development, improvement and increased impact must always possible—greatness is developed. A mindset that originates from a place of realistic acknowledgement of strengths and growth potential will give a CEO easy access to energy and creativity to maneuver bumps in the road, detractors and communal negativity. The belief that success is possible will make it probable.

You simply cannot out-perform your mindset—Brian Braudis

* Inspirational: Leaders must have the ability to lift the team up, to inspire others to join their cause and be inspired by the shared vision. Your team should feel lucky to have had the chance to work with you toward your vision. An inspirational leader will take you on the ride of your career.

* Clarity of vision: A great leader must know where they are going and have clarity on how to get there. A solid vision helps you and your team to avoid the merry-go-round of distraction. You stay still long enough to become masterful.

Chris Dreyer

Chris Dreyer

Dependability – A great leader provides superb communication to clients and coworkers. Dependability inspires confidence and trust with your employees. Dependability is also contagious. If employees see the leader going above and beyond, hitting deadlines, communicating effectively, etc., many of those qualities will rub off in a positive manner.

Delegate – A successful leader is responsible for placing his “players” in the best positions to succeed. Being ordered to delegate to appropriate people to get the job done the most efficiently and effectively is a very important quality to have.

Innovative – The business landscape is very saturated and an effective leader has to be the centerpiece of innovation. Creating new and better services, systems and processes on an on-going basis to help your company thrive is essential to success.

Bruce Van Horn

Bruce Van Horn

Author, Speaker, Leadership and Personal Development Coach at @BruceVH

The #1 quality that every leader must have is also the #1 responsibility that every leader has. A successful leader must have a crystal clear vision for the future and the ability to communicate that vision to those who follow. The leader of a business must know what direction the business is headed in and, most importantly, why the business needs to go there. The vision must inspire those under his/her leadership to adopt the vision as their own.

Secondly, the leader must feel a very real human connection to those he/she leads. In all reality, businesses and organizations do not exist–they only exist on paper and as Tax ID numbers. A business is just a group of people united around a common cause to create products or services that add value to the consumers. Businesses are people, not entities of their own. The leader must love, respect, nurture, coach, teach, and guide people as he/she would family members. The leader’s job is to motivate and empower each person to use their full potential in every area of their lives, which will benefit the mission of the business.

CamMi Pham

CamMi Pham

Senior Digital Strategist at ThinkRenegade. @cammipham

One of the most important qualities that a successful leader needs is the ability to unlearn. The world is changing every day; a leader needs to adapt to new information. Being a good leader, you don’t need to be the smartest guy in the room. You need to be able to hire and manage people who smarter than you. All these smart people will bring new knowledge to the table. Being a leader, you will need to put your ego aside and be willing to unlearn and accept the new knowledge.

Another important quality for a leader is solving other people’s problems. People don’t have the energy and time to help you solve your problems if they are busy with their own problems. A good leader needs to be a good listener and a problem solver. If an employee is struggling at home, he/she won’t be able to focus at work. In order to build the best team, you need to make sure every team member is in his best shape. Always be there to listen and support your team. Great leaders know that they won’t have a happy and motivated team unless they themselves display a positive and supportive attitude.

Ian Cleary

Ian Cleary

A successful leader is someone who inspires their team and community into action. They lead by example. They work on building trust and relationships and bring people along their journey.

A successful leader knows the importance of the team and realizes that your team is core to success.

Stever Robbins

Stever Robbins

Co-founder/CEO at Ideas Unleashed, @GetItDoneGuy

There are many kinds of leadership, but for all of them, you must be able to inspire others to follow, even when they don’t have to:

  1. Having and communicating a clear purpose or vision for the organization that connects emotionally with the people who are following.
  2. Having and communicating a personal vision for followers, that make them feel like they’re greater for being part of something larger than themselves.
  3. Ability to take ownership and responsibility for hard decisions and their consequences.

There’s no such thing as a successful leader; there are only successful leader/follower relationships. One of the keys to forging strong relationships is trust. No one will follow if they don’t trust where you’re going. So when embarking on a leadership journey, pay particular attention to truth. You don’t necessarily have to be 100% authentic, but if you make promises that you break, you’ll often lost the trust of your followers forever.

Peter Bregman

Peter Bregman

CEO at Bregman Partners, @peterbregman

The humility to know that you will not always be right, that other people have important perspectives, and most importantly, to stay curious.

In the face of that, the confidence to make difficult decisions in ambiguous situations.

The emotional courage to feel everything you will have to feel in order to do the two things above.

Melanie Kernodle

Melanie Kernodle

Blogger & Copywriter at Copy Refresh. @MelanieKernodle

A successful leader needs to be someone who cares more about the success of their followers than their own success. They need to be willing to make sure that others are successful if they want to become successful themselves. They also need to be able to motivate others in a way that is authentic and causes others to support them. Rather than leading by force, they need to lead in a way that causes their followers to genuinely support and spread their message. A leader who possesses these traits will be successful despite whatever obstacle they face.

David Amerland

David Amerland

Strategic Advisor at Darebee, @DavidAmerland

Treat people like they truly matter. Make no exceptions. Project that everyone matters or no one does. And then create the kind of open, transparent communication that makes this approach visible to everyone. From this ‘simple’ element, if you really want to, you can go on and build an empire, guide a community, successfully run a company or create a following that truly matters to you.

Patrick Bet-David

Patrick Bet-David

Entrepreneur, CEO & Founder at PHP Agency Inc, @patrickbetdavid

  1. Curiosity.
  2. Alignment between what they do and what they say.
  3. Willing to immerse themselves in a subject until they know everything about it.



Huge thanks to all who contributed to this post and shared their three cents about leadership qualities.

Making this post was really fun and a great experience.

Now, it's your turn.

Before popping this post over to Facebook or Twitter, do you have a great leadership tip of your own?

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