Ten Unmistakable Traits of Successful Leaders

When it comes to traits of a successful leader, there are some key attributes that will always be considered as a ‘must have’.


This includes being visionary, a great communicator and the ability to establish an environment that engages and motivates people.

With the emerging neuroscience findings that tells us how the brain of successful leaders work, below are actions (rather than traits) that anyone who wants to develop their leadership capabilities needs to consider.

Leadership is an active process. It can be learnt and developed, that’s why it is probably more useful to talk about “things to do” in order to acquire the traits of successful and effective leaders, until they become a way of being.

A successful leader:

1. Understands and manages his/her emotions

Emotions are contagious and when people do not understand what type of energy they are transmitting to others, they become blind to the reactions that may be creating in others. Identifying what one feels and have strategies at hand, particularly to manage emotions like anger or frustration is extremely important.

2. Takes time to self-reflect on his/her actions

Self-reflection is a process that the greatest leaders in history have implemented in their lives. Thinking daily about our actions, our decisions and outcomes brings awareness and it opens our mind to evaluate other options or better ways of doing things.

 3. Knows him/herself well in terms of strengths & limitations

We are made of both strengths and limitations (or weaknesses). When we embrace both aspects of ourselves, we are more congruent, more authentic. Authenticity is an attribute that followers certainly admire in their leader.

 4. Uses imagination to solve problems and encourages others to do the same

Being busy all the time is not a synonym of high productivity and/or effective leadership. Not taking breaks, for example, restricts the capacity to imagine which usually happens when we learn to relax so we can access slower brain waves (known as alpha brain waves). A person who is able to imagine more, is likely to come up with better ideas about how to sort out difficult situations or solve problems.

5. Takes care of his/her mental & physical health

A sedentary life (sitting down and working in front of a computer), lack of exercise and poor nutrition impacts on our bodies, brains and consequently on how we behave in life. Good health overall equals a more positive outlook, constructive behaviours and lack of disease. When leading others, role modeling good health needs to be number one priority. At the end of the day, who wants to follow someone who is ill or pessimistic?

Pages: 1 2


  • I love that you included taking care of mental and physical health in the list. Too often we all get so consumed by work and let our physical health slip away, which not only has an adverse impact on our mental health, but also our ability to perform and lead. This is definitely the case with many senior leaders. Thanks for sharing!

  • leave a comment

    Create Account

    Log In Your Account