20 Entrepreneurs Explain the Best Traits of a Successful Leader

To be successful as a leader requires a combination of skills and traits to make you outstanding. While there are several challenges that surround leadership positions, some leaders still manage to exhibit traits that best describes them to be successful.  On the same note, we asked entrepreneurs and business owners about the best traits of a successful leader.

#1- Four Traits

Motivation. Always remember why you decided to start the journey. I began my company out of sheer necessity. Wanting to bond with my son, born with Down syndrome, I created a baby carrier that allowed me to hold him close while meeting his developmental needs.  Perseverance. Will you endure even when obstacles arise? Competition will always try to sidetrack you, but a strong will can keep your vision alive. Patience. Many want to be their own boss and be successful, but it does not happen overnight. Humility. No one likes a know-it-all, and this is even true of the boss. The ability to delegate, let go and accept help from others can propel any business.

Thanks to Michal Chesal, Baby K'tan!

#2- Perseveres Without Fear

Photo Credit: Ashish Rangnekar

As anyone who has tried knows, building a company from scratch is roller coaster ride that has many ups and downs. The only thing easy about it is to give up when even your best-laid plans fail. But to be successful, an entrepreneur has to be prepared for those difficult stretches, weather the storms, and keep that same steadfast belief in their solution to reach the peak.. Successful entrepreneurs have the will to see it through, the discipline to make it happen, and an unwavering belief in their solution that allows them to persevere against all odds to have that vision come to fruition.

Thanks to Ashish Rangnekar, BenchPrep!

#3- Does not give up

Most people think of them as being social butterflies, getting out in front of people and really giving it their all. But I'm here to tell you that that is not always the case. Take me, for example. I am an introvert (INFT-p at best) yet I have found myself on an entrepreneur's path. I think the most important character trait that an entrepreneur must have is perseverance. You have to know thatyou will get knocked down on your ass. But you have to have the perseverance to dust yourself off and continue on your journey. Entrepreneurs do not give up. They hunger for more, something that traditional paths and thinking won't take them to. They have to have the foresight to understand that they chose a difficult path, a path that they have to pave themselves. But this doesn't deter an entrepreneur. They go through their trials and errors with grace and dignity so that they may come out stronger on the other side.

Thanks to Aziza Hana, 10BUCKSAROOM!

#4-  Thinks outside the box

Photo Credit: Ankur K Garg

If you’re drowning in the insane amount of rules in life about everything.. BREAK THEM. Don’t break the law. Break the limitations you place on yourself, stop fearing the unknown, and believe in yourself. You’ll never be an Alpha or a visionary if you’re too well behaved and don’t have the guts to break the rules. You have to think outside the box. After all, what is the point of living if all you want to do is be like everyone else?

Thanks to Ankur K Garg, AKG Creative!

#5- Adaptability

Photo Credit: Monica Eaton-Cardone

If I had to pick one trait for the successful entrepreneur, it would be adaptability. No matter how much research you do, no matter how detailed your business plan is, it’s impossible to foresee every contingency, especially given the rapid growth of technology. Circumstances and situations WILL change as you go, and often at very inconvenient times. The most successful entrepreneurs keep their plans flexible, combining emotional intelligence with business savvy to maintain momentum under dynamic conditions.

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Thanks to Monica Eaton-Cardone, Chargebacks911!

#6-  Optimistic

Successful entrepreneurs are optimistic. They come into work each day with a positive attitude and a can-do approach to getting the job done. This kind of optimism is infectious and reflects on your personality, team, and startup.

Thanks to Deborah Sweeney, MyCorporation!

#7- Empathetic

Photo Credit: Gene Caballero

I believe that a must-have trait of a successful entrepreneur is empathy. You need to have the ability to relate to your employees and be able to put yourself in the soul of the people. Without the empathetic trait, its very hard to rally your troupes around your vision.

Thanks to Gene Caballero, GreenPal!

#8-Relentless, adjustable and views failures as lessons

Photo Credit: Ryan Stewman

These days, it seems like entrepreneur is a buzz word thrown around my the unemployed. When you add the word successful to it, it narrows the examples down drastically. In order to be a successful entrepreneur you need to be relentless, adjustable and view failures as lessons. I grew my business Break Free Academy from $25 to $6M annually with these traits.

Thanks to Ryan Stewman, Hardcore Closer!

#9-  Genuine desire to keep learning throughout every stage of their journey

Photo Credit: Steve Pritchard

All successful entrepreneurs will have a genuine desire to keep learning throughout every stage of their journey. They will be eager to learn as much as possible before embarking on their voyage of setting up their own company, and once they have made it, they will keep adding to their knowledge. Doing this will not only help you to keep up to date with industry knowledge, but it will also teach you how to best deal with pitfalls, struggles and problems all leaders will come into contact with at
some point during their journey.

Thanks to Steve Pritchard, It Works!

#10- Several traits

If you want to be successful, you need to have discipline, a sense of urgency, patience, initiative, time management  skills, attention to detail, and good communication skills. all of these traits, if you may have noticed, are present in all successful business owners, but the number one trait that you must have is discipline, because without it you won't be able to do everything on time and as scheduled, and opening a business requires that.

Thanks to Jason Cummins, All Hours Air!

#11- Three traits

Photo Credit: Chris Griffiths

Be tenacious. The first few years of business were exceptionally difficult for me. I had created a new company from scratch and didn’t take a salary for three years. Considering we were a young family, the challenges that came with that were tremendously difficult. But I didn’t give up on my dream. A good entrepreneur never does. My softwares are now used worldwide by over 1.3million people. Success stems from taking non-conventional approaches to new ideas. You need to have a unique approach to challenging assumptions. Don’t be afraid to break the mold and make a few mistakes here and there. As Henry Ford once said‘the only real mistake is one from which we learn nothing.’Instead of thinking outside the box, think without any box at all. Ask questions, surround yourself with differing opinions, breakconventions and view challenges from as many perspectives as you can – that’s when you become innovative, and that’s how you get ahead and stay ahead of your competitors

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Thanks to Chris Griffiths, OpenGenius!


Photo Credit: Shlomo Zalman Bregman

The best trait of a successful entrepreneur is *self-awareness*. To build a company or significantly advance in one's career, it's vital that a person live in reality and recognize where he or she is truly talented and blessed with ability, and on the flip side, where their skill level is far more prosaic. There is so much competition in the world today! It's very nice that you see yourself one way … but you will not survive or advance at work if the world sees your skill level differently. If you recognize where you have real talent and above-average ability, you can rally around that, and craft a very successful career. You can even leverage your unique skill set to make unique value propositions that will win you business and market share, and surround yourself with entrepreneur players who complement your skill set. Sadly, many people I encounter abandon their best chance of winning by pursuing only what they're passionate about, and not where they have genuine ability. Self-awareness is an underrated, phenomenal gateway to entrepreneurial advancement!

Thanks to Shlomo Zalman Bregman

#13- Positive can do mindset and  focus

Photo Credit: V. Michael Santoro

The best traits for an entrepreneur are having a positive can do mindset and being able to focus on accomplishing the business objectives. These two traits help to deal the ups and downs, as well as the constantly changing business environment.

Thanks to V. Michael Santoro, Vaetas!

#14- Passion and perseverance

Photo Credit: Holly Reisem Hanna

I believe two most important traits for entrepreneurial success, are passion and perseverance. No matter what your business is, you need to LOVE what you do. Without a passion for your work, you'll become bored, and discontent and most likely quit, sell or move on. Which brings me to the second trait, perseverance. If you don't have a passion it will be difficult for you to keep moving forward when times are tough — and as we all know, entrepreneurs face their fair share of ups and downs.

Thanks to Holly Reisem Hanna, The Work at Home Woman!

#15- Minds the various gaps

Photo Credit: George Schildge

To create some new and delivery on that promise, an entrepreneur must understand the 4 gaps. First, is the gap in the market for their product/service. Next is the delivery consisting of talent, strategy, and technology gaps. The talent gap: the entrepreneur must focus on culture and purpose as key factors to differentiate the company and attract top talent. The technology gap: the entrepreneur must become technologies, and the traditional minded folks and businesses that fail to adapt will become irrelevant. The strategy gap: the entrepreneur that lack the knowledge and capabilities needed to effectively prioritize activities and allocate resources will struggle to succeed.

Thanks to George Schildge, Matrix Marketing Group!

#16- Several traits

There a few qualities that most entrepreneurs share in order to be successful running their own business. The first one is drive and motivation, as well as enthusiasm and the ability to be future-oriented. Another key quality is creativity and the ability to persuade others. Lastly, entrepreneurs need to have superb business skills and not have a fear to take risks.

Thanks to Don Barlow, Finyl Vinyl!

#17- Knows what they don't know then hire or partner with another person

Photo Credit: Stacey A. Giulianti

One of the most important traits of a successful entrepreneur is to know what you don't know – and then hire or partner with another person or firm that has expertise in that area. For me, I knew during the business plan stage of starting a property insurance company that I needed assistance in two major areas – reinsurance and accounting. When I mentor start-ups, I advise them to write down their areas of high competence and their areas of low competence. Any items on the low competence list are prime candidates for immediate outside assistance. It will cost you more in the long run if you attempt to handle areas of low competence in-house.

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Thanks to Stacey A. Giulianti, Florida Peninsula Ins Co!

#18- Three traits

Photo Credit: Paul Koger

Having a clear vision, goals and an action plan to reach them. Without a clear cut goal, it is almost impossible to achieve success, divide your own time and resources. Keeping your eyes on the prize while working towards it is the only way towards success. Unfortunately so many people get this wrong. Persistence to keep going while the going gets rough. 9 people out of 10 quit sooner or later when they meet obstacles. The truly successful know that obstacles are just a part of the journey towards great achievements. Ability to separate and focus on the essential*. Business owners get bombarded with questions, proposals and other time consuming tasks daily. The ability to cut out the noise and focus on the important will enable the
leaders to steer their businesses towards success.

Thanks to Paul Koger, FoxyTrades LLC !


Photo Credit: Tom Borg

Based on over 30 years of working with small business owners here is my top 3:
Integrity – without it you will fail in the long run.
Honesty – you cannot expect it from others if you do not possess it.
Lack of prejudice towards all races and cultures – most people can sense where you stand on this quality within 60 minutes. If you are prejudice you will not to be perceived as a true leader.

Thanks to Tom Borg, Tom Borg Consulting!

#20- Stubborn and corrects mistakes

Photo Credit: Carol Bryan

While there are many personality traits that can contribute to a successful  entrepreneur's path, I'd like to highlight two seemingly contradictory traits in order to be truly successful. Firstly, the entrepreneur needs to be stubborn with a strong oppositional trend. Entrepreneurs often get pressure from family members to get a real job; that is, one with what appears to be steady pay rather than working in a career path that is laden with risks and uncertainty. The entrepreneur will need to have a strong streak of stubbornness in order to counteract the outside influences and remain true to the mission. On the flipside, in order to steer a successful pivot, the entrepreneur will also need to be able to recognize when  something is not working and make the proper course correction. This trait seems to be the opposite of stubbornness, because out of sheer stubbornness the entrepreneur could be tempted to just keep going down a path regardless of the consequences. Having the ability to be stubborn when necessary and still recognize mistakes and be able to pivot correctly will often create a recipe that leads toward success.

Thanks to Carol Bryan,  Farmers Insurance Agency!

What are some of the best traits of a successful leader? Tell us in the comments below.

Mercy - CBNation Team

This is a post from a CBNation team member. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand. We are focused on increasing the success rate. We create content and information focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(, podcasts, ( and videos ( CBNation is proudly powered by Blue16 Media.

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