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10 Key Leadership Qualities for Today's Entrepreneur

David Javitch |

Many writers have penned essays on the characteristics, behaviors, values and attitudes that spell success for the entrepreneurial leader. My top 10 list goes further, blending the theoretical, practical and the common sense based on 25 years I’ve spent in the field assessing, coaching and consulting leaders.

1. The successful leader has a vision:

Think things through and know where you want to go and how you want to get there. Work with others to ensure a vision is followed through. Direct the actions and resources toward making it a reality.

2. The successful leader communicates well:
Articulate a vision clearly to others. Encourage two-way communication between managers and non-managers and always be available to others. Strive to be succinct and specific about directions and instructions. Above all, a good leader avoids generalizations and ambiguities that can lead to misunderstanding, conflict and poor performance.

3. The successful leader supports and guides the employees:
Start by helping others clarify and achieve goals by identifying and removing any obstacles. Provide the resources (time, money, people, information and equipment) needed to complete the task. Don’t reprimand others who make mistakes when taking a well-calculated risk. Instead, critique and analyze what went wrong and what went right. Next, work with the employee to correct the error. Decide whether another attempt at a previous goal is necessary, and offer encouragement if it is. During the entire process, provide appropriate feedback to ensure positive attitudes and actions. Serve as a model of good attitude and use approaches that others can emulate.

4. The successful leader believes in his/herself:
A good leader possesses a strong sense of confidence, built upon years of learning, experimenting and at times failing — but always growing. Be aware of personal strengths and limitations, and demonstrate those skills and talents without boasting. Assume responsibility for faults and personal errors without hiding them or blaming others, and know that if a mistake occurs, it does not equate inadequacy. A successful leader believes that he or she can turn around a negative situation by re-examining the variables and other circumstances — with input from others, when necessary.