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The 8 Qualities of Successful Leaders
by Duncan Brodie

Effective leadership is what determines whether a business achieves, struggles or falls by the wayside. There are reams of articles, books, programmes and audios available. For me, there are at least 8 qualities that successful leaders have.

1. Responsibility

The best leaders take responsibility for making things happen. We all know just how easy it is to blame external factors and we probably all have done this at some time. You know the scenario. If only accounts, purchasing, sales and marketing, customer services, etc would do this everything would be okay. We might even blame the economy, the weather or even the competition. If you want to excel as a leader take responsibility for making things happen.

2. Integrity

Your success depends on others following. People will only follow if they believe they can rely on you to demonstrate high standards, be open, honest and truthful with them. They also expect consistency. When you are consistent (no matter what your leadership style is) people know what to expect.

3. Decision takers

We all have fears and doubts when it comes to taking decisions. Will it be the right one, what happens if it goes wrong, how will I look or be perceived by others? These are just a few of the questions and dilemmas faced or going through their head. What sets successful leaders apart is their willingness to face fears and take decisions rather than procrastinate. They know that they will get their fair share of decisions wrong and will learn from them.

4. Deal with facts

Realism is essential if you are to be a successful leader. Realism is about facing up to whatever is going on, rather than expending energy wishing it was different. When faced with decisions, the best leaders will focus on the facts to determine what is realistic. Imagine you are faced with a poorly performing organisation. You might wish it could be fixed next month or next week, but the reality might be that it will take months and maybe years.

5. Vision and inspiration

The most successful leaders have the ability not just to create a vision but to communicate it in an inspiring way. They see the big picture and inspire others to work together to make it happen.

6. Optimism

There are some who are naturally pessimistic, while others are naturally optimistic. Successful leaders are part of the second group. They know that they cannot control every eventuality but they can control how they respond. They focus on solutions, not problems.

7. Resilient

No matter what you set out to as a leader, there will be set backs, disappointments and failures along the way. The most successful leaders are extremely resilient and when things do not work out as they hoped, they bounce back.

8. Excellence

Excellence in what they do is one of the defining qualities of successful leaders. They have a mindset of continuous improvement. They look for better, smarter ways of doing things. They are continual learners.

While leaders have numerous qualities, making a start on these 8 can get you off to a flying start.

Duncan Brodie may be contacted at
Duncan Brodie helps professionals to be great managers and leaders. Take the first step to unlocking your brilliance by signing up for his free monthly newsletter at


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