Exploring the Successful Leadership Traits of Top Business Executives

man looking through glass window
  • Effective communication and active listening are essential for successful leadership.
  • Leaders should avoid making assumptions and express themselves clearly.
  • Empathy is critical for successful leaders, allowing them to connect with people emotionally.
  • Integrity is essential for building trust and inspiring respect among team members.
  • Companies with principled leaders tend to achieve higher profitability and longevity.

The success of a business largely depends upon the leadership that guides it. Leaders significantly impact a company’s day-to-day operations, strategy, and culture. An effective leader can bring out the best in employees and foster collaboration and innovation.

Statistics show that companies with strong leadership teams outperform their competitors. According to a study conducted by Harvard Business School, businesses led by experienced executives saw a 28% higher return on investment than those shown by less experienced leaders. Moreover, according to Gallup’s State of the American Workplace report, companies with engaged workers significantly outperformed those without businesses with highly engaged workforces, realizing 22% higher profitability and 21% higher productivity than businesses with low engagement scores.

You might be looking to be a successful leader within your organization, but you might need to work on a few things. Here are a few traits to consider if you want to become a successful leader:

Communication Skills

Leader with good communication skills

Effective communication is essential for any successful leader. Leaders must express their ideas and vision clearly and concisely, so their team can understand them. They also need to be able to listen carefully to the concerns and questions raised by their team members to find a solution together.

SMRT Chairman Seah Moon Ming from Singapore is a successful leader who excels at communication. As the man behind Singapore’s landmark SMRT transportation system, he continuously communicates his goals and objectives to staff and stakeholders to create innovative solutions for the public’s travel needs.

Here are a few tips to help you improve your communication skills:

Be an Active Listener

Listening actively and attentively is a leader’s most critical communication skill. Being a good listener is vital to connecting with people and understanding their perspectives and feelings. Active listening includes paying attention to what is being said without interruption and responding appropriately. Leaders should also be mindful of nonverbal cues, such as eye contact or nodding in agreement.

Ask Open-Ended Questions

Leaders must be proficient in asking open-ended and closed-ended questions to gain more information about a particular topic or situation. Open-ended questions allow for more detailed conversations than closed-ended ones, quickly leading to yes/no answers with little insight gained.

Don’t Make Assumptions

Successful leaders often make sure not to jump to conclusions too quickly by avoiding making assumptions based on limited information. Instead, they take the time to research and analyze all relevant data before coming up with solutions tailored according to the specific situation. Making assumptions can result in poor decision-making while taking too long to deliberate can also damage organizational productivity – leaders need to find a balance between the two when assessing complex matters.

Express Yourself Clearly

Clear communication is essential for successful leadership; leaders need to express themselves clearly when conveying messages and instructions so that there is no room for misunderstanding or confusion among team members. To do this, leaders must use straightforward language devoid of jargon or technical terms that everyone might not understand.


A leader and her team

Empathy is one of the most important traits that successful leaders must possess. To be successful, a leader must be able to and empathize with the needs concerns of their team members and stakeholders. They need to put themselves in the of others and see things from their perspective. A leader with empathy has better communication skills, trustworthiness, and problem-solving abilities, all essential for success.

Leaders with high levels of empathy can navigate difficult conversations more effectively and make decisions based on what’s best for everyone, not just a select few. By connecting with people on an emotional level, they foster a healthier working environment where employees are encouraged to collaborate better and be more productive.

One way to become more empathetic is to consider different perspectives before making decisions or taking action. The ability to step outside one’s point of view and look at things through someone else’s eyes can help bring about better solutions for any problem.

Leaders all over the world knew the pandemic was coming, but many were not prepared. Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba Group, was one such leader who recognized early on the impact of COVID-19 and took swift action to protect his workforce. He ensured all employees had access to free medical check-ups and provided generous financial assistance to those affected by the virus in China.


Integrity is another essential trait for successful leaders. Leaders with strong moral principles and values are more likely to be respected by their team members and stakeholders. They can make the right decisions even when encountering complex issues, as a clear set of ethical rules guides them.

Moreover, leaders with integrity can build better relationships with everyone around them. People trust those who act in their best interest, which leads to stronger interpersonal connections that further support organizational progress.

Furthermore, research shows that companies whose leaders have higher levels of integrity tend to be more profitable and thrive in the long run. A study conducted by the Harvard Business School found that organizations with highly principled leadership teams achieved 6% higher returns on assets than those whose leaders had weaker ethical standards.

Leaders who demonstrate integrity inspire trust and respect from their employees, encouraging them to go beyond their comfort zones to achieve better results. They understand that mistakes can happen but also know how to own up to their failures without shifting blame or making excuses. This honest approach helps foster a culture of accountability and transparency that can improve business performance and success.

Final Thoughts

Successful leaders have the traits to motivate their teams and inspire positive change. Leaders with strong communication skills and empathy can create a healthy environment where employees can collaborate more effectively and achieve better organizational results.

By making your leadership qualities reflect these characteristics, you can take your business to new heights!

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