12 Leadership Traits of the World's Most Successful Entrepreneurs
We're searching for top company cultures to be featured on our annual list. Think your company has what it takes? Apply Now »
Whenever individuals like Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, or Richard Branson speak, we have a tendency to listen because we want to learn from how their achieved that level of success. And, it turns out that wealthy people are leaders who share these traits.
1. They don’t play the blame game.
When there’s a mistake, successful individuals don’t point fingers at someone else. They hold themselves accountable and own up to the mistake. Instead of playing the blame game, they’re already working to make sure they don’t repeat the mistake.
As the late Steve Jobs once said, “People who are crazy enough to change the world, are the ones who do.” Along the way you are bound to make mistakes. People like Jobs didn't go around playing the blame game.
2. They are open minded.
The wealthy are constantly on the lookout for new and innovative ideas to make their business bigger, better and stronger. If they are aren’t open to new ideas from team members, they won’t be able to adapt to the changes that are constantly being thrown at them.
3. They are willing to take appropriate risks.
Do you think that Warren Buffett got rich by always playing it safe? The wealthy understand the importance of getting out of their comfort zones and taking a risk. However, the risks have to be calculated. The wealthy first examine the pros and cons before agreeing to a new deal. While the wealthy are looking for new opportunities to increase their profits, they’re not willing to gamble everything on a deal that could cost their company. Buffett, never invests in a business if he believes there is any chance of failure.
4. They set realistic goals.
The most successful people in the world know exactly what they want and how to get to there. They are able to arrive at their destination because they have established realistic goals that they document and track.
Take a page from the book of Jeff Bezos. “We've had three big ideas at Amazon that we've stuck with for 18 years, and they're the reason we're successful: Put the customer first. Invent. And be patient.” Those were simple, yet effective, goals that have made Amazon such a success.
5. Know how to solve problems.
Successful individuals are excellent problem solvers - that’s why they have achieved their level of wealth. They saw an opportunity to fix a problem and had the ability to put that problem solving skill to work. Even after the business has launched, they continue to work on solving any problems that may come their way.
Mark Zuckerberg, for example, noticed that people were concerned about their privacy when Facebook launched its News Feed feature. To squash any concerns, Zuckerberg made it possible for users to select privacy levels.
6. Can empower others.
We don’t follow successful individuals because of their net worth. We follow them because they are positive and care about their business. They also care about their employees and customers and believe in what they’re selling. That trait has a tendency to be contagious.
As Bill Gates has said, “As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.”
Related: 5 Ways to Empower Your Employees
7. They’re proactive.
“You have to act and act now.” - Larry Ellison
The wealthy don’t sit back and wait for success to come knocking at their front door. It’s not that convenient. They succeeded because they made it happen with creativity and passion.
8. They are lifelong learners.
Your days of learning aren't over just because you graduated from a university and have a diploma on display to prove it. While you may not have to physically step inside a classroom, successful individuals are constantly learning new skills and techniques that will help them achieve new professional and personal goals.
As Richard Branson has said, “The day you stop learning is the day you stop living.”
9. They ask well-considered questions.
Successful people are pretty good at solving problems because they utilize their networks to find solutions. They pose the right questions to the right people to resolve an issues.
10. They are willing to walk away.
Sometimes a leader has to utter the word "no." It’s not always an easy word to say, but that’s what separates the wealthy from everyone else. They are confident enough to walk away from investments or business partners who aren’t bringing anything to the table.
11. They collect facts before making a decision.
During one of their famous conversations, Andrew Carnegie informed Napoleon Hill that "Able leaders take nothing for granted without a sound reason. They make it their business to get at the facts before forming judgments, but they move promptly and definitely."
Whether it’s letting an employee go or deciding on how much to invest back into their business, the wealthy don't make any rash and heated decisions. They realize that before making any sort of business decision they need all of the facts in front of them.
12. They know their strengths and hire for their weaknesses.
Did you know that Richard Branson is dyslexic? If so, were you aware that he considers that one of his strengths? Branson has also realized that he needs a talented team to help manage all of the various companies under the Virgin umbrella. Instead of micromanaging and doing everything himself, Branson has surrounded himself with people who can accomplish the tasks that he can not.