9 Characteristics of All Great Leaders

StrategyDriven Management and Leadership Article |Characteristics of Great Leaders|9 Characteristics of All Great LeadersThe world is experiencing unprecedented times like we’ve never seen before. The global COVID pandemic is changing the way most of us live and work. Some companies have managed to make it through these times fairly untouched, while others have faced many great challenges and struggled significantly.

One of the defining reasons why some organizations are able to weather a storm is due to the leadership. Eight months ago, no one could have predicted what was coming, but great leaders are always prepared for anything. In addition, they are always ready to change direction and adapt to the times.

What else defines great leaders? In good times and bad times, the best leaders share many of the same characteristics. The best part is, whether you are in a leadership role or not, you can learn a lot from the best leaders and if put into practice, it can make you better in almost everything you do.

Here are nine things that all great leaders do.

Leaders don’t dwell on things

Great leaders are decisive. Even when put in a situation where they really are unsure, or in tough times like a pandemic, they consider the facts and are quick to make up their minds. They know the time lost debating and the emotional anguish they would be putting themselves through is just not worth it. They also know in many cases, if they make the wrong choice, they can always recover.

Leaders teach

Great leaders take the time to teach others. Bossy people bark orders telling others what to do. A great leader knows he or she is only as good as the people around him, so she takes the time to develop her team. A great leader believes in teaching because another leader helped him become so great. Great leaders believe passing on their knowledge to an eager student is one of the best ways to give back.

Leaders tell the truth

Great leaders are always honest. They don’t sugarcoat what needs to be said even if it’s not what someone wants to hear. Their job is to develop their teams and get the best results possible. They prefer for you not to be insulted, but they would rather hurt your feelings temporarily if it means you becoming better in the long run.

Leaders listen

All great leaders show their people the way, but they also know how to actively listen. They thoroughly trust their own instincts and judgement, but they know that it’s possible that others could have better ideas or solutions, or an easier way to do something. They are willing to listen to anyone who says they have an idea because they are always open to learning. Especially in difficult times like we are facing now, they know that listening to their team is critically important.

Leaders don’t micromanage

A great leader knows that at some point, he’s going to have to cut the student loose and let her find her own way. Bossy people micromanage the process forever and never let others learn from their mistakes. Real leaders know the only way to learn is from doing.

Leaders don’t care about taking credit

A great leader has one goal: to get the job done with the best results. He’s not in it for the accolades. When things don’t go according to plan, they are the first to take responsibility. They don’t mind a pat on the back once in a while, but it is definitely not a necessity. In the chaotic business climate that we are all working through right now, they know the goal is to succeed despite who gets the credit.

Leaders learn from their mistakes

At the heart of it, great leaders are nothing more than professional failures. They’ve failed time and again but instead of being defeated by their setbacks, they learn from their mistakes and comeback stronger than before until they succeed.

Leaders aim big

Great leaders aim way beyond their potential, even if deep down they know something is out of reach. Keeping their eye on the prize is the only way they are going to stay motivated and moving forward. Sometimes they get laughed at for their auspicious tone, but it doesn’t stop them in their pursuit of great things.

Leaders always want to get better

Even when he or she reaches the top, great leaders know there is always more to learn and better ways to do things. They are open to continually learning from other leaders. They read, attend seminars, go back to school, and they are open to any form of knowledge that will help them become even better. Even though right now they are more focused on getting through the pandemic successfully, they are still looking for ways to be at their best.

About the Author

StrategyDriven Expert Contributor | Angela CivitellaAngela Civitella is a business executive and leadership coach who is founder of Intinde (

What Now?

StrategyDriven Editorial Perspective Article |Pandemic|What Now?This seems to be the burning question on everyone’s mind and no one seems to have an answer. This year has been unlike any other in history. There is no precedent on how to come back from a world-wide pandemic. But we have to move forward.

Most companies are in survival mode, and they don’t have the luxury of a large bank account to save them. Every choice they make has huge repercussions. Talk about stressful. Unfortunately, this is the case for many businesses, mine included.

There are many thought leaders out there giving advice on what to do next. If I’m being honest, it’s been hard for me to trust what they are saying. Not because I think they are making stuff up, but because they aren’t experiencing the same thing I am. They run multi-million dollar corporations with a large bank account to get them from quarter to quarter. My companies, however, have to make smart decisions today in hopes of making it to the next quarter. There isn’t much room for error. This is a real fear and I know I am not alone in feeling this way.

Not only are we stuck in survival mode, but now my people have spent months at home working in isolation and isolation is dangerous. We belong in community, even with those we work with. Culture is critical to the success of a business, but it takes time and intentionality. In survival mode, time is a tough thing to sacrifice. I am constantly tempted to abandon culture and fight for survival. But I am choosing to hedge my bets on culture.

Roulette is a great example of the constant temptation we, as leaders, face every day. We put all our chips on black (culture). We act so confident that the people around us are bought in enough to place their bets black too. Then, at the last second, you push a couple of your chips over to red (survival). The people around you are frustrated and confused. Why did you abandon your bet at the last second? Because it felt safe. Fear forces you to make decisions that feel safe in the moment but aren’t in the long run.

Leaders need to be vulnerable with their people. They need to share their fears and concerns about the state of the company. They need to be able to depend on their people. You will be amazed at how your people show up for you when you give them a glimpse into your world. If you’re stuck in survival mode, how do you think that makes your people feel? They can feel your stress no matter how hard you try and hide it. You will have to do something tomorrow as a leader, so what will it be?

My advice: Get to know your people and let them get to know you. Talk about your worldviews—hopes, preferences, traditions, experiences, and beliefs. The diversity of your people is a great asset. People want to be understood for who they are, not just what they can do for you. When you tap into the intrinsic value of a person they will bring more to the table than you could have ever imagined. Make sure you can all agree to the purpose of your company, where you are going together. This is incredibly important, especially right now. You need people that can align their passions to the purpose so that they will take ownership of their role. Guiding Principles will be useful to you on the journey because it will help dictate how you will treat each other on the journey.

Lastly, make culture the boss. If you have done the hard work of getting to know your people and aligning to your purpose and guiding principles, then you are ready to let the culture dictate what you do next. The beauty of placing your bet on culture is that it will tell you how to move forward. It won’t force you to choose between your people and your tasks. It will help you use your people to accomplish your tasks. The choice will not be easy, but I am betting that it’s worth it.

About the Author

StrategyDriven Expert Contributor | Chris MeroffAuthor, speaker and entrepreneur, Chris Meroff, has made a career of testing new leadership ideas to see what works—and what doesn’t—in service-oriented leadership. What he has gleaned from his research has helped him build a fast-growing organization with a diverse and engaged workforce that understands the mission of his organization and their place in it. His business, Alignment Leadership Consulting, exists to teach leaders how they too can boldly pursue a workplace culture that prioritizes employee fulfillment. Learn more at

What Qualities Really Define A Business Leader Post Pandemic?

StrategyDriven Professional Development Article |Petrochemical Business|8 Steps to Becoming a Better Leader Within Your Petrochemical BusinessThe seismic effects of the global Covid-19 pandemic have impacted every single aspect of our lives, with the workplace and commerce in general changing unrecognisably in the space of just a few months. As workplaces transform and adapt in an effort to overcome the unique challenges they’re facing, so too do business leaders have to change and grow in order to remain effective. The pandemic has clearly shown us that leadership is much needed, and as the future continues to be uncertain, it will matter even more as we try to salvage an economic and social recovery. The right leadership has become a matter of life and death – quite literally in a lot of cases – and strong and intelligent leaders are now required to manage fractured supply chains, piece together industries and revive customer confidence. So, what are the key traits of successful leadership in a post pandemic world?


You may have never thought of empathy as a key trait of a successful leader. But really, the pandemic has been a collective trauma for everyone, so displaying an understanding of that is absolutely crucial. Empathy can be displayed towards your own staff and also to society in general, modelling yourself after leaders such as Joz Opdeweegh who have called for support in society to combat the worst effects of the pandemic. Implementing Employee Assistance Programs and making sure they’re functioning effectively is a must, as is providing genuine support and encouragement to staff. You may need to also review some of your HR policies, especially around areas such as sick leave, dependents leave and access to counselling. If you fear that you lack natural empathy, make sure to surround yourself with others on your organization that do – you need to avoid any responses that may be seen as tone deaf or insensitive, as you could really damage employee morale and loyalty at a critical time.


One of the things causing such distress for a lot of people is the lack of consistency that the pandemic has brought – rules changing overnight, conditions escalating rapidly. No one likes to live with continuing uncertainty, so it’s our role as leaders to provide consistency with our approach. Always base your decisions and communications on data. Making data-driven decisions removes emotion and bias from the equation and allows you to explain your decision making. Communicate clearly and frequently, even if there aren’t many new items to relay. This gives staff a sense of confidence and a knowledge that they can rely on your updates, and it doesn’t create a void for gossip and speculation to fill.


This ability definitely needs to become part of your professional development goals.
The ability to pivot is more vital than ever, as customer needs, supply changes and the economic landscape around us all shift rapidly. Responsiveness will begin to define those companies who are able to thrive and those which are devastated. Review new information and circumstances constantly in order to incorporate them into your decision making.

8 Steps to Becoming a Better Leader Within Your Petrochemical Business

StrategyDriven Professional Development Article |Petrochemical Business|8 Steps to Becoming a Better Leader Within Your Petrochemical BusinessWithin oil and petrochemical industries, innovative thinking and strategic planning are key. As a leader in such business, you need to constantly be adapting your way of working, as well as understanding how to inspire the best out of your company and its employees.

Step 1: Encourage Effective Communication

Not only do you need to ensure that you’re effectively communicating with your people, but you also need to make sure that you’re allowing for effective communication throughout the business.
As there are so many roles and branches within a petrochemical business, you need to make sure that all employees and departments can effectually share information.

Step 2: Be Positive

The petrochemical business can be a difficult industry to get into, as well as hitting hurdles. What matters most as a leader is to remain positive and be a source of motivation and inspiration if times get tough.

Step 3: Leadership is Ever Evolving

There’s never a time you should stop learning about being an effective leader. Be sure to keep track of your skills, and where your strengths and weaknesses lie. You can then work to constantly improve your skills and learn new habits to enhance your role.

Step 4: Streamline Your Processes

As an effective leader within this industry, you should be taking all necessary steps to make processes as easy, quick and productive as possible. Making sure that you embrace helpful software and technology, such as field service software for your operatives, shows your employees that you care about proper management systems and anything which can make their jobs a little easier.

Step 5: Recognize Hard Work

No matter whether it’s in-office, out on the field or any other role within your business, recognizing hard work is a must. Be sure to regularly speak with employees to ensure that they know everything they’re doing right, and rewarding hard work.

Step 6: Stay on Top of the Competition

As a business leader, you will need to constantly be aware of what the competition are doing, so that you can effectively communicate with your team how your business can gain a competitive advantage. Employees need to know that you best understand how to help your business succeed over the competition.

Step 7: Pay Attention to Feedback

Being a leader doesn’t mean that you know everything. Being open to feedback from employees, both regarding your own role and the processes of the business, always means that you stand to learn something and gain an outsider’s perspective.

Always be willing to take on board constructive feedback.

Step 8: Stay Organized

It’s hard to trust a leader who is disorganized, who forgets tasks, or whose physical environment is in disarray, such as a messy desk. You can inspire trust by being an organized and tidy leader in everything you do. You need to be a person whom others can depend on, so that begins with being able to organize yourself and your own schedule successfully.

How to Reach Your Full Potential as a Business Owner

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article |Business Owner|How to Reach Your Full Potential as a Business OwnerDo you want to look back on your career in 20-30 years time and feel like you did everything you could to be an amazing boss? If you’re serious about reaching your full potential as a business owner, be sure to put the advice laid out below into practice.

Pick up a number of crucial habits

World-class business owners don’t show up to the office every day and merely hope for the best. They work hard to pick up a number of habits, and they work even harder to exhibit them on a daily basis.

Here are a few habits you should pick up if you’re determined to reach your full potential in the world of business:

  • Ignore distractions
  • Focus on the tasks that have the highest payoff
  • Obsess about delivering value
  • Look after your health and wellbeing — you’ll find it easier to cope with those long days in the office if you do
  • Always be on the lookout for ways to fill the gaps in your market
  • Don’t sit behind your desk all day — leave the office, even if it is to meet with a business partner or to schmooze a client
  • Plan for the long-term
  • Never stop networking
  • Become a thrifty spender
  • Embrace new challenges, don’t cower away from them

Tend to your responsibilities

Going above and beyond to provide a high quality level of service is what will make you stand out from the crowd in your industry. Being a great business owner isn’t just about showcasing your abilities all the time, however. It’s also about tending to your responsibilities. They might not be glamorous, they might not make you any money, and they might not enhance your reputation in the eyes of your consumer base… but they’re a necessity!

No matter what industry you operate in, you will no doubt be inundated with a plethora of responsibilities each and every day. One of the biggest tasks that you face in this instance is keeping your employees safe from harm while they are at work. Nobody is going to want to work for you or even do business with you if you’re perceived to be a boss that doesn’t look after their workforce, which is why you must do right by your staff members in this sense.

Your employees face a whole host of dangers every time they step foot in your work environment, fire being one of the most hazardous. To ensure that you never shirk the responsibility of protecting your employees from the dangers of fire and smoke, it’s crucial that you perform a Fire Risk Assessment at least once a year.

Are you determined to scale the lofty heights of your industry? If you want to one day rub shoulders with the biggest names in your field, you’re going to have to go above and beyond each and every day to provide an optimized level of service. Put the above advice into practice, and you’ll be sure to reach your full potential as a business owner in no time.