What Makes a Great Leader? Influential CEOs Weigh In

Do you ever wonder what makes a great business executive? Why some CEOs achieve so much while others are seemingly doomed to mediocrity? Well, according to some very well-known executives, it all boils down to having strong leadership skills and principles.

There are certain principles all great leaders uphold and enforce in their quest for greatness.

They Gravitate Toward Strengths and Compensate for Their Weaknesses

“Focus on your business strengths and keep its weaknesses away from the competition or public” – Sir Richard Branson, business magnate, investor, and philanthropist

Top CEOs can put their egos aside and can see themselves clearly enough to leverage their strengths while rising above their weaknesses. They are not afraid to develop staggering capabilities to gain a competitive advantage and outthink their competition. They know that the essence of their life is to be, do, and to continually strive for excellence.

They Radiate Authenticity and Integrity

“The supreme quality of leadership is integrity.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower, 34th U.S. President

Great CEOs understand that authenticity is the alignment between their underlying character, their public statements, and the actions they take. To them, integrity is the consistency of their words and deeds, from one day to another and across different situations. They realize that they must be in touch with themselves, and they must be true to their internal character. If they are not, it will be immediately apparent to everyone around them.

They are Sound Decision Makers

“It’s not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are.” – Roy Disney, American entrepreneur

Some CEOs make very rapid leadership decisions while others take much longer to navigate a key crossroads. But many rely on gut instinct—on trusting themselves and not getting overly bogged down in analyzing the pros and cons of every possible contingency. This ability rests on strong self-knowledge and confidence based on making choices. This does not mean they pick the right option every time. Great leaders learn from their mistakes, resiliently overcome obstacles, and confidently pursue their goals.

They Cope with Insecurities and Use Them for Motivation

“Insecurity is an outstanding attribute in a CEO even when it is an unfortunate trait in most others. A little bit of insecurity goes a long way to push a company toward perfection, especially when that insecurity resides in the CEO.” – Martin Frid-Nielsen, CEO of telecommunications company Soonr

The top CEOs do not sail through work and life without doubts. Many share stories of early uncertainties; anxieties before big decisions were made. Leaders do have their periods of doubt and insecurity, but they get past them. They use their insecurities and limitations as extra motivation to spur them to action and inspire others around them.

These are just a few of the rituals that the best CEOs practice on their journey to self-discovery and transformation. To learn more about successful leadership traits and how to drive competitive focus, register for our free webinar, “Developing a Market Strategy.”

Author: Lauren McMurray, StratIQ Consulting
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