Common Desk

10 min read

When successful people like Oprah Winfrey, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates and Warren Buffet speak, everyone listens in the hope of gleaning wisdom that can translate into success for their own business. It turns out that wealthy people such as these four, embody similar leadership traits that have helped them create the recipe for sustaining high levels of consistent profit once they reach the top. Some of these leadership qualities include the following:

1. They avoid the blame game

Successful people always hold themselves accountable when they make mistakes. Instead of blaming someone else for the problem, they are already moving forward with a solution to ensure they learn from the past. There is no reward without risk and “people who are crazy enough to change the world, are the ones who do”, says Steve Jobs.

2. They're willing to take calculated risks

You don’t grow your brand and become successful by playing it safe. The rich know the importance of taking risks outside of their comfort zone, however uncertain it might be. Nevertheless, they always calculate the risk prior to investing in a new venture or expanding by examining the benefits and downside before approving a deal.

3. They have openness to creative ideas

Successful businessmen always diversify in one way or the other. A good example is with Richard Branson and his Virgin Empire that consist of over 400 companies. They are always looking for new ideas to make their enterprise better by surrounding themselves with team members who keep them informed on the latest trends and how to tap into it.

4. They create achievable goals

Successful people know what they want, how to get there, and the length of time it will take to achieve their goals. They are driven by the realistic goals they constantly track and document to ensure they are in sight of the target. Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon has this to say, “We’ve had three big ideas at Amazon…and they’re the reason we’re successful”. These are simple goals that have had the desired effect on Amazon's success story.

5. They are motivated

Success is harder than it looks; it requires hard work and genuine enthusiasm about what you do and where you want to take your brand. Successful people believe they will be fruitful and possess the required high-energy levels for the volume of work it takes to beat the competition. History is replete with examples of famous businessmen who failed continuously in the early stages but remained motivated to bounce back and succeed. Great examples include Henry Ford who failed five times before starting Ford Motor Company; and then there’s Walt Disney, who was fired by a newspaper editor because he lacked imagination but went on to win 22 Academy Awards with iconic characters like Mickey Mouse and the world famous Disney Theme Park.

6. They know how to leverage persuasiveness

Successful entrepreneurs are relentless as they seek to make their brand the best in the world. They are charismatic marketers who are persuasive in their argument and work tirelessly to promote their brand.

7. They have an eye for talent

Great leaders surround themselves with great minds, and as the popular saying goes, “no man is an island unto himself.” Steve Jobs was always on the lookout for brilliant people who exhibited potential. He accepted invitations to speak at universities so he could hunt potential employees himself, and he personally interviewed more than 5,000 people in his lifetime.

8. They understand that consistency is key

Decades after achieving success, great companies are known to remain on top because they continuously release innovative content that is relevant. Billion dollar tech companies like Facebook, Google, and Twitter are never satisfied and always find new ways to reach the next level. Ikea’s founder, Ingvar Kamprad, states that “the feeling of achievement is a dangerous poison, and its antidote is to keep thinking about what can be done to better tomorrow.”

9. They have tough skin

Leading in a world where people are always trying to manipulate you is not easy. Successful people understand that all their actions will always be met with criticism and negative backlash from the public and peers. The key is to stand up for yourself and take constructive criticism from industry leaders.

10. They act as networkers and key influencers

Successful people set the tone for key trends in their industry with their actions and products. They also know how to work a room and make friends with people who could help promote their brand. It is also crucial to keep your employees engaged by giving them a feeling of value so they create value for their organizations.

11. They're passionate

A true leader is passionate about his company, and in the words of Oprah Winfrey, “Passion is energy; feel the power from doing what excites you.” The energy of passion keeps you going through unpleasant tasks and slow months. Tenacity, consistency, tough skin– all these traits are derived from the passion of doing what you love, and without it, you wouldn't be able to hold down the fort when tough times come.

12. They have a strong sense of integrity and basic ethics

Business is only sustainable when there is a common ethic that fuels the very fabric upon which day-to-day activities are conducted. Successful people maintain this standard come what may because they understand both the value of integrity and the role it plays in getting customers to trust a brand. John Huntsman Sr., the billionaire who started a chemical company from the ground up, refused to cheat nor compromise his values and integrity. According to Brendan Wilde, Marketing Manager at Plesk WebOps hosting platform, “Integrity is the foundation of any company, it means doing the right thing, remaining honest and never taking shortcuts to success, if you lose the trust of your clientele, it will be almost impossible to regain it”.

13. They are problem solvers

Successful people are incredible at resolving issues. It is probably the reason as to why they are wealthy. They see a problem and they work hard to fix it as quickly as possible. They anticipate future problems that could arise with a product or service and create a solution before the issues manifest. An example is made with Mark Zuckerberg, who noticed users concern about privacy on the News Feed feature and came up with privacy levels to give control to Facebook users.

14. They have the ability to empower others to succeed

We follow successful people because we want to learn from them. So far, they have proved to be fantastic teachers on how startups can remain relevant and sustain growth in a tough commercial environment. Bill Gates states that “true leaders are those who empower others.”

15. They are continuous learners

Just because you graduated from University, doesn’t mean you stop searching for knowledge. Successful people always learn new skills and listen to respected leaders in their field so they can improve themselves and serve their brand better.

16. They know when to walk away

This is a hard skill to learn, and sometimes, it's only experience that teaches it. The wealthy always know when to cut their losses from a failing venture and when to use the word “no”, especially when it might be harder for lesser men to utter.

17. They are rational and calm under pressure when making key decisions

Successful people deal with pressure on a daily basis and they always have to make important decisions that could affect the future of their organization, sometimes without sufficient information. These great men and women have developed the ability to stay extremely calm under pressure and maintain a state of psychological readiness.

18. They know their limitations and hire for them

Wealthy people are humans too. It’s easy to forget this fact because of the god-like status we attach to them. Richard Branson is dyslexic, and he realizes that the only way to manage his conglomerate is to hire groups of talented teams to direct the various arms under the Virgin Umbrella. Hence, he delegates instead of micromanaging and failing woefully.

19. They exercise patience

Patience is a virtue, and this rings especially true for businessmen. On the hard road to success, entrepreneurs learn to display admirable levels of patience that keeps their natural emotion in check. Your staff imitate you, and if you exude patience and confidence, they will follow your lead.

20. They find empathy towards others

Empathy is pushing yourself to relate to the problems of others and striving to feel and understand what they are going through. Business solutions and products are mostly born out of the desire to solve some of the world’s greatest problems such as connectivity, educational tools, and new drugs to cure terminal diseases. Entrepreneurs are smack in the heart a group of people they need to understand, from mentors, clients, employees, investors, and business partners. The ability to know what the client wants and to create content that solves the problem is a key trait of successful entrepreneurs.

21. They're visionary

Visionary entrepreneurs are known for their ability to see things with a long term perspective by identifying and capitalizing on a demand for a service or product.

22. They use humility to remain grounded

In a world that celebrates outspoken leadership, humility is an essential behavioral trait of successful people. A recent study by the University of Washington Foster School of Business revealed that humble people make effective leaders and are more likely to become high performers in business. Mark Zuckerberg wears the same grey t-shirt and hoodie to work and drives an Acura because it’s not ostentatious. Warren Buffett lives in the home he bought 50 years ago and other wealthy men who don’t attach self-worth to money encourage others to find ways to remain grounded even after hitting it big.

And to top it off, successful entrepreneurs exhibit the following three qualities as well:

23. They focus on what they want and maintain a positive attitude

24. They praise the achievement of others and allow their employees the freedom to develop

25. They make time for fun and take holidays when due

All of these 25 qualities are pivotal to leading with the highest level of excellence, and when exemplified, these leadership qualities can take companies from ordinary to legendary.

written by Common Desk

Common Desk opened in the fall of 2012 with a vision to redefine the way Dallas perceived a workspace. By creating a stimulating environment for both Dallas’ suit and tie professionals and artistic freelancers, the Common Desk community gained strength through the diversity of its shared office spaces. Today, hundreds of companies call Common Desk home.

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