7 Characteristics All Top Leader Possess

In his book, "How the Best Leaders Lead," author Brian Tracy outlines seven important characteristics of top leaders:

  1. Vision. Leaders must be able to see into the future and have a clear idea of where their business is going and how best to get there. A leader's vision separates him or her from management because it positions the leader as captain of the company boat, both steering the ship and determining the best destination for the vessel.
  2. Courage. As Tracy writes, "the quality of courage means that you are willing to take risks in the achievement of your goals with no assurance of success."
  3. Integrity. At the core of integrity is truthfulness. Telling the truth to all people in all situations is the foundation for the trust necessary to run any business. According to Tracy, being viewed as a trusted leader is an integral part of successfully commanding and shaping your employees' business practices.
  4. Humility. Do not confuse being humble with being weak. The best leaders are both strong and modest. They are willing to admit when they are wrong and are never too proud to ask for help from others.
  5. Foresight. Tracy notes that excellent leaders are also strategic thinkers. "They have the ability to look ahead, to anticipate with some accuracy where the industry and the markets are going," he writes.
  6. Cooperation. Getting all employees to work well and harmoniously with one another is an essential part of business success. As the saying goes, you're only as strong as your weakest link.
  7. Focus. Tracy emphasizes several key topics that effective leaders should focus on:
  • The needs of the company
  • Specifics about what must be achieved by the leader, by others, and by the company in order to get these desired outcomes
  • The strengths of the organization
  • Things that the company does best to satisfy the demands of its consumers in a competitive marketplace
  • The most valuable use of employees' time in order to provide excellent service to customers while performing in an efficient, timely manner
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