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12 Character Traits Exceptional Entrepreneurial Leaders Have In Common Entrepreneurs with excellent leadership skills stand out above their competition. Learning these 12 characteristics will turn any entrepreneur into a great leader.

By Nida Leardprasopsuk Edited by Micah Zimmerman

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Entrepreneurs with excellent leadership skills are even more successful than those without the ability to lead. They excel in their field because they have earned the love and trust of the people around them.

Do you ever wonder what makes entrepreneurial leaders different? What characteristics do they have that made them successful as a leader? Why did people respect, trust and love them? In this article, I will discuss 12 characteristics of entrepreneurs with good leadership skills.

Related: 6 Habits of Effective Entrepreneurial Leadership

1. They have high self-awareness

Great leaders know their strengths and weaknesses and what they must work on to improve personally and professionally. They know when they are being triggered and what triggers them. Leaders with low self-awareness often blame others for their own mistakes and will unlikely have the awareness to be aware of it. Because they lack self-awareness, they are oblivious to what they must work on to develop themselves.

2. They actively seek feedback from others

Great entrepreneurs know that feedback will help them become better leaders and entrepreneurs. They know constructive feedback is the key to transforming into a better version of themselves. They view feedback as a gift and do not shy away from constructive advice.

3. They practice empathy

Great leaders understand other people's needs, desires, feelings and situations. Instead of judging others, great entrepreneurs put themselves in other people's shoes and try to know where they are coming from.

Good leaders ask understanding questions. Why did they make those mistakes? Do they need extra support at work? Are they facing some personal challenges at home?

When you empathize, there is no need to judge because you understand the reason for all decisions and behaviors.

Related: What Is Empathy, and Why Is It So Important for Great Leaders?

4. They are honest and transparent

Great leaders are honest to themselves and others. They speak the truth and do not hide from others. This is because they are genuine and authentic. What they express is genuinely what they hold internally.

5. They are open to different perspectives

Great leaders avoid group thinking. They know that everyone has biases and they understand the power of diversity. They seek out people that think differently from themselves and utilize everyone's strengths. They welcome a variety of experiences and perspectives because they understand the benefit of a variety of voices.

6. They have integrity

Exceptional leaders are known for their integrity. They have a moral compass they adhere to and use to make decisions. They are not swayed by external pressures and hold on to solid values and principles that make it difficult to take actions not aligned with their values.

This is what ultimately enables them to gain the respect of their followers. When times of temptation come, they don't compromise their integrity. They step into their courage and do the right thing no matter how inconvenient or uncomfortable it may be.

7. They are visionary

A visionary has positive ideas for long-term visions. Such leaders project into the future and can use their curiosity, creativity and mindset. They create solutions for critical problems that exist in the world. They envision a better future.

As an exceptional leader, you need to have a long-term vision. Having a big picture with a roadmap of goals that lead to an overall idea is essential. A visionary is focused on the goal and will not lose sight until it is achieved. Such people will do everything within their abilities to get to the destination.

8. They have high self-esteem and self-confidence

Self-esteem affects everything in your life, from relationships to success to parenting to leadership. When you have self-esteem, you know you are worthy of the great things in life and you have the capabilities to overcome challenges. You expect great things to happen for you and know you are worthy of it.

9. They have a purpose

Good leaders know their purpose and will stop at nothing to achieve that purpose. A leader must know their purpose because it is impossible to define a vision without it. Knowing your goal will guide you in the right direction to fulfill your life's mission and create the impact you truly desire.

Related: 9 Tips for Finding Your Life Purpose

10. They have strong communication skills

Communication is one of the most critical elements of an interpersonal relationship. A leader needs to know how to send and receive information in the most efficient and effective ways. Communication starts with empathy and the ability to understand the person in front of you.

11. They are flexible

Being stern as a leader may not take you far in today's world. Exceptional leader is flexible with their leadership. Leaders experience various challenging situations and must engage with people with different personalities, backgrounds, values and belief systems.

You need to be able to employ different styles of leadership at various points. In some cases, more mentoring may be required and in other cases, more coaching may be the preferred option.

12. They have emotional intelligence

An exceptional leader must have high emotional intelligence to lead effectively and efficiently. Understanding yourself and the people around you is a vital skill. Entrepreneurs with high emotional intelligence gain respect from others and demonstrate this necessary skill set for followers to mirror.

Being an exceptional leader requires intention. Here are some pointers for you to cultivate the habits of extraordinary leaders:

  • The journey to becoming a great leader begins with you. It takes personal effort, and you need to work to become the exceptional leader you desire to be. Everyone has great potential, but you must reach inside to access your abilities.
  • Gather feedback from your boss, peers, subordinates and even family members. Their feedback will serve as a starting point to help you determine the areas to work on most.
  • You need the right people around you and within your support circle. In some cases, you need to hire a coach. A coach will help you identify and work on the key areas to help you become a better leader.
  • Find people to look up to. Have you ever thought about the type of leader you want to become? Research those leaders to understand what made them stand out. Identify the hard and soft skills that made them exceptional. Outline how you can acquire similar skills to become a great leader like them.
  • It is essential to have a curious mind and always seek knowledge. No matter how great you become as a leader, do not ever allow complacency to step in. Great leaders are lifelong learners who approach things with a beginner's mindset. Being an exceptional leader is not always easy, but it is the path to your desired vision, personally and professionally.

Related: 7 Character Traits Exceptional Leaders Have in Common

Nida Leardprasopsuk

CEO of Nida Leard Consulting & Coaching

Nida Leardprasopsuk is a business consultant, CEO coach and former Fortune 500 executive with more than two decades of experience. She helps high-achieving and purpose-driven coaches, consultants, experts, thought leaders and service providers reinvent, innovate and become a category of one.

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