What Is Leadership? 4 Must-Have Traits for Leaders

There are some universal qualities all leaders must possess to be successful. These essential traits give entrepreneurs, managers and other leaders the tools needed to lead their teams to success.

executive speaking to group of employees
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Despite sharing many qualities, every leader is different. They come from different backgrounds and have different life experiences and personalities, too. That said, there are some universal qualities all leaders must possess to be successful. These essential traits give entrepreneurs, managers and other leaders the tools needed to lead their teams to success.

Regardless of the industry, company size, or groups they lead, here are four must-have leadership traits.

1. A Clear Vision

Leaders with a clear vision for their company are better equipped for success. Not to be confused with the company's mission, which defines the organization's purpose, the vision is a roadmap to the future. It lays out the company's direction and identifies what it takes to get there. This vision must be easily communicated to all stakeholders within the organization and extends to customers and clients.

A business leader can move the company forward with a big-picture view of the future and the path to get there. Leaders who believe in their vision spread that belief to their employees. When the entire company aligns, working toward the vision becomes much more accessible.

2. A Living Company Culture

Companies need a well-defined work culture. The culture of an organization dictates how it solves problems and resolves conflicts. The leader must embody this culture to set the tone for the entire organization.

All eyes are on the person at the top. Therefore, it is up to business leaders to define their culture and to live by these standards. For instance, the leader must be transparent if transparency is vital to the company's business. If feedback is essential, the leader must be open to accepting and giving feedback. People look to top management for cues on how to conduct themselves; good leaders know this and act accordingly.

3. A Commitment to Helping the Team Win

Good leaders help their teams achieve success. That means giving them the tools they need — the resources, opportunities and support that help them do their jobs well.

When you position people to succeed, they don't forget it. Identifying inefficiencies, updating old equipment and improving existing systems are just some of the ways to help people win, while decreasing workloads and adding responsibilities empower employees. The methods you choose depend on the individual as well as the team. Still, regardless of what's needed, leaders need to stay in tune with their employees to identify areas that give the entire organization a chance to succeed.

Of course, helping people win doesn't end after meeting specific goals. It continues with support for people within the organization for as long as they remain there, helping them improve their skills and become even more significant assets to the company.

4. An Ability to Filter Out the Noise

With issues arising every day, from social media distractions to operational business issues, sales and marketing issues, customer service experiences and staff requirements, you will need to filter the most important items to address what's urgently needed for your organization. Working with an effective business operating system strategy is critical for your success.

Focus on the Big Picture

The path to success is full of obstacles business leaders must overcome. However, those with a vision for the company, an ability to filter out unimportant distractions and a clearly defined workplace culture have an advantage over those without. Additionally, leaders who give their teams the tools they need to succeed will empower and inspire them to work hard for themselves and the company.

With a clearly defined vision and company culture, as well as the tools and support needed to win, business leaders are poised for success. While it is easy to get bogged down in the daily grind, focusing on these four traits is essential.

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