Over the last 25 years, I have worked with 100’s of CEOs. In reflecting on what great business leaders have in common, following are some of the key leadership characteristics:
- Desire. You have to really want it! There are a lot of easier ways to earn a paycheck. Remember, when you own a business you get paid last.
- Unflinching honesty – Obviously you need to be honest with your customers and clients but, internal honesty is also key. Your team sees you closely and are paying attention to how you conduct yourself in your professional and personal life.
- Principles matter – It’s really easy to get caught up in personalities and to adjust your values and decisions based on who you like. Principles consistently applied will garner more respect than “thoroughbred” favoritism.
- Work ethic – you can’t expect your team to work hard if you’re not willing to go the extra mile yourself.
- Consistency – maintaining consistent policies and conduct are key. If your employees think your values are situational then they will become confused as to what you and the company stand for in the market.
These traits are just the beginning, of course you need to:
- Know your competition
- Provide Stellar Service
- Be Creative
- Adjust with trends
But without the character fundamentals described above, you will not stay in business long enough to work on those other fundamentals.