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Have you ever wondered what traits make a top business leader? Of course, there are obvious ones like intelligence, strategy, and an ability to execute. But there are also other, more intangible qualities that the best leaders possess. 

Leadership is needed more than ever in today’s world and business environment. People are afraid to take the lead because they don’t know how or are hesitant to do so. Companies around the world are facing a leadership crisis, according to the new quarterly report of the Global Leadership Forecast. Only 11% of surveyed organizations reported they have a “strong” or “very strong” leadership bench, the lowest it has been rated in the past 10 years. (Source: Forbes)

So how do you know if you have what it takes? Most leaders I’ve worked with over the years demonstrate the below five traits. Do you recognize any of these in you? 


In today’s ever-changing business landscape, it’s more important than ever for leaders to adapt on the fly. The best leaders can quickly assess a situation and develop a new plan when necessary. However, they’re also not afraid to let go of old methods no longer working. 

Action Item: Get a visual of your most important business measures and metrics to add context to trends with a digital dashboard. This will prvoide better adaptability and decison making.

Clear Communication 

Being a good communicator is essential for any leader. After all, how can you get your team on board with your vision if you can’t articulate it clearly? The best leaders can communicate complex ideas in a way that everyone can understand. They’re also great listeners who are open to hearing different points of view. They have the right frameworks and know how to utilize story to engage their employees, stakeholders and contractors. 

Action Item: Use a proven framework to communicate your next business initiative, product launch, or corporate speech.  


A good leader is someone who is not afraid to make tough decisions. When the going gets tough, they don’t hesitate to take action. They know indecision can be just as dangerous as making the wrong decision.

Action Item: Use this formula and decide not to be confused. 

The unfortunate truth about the situation is_______ therefore, the right action to take is_____.


Emotional Intelligence 

Top leaders know that they need to keep their emotions in check if they want to be effective. As a result, they’re able to put aside personal biases and make decisions based on what’s best for the company. They’re also adept at reading other people’s emotions and using that knowledge to manage them effectively.

Action Item: Assess yourself and your team with DISC, Myers Briggs, or Enneagram. The more you know about what makes you tick and those who you work with the more effective your team will be. 


The best leaders are those who are always looking for solutions. They don’t give up or point fingers when confronted with a problem. Instead, they roll up their sleeves and work tirelessly until they find a way to fix it. Only then do they move on to the next challenge. 

Action Item: Create a personal productivity plan that keeps you on track and moving towards your mission when obstacles come up. 

These are just a few qualities that top business leaders need to succeed. Of course, there are many others as well. But if you have these five qualities, you’re well on becoming a top leader in your field. If you’re looking for help to develop these traits and get the frameworks necessary to move your business forward, consider a business coach

Business Assessment

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Take this 10-minute test to pinpoint the areas of your business you need to work on:

  • Leadership
  • Personal Productivity
  • Messaging
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  • Communication
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  • Sales
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  • Management
Josh Claflin

As a trusted branding and marketing professional for over 25 years, I’ve seen first hand the struggles and avoidable mistakes entrepreneurs, startups and business owners make, which is why ClearStory coaches you on proven brand and marketing frameworks that will help you achieve clarity, build your brand and drive growth.

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