Ten Characteristics of Great Business Leaders

January 6th, 2015

Recently I reflected on the characteristics of the best leaders whom I have met through The CEO Institute over the past 23 years. Here are ten characteristics I believe exemplify the profile of great business leaders:

  1. Are able to develop a clear and compelling vision of where they want their organization to go and are able to articulate it in such a way that their associates fell compelled to help see that vision realized.
  2. Have an intense desire to see their customers be successful. They are for their customers well     being and have a strong service ethic.  They are focused on way more than just the profits that their customers generate. They genuinely want to have their customers businesses and lives be greatly enhanced through their association with their company.
  3. Are able to recognize and attract top talent to the company because top talent is the ultimate competitive differentiator in any business.
  4. Place an appropriate balance between growing profits and growing people. They don’t grow profits at the expense of people. They grow people who can then grow appropriate profits for the business. Show Ideal Impact quotation.
  5. Have a strong desire to help their work associates be all that God created them to be professionally and personally. They delight in the successes of their colleagues and helping them to achieve things their associates never thought possible in their work and personal lives.
  6. Don’t expect more out of their people than they themselves are willing to invest in the Company. They respect the fact that their employees have interests outside of the business and don’t expect that their employees put their entire focus and energy on the business. They don’t ask their employees to do things that they aren’t willing to do themselves.
  7. Great leaders are willing to share the profits of the business with their colleagues based on the behaviors and results accomplished by their employee teams. They also look to reinvest profits back into the communities they serve and not use the profits to enrich the shareholders. They realize that they are stewards of the business that God has entrusted to them to run and that one day they will have to provide a stewardship report.
  8. Great leaders are connected to God and recognize their dependence on God for His grace, mercy, love and wisdom. They know that they are not self made men or women but are dependent on their creator for their ultimate success in business and in life.
  9. Great leaders place an appropriate balance between short term and long term results. They don’t just maximize short term profits by underinvesting in the business. They understand that running a business is a marathon and not a sprint and that they must give the business every opportunity to be successful over the long term, even beyond their watch.
  10. Great leaders are humble people. Although they have a right view of themselves and their skills and abilities,  they are still very humble because they realize that any lasting results attained in the company will be realized not just by the leader but through the contributions of an entire team of talented, committed, hard working people.

© 2014-2015 The CEO Institute. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission from The CEO Institute and Lane Kramer. Article by Lane Kramer.

Channel(s): Leadership: Workplace