The Successful Entrepreneur: Ten Traits of an Exceptional Leader

by Cindy Zeis

To truly consider yourself an entrepreneur you must first be able to see yourself as a leader. Sometimes we feel that we are leaders because we’re good at conveying a message and motivating people. These are indeed great characteristics to have as a leader but will not act as the sole foundation for effective leadership. We must caution ourselves to not confuse the gift of persuasive communication with the talent of being a leader.

An effective leader is a strategist. The irony here is to become a truly effective leader we need to understand the strategy in developing our leadership potential. The following are ten sound principles I have found that if applied fully and honestly, with integrity and humility are the making of an exceptional leader. As a leader you must:

1. Understand the gravity of your position.
2. Accept the responsibility that comes with leadership.
3. Have the ability to assess the needs of the team both individually and collectively.
4. Become educated and always seek improvement.
5. Become the educator.
6. Have the ability to respond to the individual needs of those you are leading.
7. Be able to listen with compassion and empathy.
8. Be able to recognize, communicate, and build on the strengths of the individuals and ultimately of the team.
9. Have the ability to extract material from your knowledge base and tailor it to conform to the needs of the group or individual.
10. Find someone who is willing to be this for you.

Listing these principles or traits is merely skimming the surface of what it takes to be an exceptional leader. Each principle in and of itself must be understood and developed fully. We must be willing to consider them all as half measures will not fulfill the obligations required to become a successful entrepreneur.

An entrepreneur by definition is one who is willing to assume the risks and responsibilities of a business or enterprise. If our business is the pathway leading us to the fulfillment of our dreams and all we aspire to be we must develop the skill-set necessary to lead to our success.

I consider the terms entrepreneur and leader to be synonymous as the former does not exist without the latter. It is apparent that an exceptional leader is one who is both teacher and student, one who is willing to be the leader and the lead. Leadership is a position of great power and great humility. When one can foster and embrace this delicate balance, success is imminent.

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