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4 Key Traits of Successful Small Business Leaders

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4 Key Traits of Successful Small Business Leaders

In today’s business world, more is being asked of business leaders than ever before. Businesses are asked to do more with less, to craft and maintain strong brands, and ultimately to deliver great products. The ability of a company to meet these needs is almost always predicated on strong leaders. Here are four key traits of successful small business leaders:



One of the most important traits that a small business leader can possess is the ability to connect with people effectively. This isn’t just limited to communicating with customers, it includes engaging with employees, other business leaders and members of the community. CEO’s tend to have a superb ability to get their message across to people in a way that empowers those around them.

Tanya Prive, contributor for Forbes magazine, describes how effective communication skills help executives to be more effective, “Being able to clearly and succinctly describe what you want done is extremely important.”. Prive says, “If you can’t relate your vision to your team, you won’t all be working towards the same goal”. If you are looking to be an effective leader of a small business, start by exercising and improving your interpersonal skills. It will pay dividends down the road.


While having charisma and a vision are great attributes for a leader to have, ultimately a leader will be judged by his or her ability to execute. As Samuel Bacharach, Professor of labor management at Cornell University and Director of Cornell’s Institute for Workplace Studies indicated, “As an entrepreneur, as a leader, as a person with drive and ambition, what you care about is moving from potential to execution and that means moving an agenda.”

Leaders must be able to set a plan and see it to completion. The biggest difference between great leaders and mediocre ones are their respective abilities to execute and get things done. Great leaders take pride in their ability to see things through and get things done. In a given day, there are several tasks that need to be completed with strict deadlines. Good leaders are very hands on and take great pains to make sure that these things are done well. They take great pride in the tiny details and hold team members accountable for driving results.


In any business, leaders are sure to be met with a fair share of setbacks and failures. While this may discourage most people, leaders are resilient and able to stick it out. They understand that success doesn’t come overnight and it doesn’t simply just happen. It is the result of a tremendous amount of hard work, dedication and yes, overcoming setbacks. It is this attitude that business leaders bring to each problem that they encounter day in and day out. Understanding that success may be just on the other side of a great obstacle is integral to getting past the inevitable adversity that you will see in the business world.


This trait may be the most important because without it, the other characteristics simply aren’t as effective. In a fast-paced world that seems to reward speed, it is difficult to stay patient. There is always the temptation to jump the gun and rush the process. Resist this temptation. Understand that success doesn’t come to you when you want it to happen, but when it is ready to happen. I understand how difficult waiting for your next big break can be. But, the wait will make it all the more amazing once it happens. Stick it out and wait for your time to shine.

Article written by John Okoye - John has spent many years writing content for magazines, publications and clients in both the financial and technology industries.

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