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5 Essential Characteristics of Successful Leaders

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What makes a great leader? While many people would say “charisma” or “intelligence,” these are only part of the equation. A great leader – someone who people are eager to work for and with – has a combination of characteristics that make them successful.

1) Intellect. The world’s increasingly more complex, so we need to continuously develop our intellect. According to Greg Lucier, CEO of NuVasive and former CEO of General Electric and Life Technologies, “The ability to understand abstract concepts will become critically important.” With businesses changing rapidly to incorporate new innovations, a leader will have to hone their skills to adapt.

2) Emotional intelligence. Although IQ is important, EQ is also critical. A leader must be able to empathize with his customer, executives, employees and board. A high level of emotional intelligence allows you to communicate more effectively with everyone you meet, both within the business and outside of it.

3) Confidence. This is not to be confused with arrogance. Confidence is having trust in your abilities, skills, knowledge, business, etc. Any insecurity will color everything it touches. Often, a high self-confidence is fostered in childhood from your parents. According to former chairman and CEO of General Electric, Jack Welch, “You can’t do anything for somebody who doesn’t have self-confidence.”

4) Reflection. People who are eager to reflect are always learning, growing and improving. It’s essential to reflect on past successes and failures so you can apply the lessons you learned to new and future challenges you face. By reflecting, you can ensure you won’t make the same mistake twice and you may improve your chances of repeating success.

5) Perseverance. Put another way, great leaders have a “don’t quit” attitude. It’s easy to want to quit when you’re faced with a tough challenge, especially when that voice in your head is encouraging you to do so. However, when you’re the leader of a business, you can’t quit; you have people depending on you. Great leaders take this responsibility seriously, put their heads down and get to work. Instead of quitting, they face the challenge head-on and look for solutions.

Learn more about what it takes to be a successful leader from one of today’s top CEOs, Greg Lucier. In episode #104 of It’s a Good Life, Dermot interviews Greg to learn more about what it takes to become a great leader, the daily habits that keep him sharp and healthy, and how he’s learned from past mistakes. Click here to listen.

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