Top traits of great leaders


All success acts live tracks behind and anyone, not only willing, but walking in the same tracks will reach any level of greatness. As Earl Nightingale once said: “All successful people are self-made, but only the successful will admit it.”

Leadership success does not belong to a select few, but those willing to learn and link to the mindset of great leaders. The question is: What is the common thread in great leaders? Great leaders have specific attributes, behaviours or habits that make them competitive.

lDream: Great leaders are dreamers. They put the future in pictures and pay all the necessary costs needed to put it into reality. Vision is a core driver in all successful leaders. Without a vision, it’s like driving without a map to a place you have never been. In fact, if a leader does not have a vision, he is like a ship without a radar, any wind that comes may just toss it anywhere.

lDo it: Great leaders have learnt to do what they are passionate about. They lead in area of interest and they become experts. The law of integrative complexity says that the person who integrates more information and uses most of what they have accumulated in any field of their interest, will soon rise to the top. In fact, they like to do their passion to an extent that people pay them for it.

lDevelop the leader in them Great leaders are lifelong learners. They seek for more opportunities to develop and improve their uniqueness, talents and personal abilities. You might be born with potential, but there has to be a process to improve it to a level of being fully fledged.

The Late Myles Munroe once said: “A seed has potential to be a tree, but it takes the process for it to be a tree.” The seed has to be put into the ground, watered and cultivated until it becomes a tree, so is the leader in you. Solomon teaches us to sharpen our skills. He says: “If the ax is dull and its edge unsharpened more strength is needed, but skill will bring success,” (Ecclesiastes 10:10, NIV)

lDelegate: This is giving responsibilities and authority to an individual or group of people. This is an important skill that a leader has to master. You cannot do everything alone. As stated in our article last week, great leaders accomplish great things when they are accompanied by a great team.

lDedication: Any serious leader has to be dedicated to the fulfilment of clear-cut goals and objectives. Success takes undivided determination and unshakable inner-drive. There are times when the atmosphere looks worrisome. Leaders should exude confidence and be dedicated to the fulfilment of the dream at hand. The leader should be confident in the ability of the team members; this makes the followers confident in their leader.

lDecision: What separates a leader from everyone else is the power to think and make crucial decisions. The quality of a leader’s decision determines the quality of results. The leaders are employed to think, think and think. Most people think the leader should sit in a big swivel chair in a big office somewhere and call the assistant to bring tea. No!

lDirection: John C Maxwell states that the leader should offer direction to an organisation. The corporate image or state of any company represents its leadership. It’s very unfortunate that most leaders would not agree to the aforesaid, but the leader is everything to an institute. Secondly, the current direction of your life is not entirely because of your outer causes, but the direction that you have built in you. You are the leader of your destiny.

lDiscipline: Success takes great discipline. It is achieved by ordinary people with extraordinary determination. Most of our success is not achieved on the stage, but in our private daily rituals. A great recital is first achieved in our private rehearsals. One has to do daily, what the majority do occasionally. It’s never easy in the process, but the harvest is great.

lDump all trivialities: All great leaders know time-wasters and choose to focus on important matters. Great leaders know that they have to pay now and play later and that is what greatness calls for. They understand that time is money. In fact, time is life. You use money to buy part of someone’s time, which is their life, so that they execute a duty for you. Or you sell your time (or life) to someone you are working for.

lDistinction: Great leaders never substitute excellence for anything else. They know that their image speaks more. They would rather not do a thing than have it half-baked. Their joy is to be of great service and excellence to humanity. This sets them apart from the majority.

lDaring: The leader has to possess a positive mindset. Storms will always come. He should not just go through them, but grow through them. When morale is low, it’s the duty of the leader to enthuse others with a positive attitude.

Parting point: Stan Slap says: “When you’re a manager, you work for your company. When you are a leader, your company works for you.” Think about it and enjoy being a great leader.

Remember great leaders think differently, act differently, behave differently, relate differently and have great intuition.

lJonah Nyoni is an author, success coach, leadership trainer and public relations consultant.

Tel: 0772 581 918. Email: