Four Things Successful Leaders Have in Common

While it’s true that leaders are not born they are made, it is also true that successful leaders all have some things in common. Talk with any successful leader and you will find these four essential leadership skills they all have in common.

Teachable: In order for you to succeed as a leader you must be teachable. Contrary to what some may project and others expect, a leader does not know it all or have all the answers. As a leader, you must understand that those you lead, as individuals and as a body, have something to teach you. When feedback is offered, listen to those who are trying to help you be better at what you do.

Teachable leaders are always reading and attending seminars and workshops to broaden their knowledge on how to lead more effectively.

A leader who is teachable also will have at least one mentor to help in developing leadership skills.

A Good Listener: Good leaders are good listeners. Think of the people you enjoy being around, of those whose opinion you value, and you likely to discover that one of the main reasons you value their opinion is because they seem to listen to you. As a result, you feel they understand you.

Good listening also is what makes those you lead feel understood and cared for. One of the surest ways of making someone feel ignored is to not listen to them.

I recall working for a leader who invited me to a weekly one-on-one meeting but did not allow me to say much. Whenever I did say something, I felt he was more concerned about comparing a similar experience of his own rather than truly hearing me.

I have learned that when people feel heard, they will speak. When people feel ignored, they will not speak.

Forgiveness: Forgiveness is essential to the survival and success of a leader. Being “at the top” makes you a more visible target; as a result, people will take shots at you. If you do not know how to forgive, let things go and continue moving toward the goals and objectives of your leadership responsibilities, you will become a prisoner of the hurts you experience in your leadership role.

Leaders who can’t forgive will become vindictive and obsessed with getting even; this rarely ends well for the leader or the organization. When a vindictive leader leaves, it usually takes the organization a long time to recover from the damage.

On the other hand, a forgiving leader usually builds a strong team which is able to function effectively. Often a forgiving leader knows it is not all about them, but the organization which is bigger than them.

Core Convictions: A successful leader must know the guiding principles by which they lead. Soldiers do not wait until they get into the battle to pick out their weapons; instead they carry their weapons with them. In the same way, leaders should not wait until they are in the battle of tough decision-making to consider whether something is right or wrong, fair or unjust. These core value issues should be settled before hand. I once heard someone say, when it comes to matters of core convictions, you should have said yes or no before you have to say yes or no. In other words, decide your position before you are asked to declare you position.

All successful leaders know they will not lead well if they lack any one of the four things mentioned above. How about you? Are you lacking in any of the above or can you say they are things you practice regularly in your leadership?

Since leaders are not born but made, if you lack any of the skills mentioned above, you certainly can learn to develop them within your leadership.

If you would like help in achieving your goals as a leader or in any area of your life, call us at 208-880-0307 or email us at to schedule a complimentary coaching session. To read Errol’s other posts, visit Christ-Centered Life Coaching.