The Nine Characteristics of Successful Business Leaders and Entrepreneurs

By Alan Rajah, Lawrence Grant, Chartered Accountants

The 9 characteristics that I believe are the key drivers in being successful:

1. Self-esteem
2. The need or an overwhelming desire to achieve
3. Screening for opportunity
4. Locus of control
5. Goal orientation
6. Continued optimism
7. Courage to see it through to the end
8. Tolerance to ambiguity
9. Strong Internal Motivation

The good news is that many of these leadership characteristics are learnable. For example, one can train the mind to recognize opportunity, optimism is a controllable state of mind and even the need for achievement can be increased. The bad news is it’s not easy to do so. After all, one can’t make a house strong with a good foundation and one can’t be successful in business unless one possesses certain personal characteristics.

What qualities set those that are successful, apart from the rest of the crowd?

1. Wanting others around you to succeed, rather than hoping they fail

When you are in an organisation with a group of people, in order for it to thrive, you all should have a common goal – “to be as successful as you can be”. We should naturally want to see your company prosper and your co-workers grow.

2. Accept responsibility for your failures, rather than looking to pint the finger at someone else

Where there are ups, there will be on occasion, likely to be downs. If the latter happens, the sign of a true leader is one that accepts responsibility for these failures. In the eyes of co-workers it will also show someone who leads from the front, who is willing to accept failure, and “take it on the chin”. Blaming others solves nothing and can potentially create an aura of mistrust with fellow colleagues.

3. Exude joy rather than showing anger

In business and in life, it’s always better to be happy and show this joy to others. It becomes contagious and will encourage others to behave in the same way. It’s a fact that when people are happier they tend to be more focused and successful. If a person exudes anger, it can have a negative impact on everyone around them, and be very de-motivating.

4. Embrace change, rather than fear it

Change is good. Embracing change is one of the hardest things a person can do. With the world moving so fast and constantly changing and technology accelerating faster than ever, we need to embrace what’s coming and adapt. To be successful in business, you must run towards change, rather than fearing it, or denying it.

5. Concentrate your energies on discussing new and exciting ideas, rather than on office politics

Successful people like to engage with others around them to talk about ideas. This creates a much more positive and inclusive atmosphere in the pursuit of a common goal, rather than waste energy being drawn into the inevitable office politics.

6. Get goals and plan ahead, rather than leaving everything to chance

To become successful you need to know where you are going in life. Whether it’s compiling a daily goal list, annual strategic plan, 3 year forecast or a 10 year plan - all are useful tools of the mega-successful.

7. Give credit to others for their hardwork, rather than trying to take it all for yourself

Teamwork is key to success. When working with others, always acknowledge the great work they have done. Letting others have their own victories and moments to shine will motivate them to perform at a much higher standard. In the long term, this could earn you a great reputation as a manager of people.

8. The sharing of information and data, rather than keeping it all to yourself

In business and in life, sharing knowledge is the key to being successful. When you share your information and data with others, you can reveal insights and allow you to create a vision for your company to achieve greater successes. Keeping information to yourself is counter-productive and is only likely to achieve small short-term gains. It’s about being pro-active, rather than re-active.

So, what are you waiting for, get your vision and goals down on paper now!

Alan Rajah
Lawrence Grant, Chartered Accountants, London, United Kingdom
E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; W:






published: May 2014


Ggi Logo 150x109px

GGI Global Alliance AG

Sihlbruggstrasse 140
6340 Baar


T: +41 41 7252500
F: +41 41 7252501
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.