28 Entrepreneurs Explain the Best Traits of an Effective 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 describe them to be successful. On the same note, we asked entrepreneurs and business owners about the best traits of an effective leader.

#1- Approachability and getting things done

Photo Credit: Huy Pham

There are many factors and traits that define an effective leader but based on my experience in running a business, I found that two traits take priority over the rest. These are approachability and the ability to get things done. Approachability helps make your subordinates open up to you allowing you to know what’s up with your business like how your employees are doing and the problems they face. On the other hand, getting things done is another trait worth having as it is a combination of multiple traits like proactiveness, grit, orderliness, and many more. After all, how can you have a successful business if its leader can’t get things done?

Thanks to Huy Pham, Healthcanal!

#2- Resilient

Photo Credit: Andrew Chornyy

When things get tough, the tough get even tougher. You've probably heard this saying before, an effective leader actually follows this quote and gets tougher as things get tougher. They are persistent and have a positive outlook on life. Regardless of how tough the situation may be, they will find a way to rally their followers. While the majority of people are preoccupied with whining about problems, great leaders focus on solutions rather than problems.

Thanks to Andrew Chornyy, Plerdy!


Photo Credit: Valerie Winfrey

There are many qualities you must take on in order to be an effective leader. The first and one of the most important, in my opinion, is trust. You not only need trust from your superiors, but also trust from those working under you. After trust comes leading by example: taking on tasks, yet also delegating efficiently. Making hard decisions becomes a daily task, and to make them effectively, organization and efficiency must be a priority. You do all of this with the vision of your company’s growth in mind. But do you know what’s more important than all of these qualities? Giving your customers attention. You must know your customers… because they’re who you serve.

Thanks to Valerie Winfrey, Frey Boutique!

#4- Delegating responsibilities

Photo Credit: Ben Cook, Jr

Effective leaders have to be unafraid to delegate their responsibilities. No one person can do it all. A good leader realizes this early on and takes steps to share the load. This makes any company or organization run more smoothly. It also helps build trust when someone who works under you feels that you have put that much confidence in their ability to get the task done.

Thanks to Ben Cook, Jr., PrintedKicks!

#5- Team player

Photo Credit: Cole Morgan

It takes humility to be a good leader because you have to understand that it's about the team goals and not your personal achievements. Understand that the ‘we’ accomplishes a lot more than the ‘me.’ You also need to be humble and understand your strengths and weaknesses so that you can surround yourself with the complementary skill sets needed to make the organization great. Also, great teams, just like great companies, are built on trust making sure the right people do the right things. It might sound like a bit of a cliche, but it’s a simple lesson learned in sports that I come back to often. As people grow their personal and professional skills it’s vital that their roles evolve and change. It’s not unlike a player who excels in one facet of the game and works hard to develop new skills in another facet. A great leader looks for ways to put that person in a position to succeed, no matter what role they may have done in the past. At the end of the day, great leadership is about adaptation and knowing how to play to your strengths and the strengths of those around you.”

Thanks to Cole Morgan, Snap! Raise!

#6- Several traits

Photo Credit: Katie Lyon

Great leaders can embrace change, be flexible, remain modest, and adapt quickly. This is crucial in business when advancements in technology create an environment that is constantly in flux. Leading by example, he/she gives life to others' ideas and input. Instilling integrity and fostering team values are paramount. A solid leader understands their own role and is selfless in identifying the causes for success and failure. Most importantly, they nurture others to maximize the overall company or team's potential.

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Thanks to Katie Lyon, Allegiance Flag Supply.!

#7- Demonstrates integrity

Photo Credit: Katherine Hanrahan

As a CEO, there are always going to be setbacks. Whether it is a missed deadline, lost client, or one of the countless things that can go wrong in the business world, you will face it. Shifting your mindset to see these events as learning opportunities for growth will help you soar as a leader. This has helped me scale my online coaching sales and increase team productivity. Instead of seeing things as either good or bad and challenges as road blocks for success, flip your perspective. A fixed mindset is surprisingly common and is fatal to both personal and professional development. By demonstrating a growth mindset, you will simultaneously display maturity, resilience, and determination all while increasing employee moral. These traits are highly desired in today's workforce by employees and hiring officials.

Thanks to Katherine Hanrahan, Imagine A Mind!

#8- Transparent

Photo Credit: Chris Taylor

Personally, I believe transparency is an important part in establishing trust. Employees will be better able to grasp their function and how they may contribute to the company's overall success if you are more transparent about the organization's objectives and difficulties. Employee engagement increases as a result of this feeling of worth and purpose. While openness is designed to encourage cooperation, information sharing, and responsibility, too much of it may backfire. Employees may feel exposed and vulnerable as a result of open workplaces and abundant real-time data on how they spend their time. Their behavior alters when they are watched. Even if they have nothing to conceal, they start going to enormous measures to keep what they're doing hidden.

Thanks to Chris Taylor, Profit Guru!

#9- Resourcefulness

As a leader, people will come to you a lot for the littlest thing, to the most complex issue. You will need to know how to turn a bad situation into a good one, and all of it with grace. Whether you help with building homes, architecture, or need to find more contractors in your network, you need to be resourceful. You don’t need to know all the answers, but a good leader knows the steps to take to find them, because people are relying on you. Regardless if you are a leader of a small business, a large corporation, are very involved with clients, or don’t do much of direct customer service, everything that happens is a reflection of your work and dedication, and ability to find a way to solve an issue.

Thanks to Travis McCain, General Steel Company!

#10- Being people-oriented

Photo Credit: Lynda Le

It is a common misconception that people are naturally gifted with a leadership trait. But actually, the best traits to becoming an effective leader are built through time and practice. Being a leader means that there are people following you. And one of the best traits which I can say is very important to be an effective leader is being people-oriented. This kind of leader promotes team culture, lets people take part in decision-making, and show concern for the team members. As a people-oriented leader, I motivate my team by making them feel valued and important to the team’s success. Nonetheless, that’s what makes a successful business – a solid team of people working hand-in-hand.

Thanks to Lynda Le, Polish Perfect!

#11- Four traits

Photo Credit: Aiden Cole

Being a leader is not meant for everyone. Many people are put in positions of leadership and are not natural leaders. Some of the skills you most have and understand to be a leader include mentoring, teaching, patience and communication. If you possess these four skills there is a great chance you would make a fantastic leader.

Thanks to Aiden Cole, HIDE!

#12- Has clarity about goals

Photo Credit: Harry Morton

Every leader needs to have a clear vision; clarity of where a business currently is, where he wants it to be, and steps needed to get there. Only when a leader is clear on his vision, can he effectively communicate it to others. Yet, to bring this vision to life and achieve company goals, a leader must also be in sync with his team members. When the team is clear on the vision and feels their input is valued, they are invested in making it happen. An effective leader inspires and guides the team to accomplish goals through role modeling, organization, and collaboration.

Thanks to Harry Morton, Lower Street!

#13- Passion and desire for innovation

Photo Credit: Irene McConnell

Although a great leader has to master a multitude of skills, I believe one of the most important traits to be passion and desire for innovation. Even if it feels uncomfortable, effective leaders encourage innovation, constant learning and changing things up. They humbly accept that the results may be far from optimal, but the experimenting and experience their team gets from the transformation will ultimately be worth it. Effective leaders are curious in nature and always looking for ways to explore new areas, helping their team learn and grow into better versions of themselves. This is ultimately the trait that makes effective leaders face any problem with a positive outlook.

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Thanks to Irene McConnell, Arielle Executive!

#14- Three traits

Photo Credit: Tyler Garns

People-oriented, exemplary communicators, and proactive. In my opinion, these are three traits an effective leader needs to have. People-oriented because he will be leading people or a team of people. He should know how to deal or mingle with them for a more successful output; thus, to attain that, he should have exemplary communication skills to relay messages clearly and precisely to his team for directions and guidance. He should also be proactive in anticipating problems that may arise, making him one step ahead, preventing minor issues from developing into much more severe problems.

Thanks to Tyler Garns, Box Out Marketing!

#15- Emotional Intelligence

Photo Credit: Jeremy Ong

Emotional intelligence is a blessing for leaders for two major reasons. First of all, leaders who have emotional intelligence able to understand their emotional changes and status and have the skill to gauge their emotions. This has a great positive impact on the decisions they make. In addition to that, they can understand employees' emotions, they understand the complexity they might deal with and they succeed in putting themselves in employee's shoes. All together help leaders to take the right steps and decisions to deal with and manage the employees and business as well.

Thanks to Jeremy Ong, HUSTLR!

#16- Ability to spot talent

Photo Credit: Ian Sells

Generally, though, an effective leader is one that sees potential in people and develops them. A leader needs to have the ability to spot talent. The best asset of any company is its people. So if you have a good eye to see potential, that's the first step. The next one is the ability to develop and harness that potential into something that would benefit both the person and the company.

Thanks to Ian Sells, RebateKey!

#17- Communicates efficiently & frequently

Photo Credit: Erin Mastopietro

Communication is the topmost priority of a leader. Communication plays a major role in connecting a team with its leader. Some factors of communication such as how a leader is interacting with his team, how he can understand them etc. play a major role in deciding if the leader is a good one or not. There are countless ways to build a culture of good communication. Good leaders often conduct one-on-one with employees. They also provide feedback formally and informally. They keep a check on their employee’s mental health. They use multiple communication tools such as email, chat, etc to maintain good communication within the team.

Thanks to Erin Mastopietro, Dope Dog!

#18- Creates growth and development opportunities

Photo Credit: Yulia Saf

An effective leader knows how to create a social fabric that highlights and harnesses talents to create personal growth and development opportunities and not focus on value creation. Effective leaders weave a culture of creativity and discovery by letting everyone step out from their comfort zone every once in a while to push and expand their range of experience. They look beyond themselves and include everyone in the growth of the company.

Thanks to Yulia Saf, MissTourist!

#19- Empathy

Photo Credit: Alex Mastin

Putting the Empathy into C ‘E' O is a crucial skill that any business leader needs, regardless of the history. Mindfullness, wellness and menthal health has (rightly) come to the fore of employment the last few years and companies need to be fully aware of this, especially the CEO, as it all filters from the top down. If the CEO doesn't take this health issues seriously then what message does that send to all their employees. We've heard the phrase ‘everyone is different' for countless years, yet companies still treat all their employees the same. That's not equality, it's brutality. Understanding the background, culture and personality type of your employees will help make the workplace a much better environment for them, and in turn a much more successful company as a result. Money talks, so talk to your employees and do something about it

Thanks to Alex Mastin, Home Grounds!

#20- Self-awareness

Photo Credit: Amie Thompson

Being aware of who you are and how others perceive you is a very important trait in leadership. I'm a believer that people should work within their strengths and true talents. But in order to know what those are, you have to do some self-reflection. Whether it's taking personality tests, getting a coach, asking your peers for feedback, understanding what makes you uniquely qualified for a particular role is very important. It's tough to lead others if you don't know yourself well.

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Thanks to Amie Thompson, Creative Allies!

#21- Friendly

Photo Credit: Abraham Rahmanizadeh

Even if I am in a senior level position, this is not to say that I would ever treat those in entry and mid-level positions as less than. As a leader I strive to remain knowledgeable and efficient, yet also warm, transparent and humble. Being friendly and finding commonalities with other employees is worthwhile because it lets them know that I am approachable and willing to support them.

Thanks to Abraham Rahmanizadeh, Leafwell Botanicals!

#22- Humor

Photo Credit: Mike

As a leader, humor is a powerful tool to use to engage with people, whether it’s your employees or business contacts. Express yourself with lightheartedness and wit to charm people. Things in the business world can get tense and uptight; you’d be surprised at how much people appreciate a leader’s boldness and confidence in taking the risk of creating a more relaxed vibe.

Thanks to Mike Pasley, Famous In Real Life!

#23- Being like a sponge

Photo Credit: Neil Grant

This might be one of the best traits that an effective leader can have. Absorbing the things that are needed to make one’s business successful while having the ability to squeeze it out once the change is needed is very important in this everchanging world of business.

Thanks to Neil Grant, Dalvey!

#24- Expresses gratitude

Photo Credit: Deborah Sweeney

They are quick to thank their team for their hard work and to recognize the importance of expressing gratitude in the workplace. This type of expression often has a domino effect on employees. It encourages them to thank their colleagues and improves morale in the workplace. Gratitude also emphasizes the importance of creating a culture of care. Leaders that express gratitude understand that they must prioritize taking care of their team and nurturing one another in order to succeed together.

Thanks to Deborah Sweeney,!

#25- Patience

Photo Credit: Lauri Kinkar

Being patient is one of the most important traits an effective leader should have. Being an entrepreneur is hard and there are so many challenges to face. Sometimes, things don't go the way as planned, and being able to be patient and strive consistently despite the bumps in the road is essential in being a great leader. You shouldn't let the downtimes frustrate you or let yourself be carried away with your emotions, instead accept that nothing of value comes easily and work towards your business goals in a dedicated fashion.

Thanks to Lauri Kinkar, Messente!

#26- They are relationship builders

Photo Credit: Andrew Raso

An effective leader is able to build long-lasting and valuable relationships with anyone they want to, may it be employees, co-leaders, and third parties. A leader won’t be able to lead if there are no people to lead, and people will only want to be led by a person with whom they are able to build a good relationship. Hence, an effective leader should be able to create such.

Thanks to Andrew Raso, Online Marketing Gurus!

#27- Decisive

Photo Credit: Chris Baird

They are excellent communicators and visionaries. Decisive leaders are seen as strong and capable and sure of their organization's direction. Leaders should be comfortable making confident decisions and communicating ideas using concise, easy-to-understand language for others to follow, making sure everyone in the organization understands the vision they have. If everyone in the organization shares their vision, it'll give them a sense of direction and stronger responsibility.

Thanks to Chris Baird, Seven Hills Cleaning & Milestone Marquees!

#28- Accountability

Photo Credit: Daniel Foley

Whether the outcome is positive or negative, effective leaders take responsibility for their team's performance. As a leader, you should strive to compliment your team on their accomplishments while also providing constructive feedback to help them grow. When you make a poor judgment or do something negative, it's equally critical that you accept responsibility. We are all flawed and prone to making mistakes, but good leaders identify and discuss their areas for development with their team. Make it a point to be a role model for your team, and they'll be more likely to follow your lead.

Thanks to Daniel Foley, Litta!

What are the best traits for effective leaders? Tell us in the comments below. Don’t forget to join our #IamCEO Community.

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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