What are the top 3 traits of a gifted leader?

  • Leadership
Answering as:
Gaurav Biyani
MBDH Wellness

1. Great communication skills.
2. Ability to negotiate.
3. Power to motivate people.

Jason Chapman
Managing Director
Willis Owen
  1. Listen, and then be honest. Treat everyone with respect
  2. Do not be afraid to ask. Many problems can be solved by asking the right questions, most around you will be pleased you asked.
  3. Surround yourself with talented, brighter people than you. Don’t be afraid of others success, embrace it, nurture it… it will take you forward too.
Toby Hammond
Managing Director

In my experience empathy and tenacity are really important. But probably the most important thing is the ability to set a goal, hire people better than you, and get the hell out of their way in delivering it.

Robert Gelb

The best leaders I know see it as their mission to make those they lead a success. Compassion, Clarity, and Grace are my picks for the top 3 traits. Compassion is important for understanding that we’re all human, and to keep in mind we all have our own weight that we’re dealing with. Clarity is crucial for understanding drive, the why and mission at hand. Grace is more than simply courteous behaviour, it’s the way in which you show up to the world and events around you. It’s about not wasting time with things you can’t control, and choose progress over dwelling in what could have been.

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Rebecca Fitzgerald

1. Surround yourself with people who know more about the work than you do. Keeps you learning.
2. Bring on the best people and then… get out of their way! Don’t micro manage.
3. Understand that people have their own lives – set up your business to support a worklife balance, support for mental health and provide an inclusive culture.

Crispian Jones
Managing Director
Green Marine Solutions

Its difficult to narrow down the 3 top traits of a gifted leader as for most (fortunately) these gifts come naturally, the old saying ‘ You were born to lead’ isn’t far from the truth. However, for those wanting to push and strive for that position in life, the most important is; One, Surround yourself with the right people. This is a key factor in any successful business. Two, look after those people, create a working culture where those people can grow, give them the room, encouragement, constructive criticism and the tools to do so, and then watch them go. And 3, enjoy it, when you don’t, there’s always something else in life that you will.

Tom Fyans
Deputy CEO

Open – casts the net widely for input, especially from lesser heard voices and marginalised stakeholders. Avoids groupthink, and not afraid to know what they don’t know yet.
Decisive – assessors all input and views, probes further, asks for clarity and rationale from others where needed, but then makes clear decision and communicates it to everybody, again and again
Reflective – takes time to learn, measures performance but also process, the how as well as what, and how culture is impacting on performance.

John Abulafia
Craft Of Communication

1. Listening.
2. Negative Capability, a marvellous idea of the poet John Keats who defined it as: “The ability to remain in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts without irritable reaching after fact and reason.”
3. When you know what to do, be proactive.

Tom Beasley
Active Gloucestershire

Organisations need different leaders at different times so be prepared to adapt and change, you never stop learning so embrace this as an opportunity to improve.

Don’t be scared to try something and get it wrong or fail. Some of the best learning comes from projects that haven’t gone to plan. Look for the opportunities as a result.

Surround yourself with people that are different, hold different opinions or life-experiences to you and value the skills, experience and opinions that they bring.

Cathy Gilman
Starlight Children's Foundation

1.The last 18 months more than anything else has reaffirmed the importance of positivity in leadership. A belief in people and their strengths and a solution focused approach have been so important, bringing some certainty as well as positivity at a time when neither have been especially prevalent.
2.Communication, but both giving and receiving, you’re never too important to take time to listen, learn and understand but also to deliver clear, relevant, inspirational communications.
3. Self awareness, taking time to understand how your own behaviours impact others and how both the positive and the negative can be seen as permission to behave in a particular way. Pause to think and make good behavioural choices.

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Ross Frenett
Founder & CEO

Kindness, kindness and kindness!

Leadership is about attracting people smarter than you, motivating them and pointing them in the right direction. That’s it, nothing more.

Kindness is the one indispensable trait that allows you to achieve this, without it you won’t understand your people, they won’t follow and trust you and ultimately you’ll fail, no matter how talented you are or how good your ideas are.

Roo Rogers
Founders Factory Africa

Businesses thrive when at the intersection between “leadership” and “empathy.” These two traits are often oppositional. Leaders don’t listen because they perceive themselves as exceptional. Empaths avoid leadership because they don’t want the focus and accountability. When you find people who can deliver with confidence while maintaining a collaborative and growth mindset hold onto them tight.

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Richard Martin
London Marine

Cgt with Entrepreneur’s relief is one of the very few remaining lowish tax breaks in the uk. Do build something up and sell it

Don’t get paid too much yourself. The more you are paid, the more vulnerable you are

Be nice to everyone. When you are on the way down it is possible that you will be applying for a job from that fresh faced graduate you met earlier

Don’t knock your competition. It looks bad

Don’t let people walk off with your designs and copy them

Fixed price bidding is dangerous

Choose a good wife or husband who will comment intelligently and give a different view, often seeing it from the other guy’s side

No-one ever said on their deathbed or wrote on their tombstone, that they didn’t work hard enough or long enough

Choose a job you can still do when you get older. Some jobs are for the young only

Don’t forget to give time to have children , if possible. Without them you will have no grandchildren

Love your job. If you tend vines with bitterness you will get bitter wine

Benn Achilleas
Founder & CEO
Sport BUFF

1. Create a micro-diary of moments. it doesnt matter if it is slack, whatsapp, anything. just keep a note each day of the big and small wins. things move fast and it’s easy to forget. You need them to look back on and remember. Take time to do that each week/ or even month.

2. Listen: to your team, your instincts, your clients, your market, your data, your partners… Then act. you are the leader for a reason. The decisions are on you. take them! but take them as informed as possible.

3. Lead something you absolutely believe in and want to see as the most successful enterprise ever! you are spending your time, energy, losing time with loved ones, at least make these sacrifices for something that makes you genuinely happy and drives you.

Brian Berry
Chief Executive

Here are my top three traits of a gifted leader:
First, the need to have a clear vision about what you want to achieve and deliver. No one is going to follow if they don’t know where you’re going !
Secondly, the need to be a good communicator because people need to know in their own words what you’re seeking to achieve and how they can get involved.
Thirdly, kindness. Listen and treat people well and you’ll reap the rewards.

Himesh Patel
Founder & CEO
Norbu Group

We often hear about an individual being gifted. What does that really mean ? Yes some individuals have talent, and we interpret them at times as gifts. However, a true “gifted” leader is an individual that knows how to see problem solving in unique ways, so my first trait would be that one must think outside the box. Second trait would be listen more speak less and manage time wisely and lastly, keep communication simple and to the point so that anyone can understand what you are trying to communicate. Experience has taught me that business leaders of the future must focus on basics and the most important is communication. The onslaught of social media really puts leaders at odds as to how they should manage time, what they should say… I say listen more speak less.

Cathy Brown

Being able to tell the story of the organisation in a human way (not a corporate strategy or a talking head video) – the messy, emotional, passionate story of how the company got to where it is and where it’s going to go.

Treating people as individual human beings, not human resources or lines on a spreadsheet. Trusting them, valuing them, listening to them, working with them (not them working for you – you are all working together).

Admitting to mistakes. We all make them. We all get things wrong. The ability to take responsibility, apologise, learn and move forward is a key one for anyone in a leadership position.

Phil Drinkwater
Phil Drinkwater Business Coaching

Leadership is a collection of traits that ensure that employees feel comfortable and confident with the direction they’re heading in, resulting in a boost in morale and productivity.

The top 3 traits I would always look for would be clarity and confidence in the future vision, being totally accountable (and blameless!), and finally being an effective communicator. The latter is often ignored, yet poor communicators typically make terrible leaders because their vision is confused and disjointed.

Matthew Moore
Managing Director
CV Library

1) Humility. Always remember where you started and the journey you’ve been on so far.

2) Listen. To staff, to your customers, and to the advisors you have around you. Nobody knows everything, and you are no exception.

3) Be clear on what you want to achieve. Always give it clarity and also remember that it can and will change.

Jason Holloway
Managing Director

A gifted leader is often an insightful, driven and astute leader.

A gifted leader develops and communicates an initial, insightful vision that s/he can rally the troops round. It needs to be easy to communicate yet powerful enough to bring both the team and customers onboard with.

A gifted leader perseveres through thick and thin. Their drive and determination are required to overcome the many obstacles that naturally arise during the execution of the chosen vision and strategy.

A gifted leader is also aware of changing markets and circumstances, and is prepared to tweak – or even completely reset – the initial vision and strategy in order to keep it relevant. Determination and flexibility are strange bedfellows but necessary traits to balance to achieve success.

Dan Simmons

A gifted leader must have a keen awareness of the world. This means having the humility to listen to others without judgement and adapt their business to meet the ever changing needs of the market.

Mike Gardener
Founder & Managing Director
The Office Providers

I’m not sure if these are traits, as such, however, I would say that the ability to empathise with team members is important – whilst you may have the same mission or goal, every team member is in a unique position and has their own story.

You must have the willingness to roll up your own sleeves – it is important for team members to know that you have done, can do or will do difficult tasks yourself.

Modelling great leaders is important, too, and not just the famous leaders, but ones from your own life – ex-bosses, teachers, parents, sports coaches and any others.

Peter White
Founder & CEO
Rethink Research

1) Humility
2) Loyalty – to customers, employees and shareholders, in that order
3) A mind open to new ideas – your business will change, so must you

Donna Chadwick
Business Owner
Your Space

In my opinion I think it is crucial that a leader is versatile and holistic with their approach, ensuring that each individual is heard and feels valued.
I believe that leaders should lead by example, understanding potential challenges that may arise from what they are asking someone else to do and never ask anything that they would not be prepared to do themselves.
Most importantly always celebrate success with your team! even if the wins are small it is important to celebrate

Steve Ackland

Good leadership is a multifaceted discipline. From my own experience, a good leader is like being a good parent. Your team is your family – growing, developing, testing boundaries.

Firstly, as a leader you are there to provide clear direction, support and standards.

Secondly, leadership is about encouraging your team to do the best they can, celebrating success and supporting failures (also important to personal development).

Thirdly, a good leader listens to their team, must be accessible and open minded to their opinions.

A good leader like a good parent then is the anchor of the team, respected and completely reliable.

Mario Diel
IKAR Industries

From my perspective the top 3 traits of a gifted leader are:

1. You have to be always 100% confident about the mission and vision of your company and that means in yourself! If you don’t believe 100% in it you will be never achieving your goals!

2. Try to take us much as possible of smart, experienced and knowledgeable people around you! To have sparring partners on highest intellectual level who are challenging you and your ideas and decisions are utmost important for your success. Even if you think you are the smartest guy in the world don’t be selfish and be open for serious and constructive advise

3. I am a strong believer in structure. Even from day one of your entrepreneurial journey you gave to think about the potential structure from the perspective of how the company would look like in 5-10 years. Most start up founders make the mistake to being forced by the euphoric feeling of having a great idea and then rest will develop by time. If you don’t lay out the grounds from the beginning it will be very difficult to correct or align them at a later stage. At least it would be expensive and can even cost a partnership

Christine A. Mackay
Founder & CEO

The three top traits of a gifted leader in my view would be Courage, Vision and Gratitude.
COURAGE to take calculated risks, to remain composed during tough times, to show confidence and to accept full responsibility.
VISION to build a plan around a creative strategy for your business, with milestones and goals to get there and to successfully keep communicating this to your team, customers and suppliers.
GRATITUDE because starting everyday being grateful sets you up to succeed and inspire others. It allows opportunities to open up to you and keeps a vital positive optimism for your business. Then just add some humour and humility!

Michael Pay

Integrity – many believe that to get to the top in business you need to be ruthless, whilst this may have some truth, it should never be at the cost of your integrity. If you agree to something make sure you deliver it – in business your word should be your bond.

Communication – a strong communicator will inspire, invigorate and excite stakeholders to achieve more than the combination of those individuals.

Decisiveness – too many times great potential fails due to indecisiveness and the failure of leaders to act. Conversely, average potential can succeed and prosper, because the leader took action.

Rob Hilton
Co-founder & CEO

Be Open & Trusting
be Bold & Courageous but Vulnerable at the same time

Tony Hughes
4Th Utility

My view on the key top 3 traits of a gifted leader are:

Encourage and develop your team.
Finding time to think
Make time for fun

Gavin Drake
Owner & CEO
Garment Printing

Dreaming – Vision
Guts Confidence Positive Energy
Hard working

Simon Bailie
Digital DNA

Humility to trust individuals to do the right thing, not abuse autonomy and always be working towards making the company better.
Inspire individuals to be better than they are, moving them beyond their comfort zone to contribute to something that is bigger than themselves.
Challenge individuals to look at how they can do things better, not accepting the status quo and finding opportunities when faced with challenges.

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Candace Miller
SFJ Awards

From all my encounters with leaders, in various roles and across a range of sectors, the three traits that stand out most strongly to me as distinguishing the gifted from the merely good are authenticity, generosity and approachability.

Acting with authenticity means that people trust you, and if they trust you, they are more likely to commit to and follow your lead. Showing generosity encourages a learning culture where individual and corporate development can flourish, whilst approachability creates an environment in which ideas will be freely shared and issues can be identified and mitigated before they become a problem.

James Kay
Farnell Clarke

1) Make time for staff of all levels, even if its just to know their name and say hello 2) Encourage your team to offer their thoughts and ideas, and listen to them 3) Give clear direction and offer support to get there

Farah Asemi
Founder & CEO
SMS Ecofleet

· The world is constantly evolving, and you need the agility to pivot ahead of the curve.

· Learn as much as you can about your competition in designing your product/service value proposition.

· The devil is always in the details; being only a big picture person does not work.

· Hire the best people for the job; mediocre colleagues will slow down your progress and demoralise your star performers while alienating your clients.

· You live or die by your reputation: one bad Google review is more harmful than 100 positive reviews.

· Social media is not always the best way to promote yourself.

Trent Peek
Trusted PPE

1. Trusting: People will automatically look up to people who offer valuable, trust driven relationships. Without trust, people will be lead by fear.

2. Positive: Leaders need to be able to identify opportunities rather than problems. Every problem does present some kind of opportunity. One of my favourite phrases is: “Behind every success is 100 failures.”

3. A visionary: A leader needs to have an infinite mindset to understand what the bigger goal of any situation. Every business needs to have a bigger purpose than itself. ‘Business’ can’t be completed with a certain amount of profit or products sold.

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George Bellwood
Co-founder & CEO
Virtus Tech

Vision – By having a clear vision on your product/ services allows you to articulate that vision to your team and rally everyone towards a common goal.

Patience – Having patience can be most difficult thing as a leader, whether that is waiting for you business to take off or to your very first contract. Having patience helps leaders to keep organised and mentally healthy.

Confidence – As a leader you must be confident to try things out and that the decisions you make are the right ones. This will give your team a sense of stability in your judgement and that they trust the work they are set out to achieve

Adam Sheldon
Elevation Digital

Vision – A leader executes Mission. One does not follow a person, they believe in the cause, and the capacity that the leader is best able to achieve the intended outcome.
Passion – Commanding others to achieve greatness is difficult. Leader embodies cause, they radiate energy to invigorate their team. “One can achieve anything, but much more together.” Passion extends to each member of company, empathy and consideration is essential to morale.
Fortitude – The journey is perilous. To lead is to act courageously, setting the example to follow: inspiring confidence and certainty.

Iqbal Vaza
The Education Space

Being authentic
Having self-belief
Being confident in what you do

Scott Weir
Pillow Property Partners

Coachable – the ability to take feedback. From both inside and outside the organisation,

Resilience – your team needs to see you as the person that can handle anything.

Self-belief – it is hard to inspire others when you don’t believe in yourself, or the business you are leading.

Nick Andrews

I would be reluctant to qualify the 3 traits required to become a gifted leader because everyone is different in their own approach and their chosen industry. One example of this was Winston Churchill who was regarded as a great leader during the 2nd World war, however he was usurped in the next general election by Attlee in 1945. Quite simply everyone can achieve their goal as a great leader. Basic examples might include ‘approachable’ ‘being a good listener’ and someone who has the support of a good management team as 2 or 3 heads are better than one.
I’ve seen some terrible management decisions throughout my career which have cost the company financially, so its also a question of not making the same mistakes twice.

Mary Bonsor
CEO & Co-founder

My 3 top traits are:
– Understand what your employees life goals are and help them achieve them.
– Show vulnerability yourself
– Ask the team to give you feedback too

David Allison
Founder & CEO

Never forget where you have come from,. We are all made the same but occasionally think and adapt differently to challenging situations that define, make or break us.
Treat people as you would like to be treated is something I learnt a very long time ago and it doesn’t matter how high you think you have climbed up the ladder, you can always slip and fall.

Never judge a book by its cover and give people the tools to grow.

Lastly,. Never lose sight of your goals and never give up.

Gavin Johnson
Founder & CEO

First one must put aside the trite idioms of leadership courses and the plethora of books on the topic. What makes a gifted leader is a complex question and is not as easily defined, determined, or deduced from analysis as such courses/books may have you believe. Leaders are rarely born, but created through experience, practice, and (often) simply being able to be human. From my experience gifted leaders exhibit an array of traits forged in the fires of their profession, area of expertise, or their passion.

One may think about, say, Steve Jobs. Brilliant, undoubtedly, a keen eye for design, details, in tune with or able to see what people may actually want or need, before they knew it. Yet those who knew him have said he was a nightmare to work with, difficult, demanding. Similar accusations, positive and negative, may be leveled at Elon Musk. But you cannot deny their success in, as Steve would say, “making a dent in the universe”.

In contrast, one may think about, political leaders (perhaps more historic than the present) and see the calm determination, obstinacy, resilience, a refusal to give up because they have belief in what they are doing.

To my mind, leaders and leadership are many different things, the right person, in the right place, at the right time, with the right skills. If forced to boil that to a top three, I would say:

1. timing – a gifted leader knows when to do and, perhaps more importantly, when not to do.
2. present – in thinking and knowledge, in awareness, in tune with their world, business, market, and people.
3. passionate (or focused or inspirational) – passion, drive, focus, are all ‘contagious’ and inspirational in those around you.

A gifted leader is all these things and more. Much may also be said about the team that surrounds the leader, but I’ve gone on too much already so I’ll leave that for another time.

Peter Davies
Founder & CEO

1. Never be afraid to fail, get up and try again. Failure is the path to perfection.
2. Always lead by example. No one person makes a business, therefore employ the brightest minds, and guide them to fulfil their potential.
3. The old cliché. Work hard, play hard. I believe this can be defined in so many ways, but the Play Hard bit can represent; Relaxation/R&R and should be with family and friends.

Greg Gormley
Founder & CEO

Always lead by example, never ask anyone to do a task that you are not prepared to do yourself.

Empower all those around you, to the point where you should be invisible

Black swans will visit all of our doors one day and when they do, dust yourself down, learn and get up again fighting

Bahman Rahimi
Chief Executive
BDR Group

As you get older and wiser, you must remember your wisdom is associated with older days and older ways, make sure you update and modernize your wisdom periodically.

Adopting technology is a necessity and a must to keep your business ahead; don’t view it as a chore, inconvenience, headache or a cost.

if you ignore the above two then you will be an old person set in your ways and less relevant and consequently ignored more and more.

Sarah Buxton
Founder & CEO
Bloom Behaviours

Bravery – sure this can take the form of ‘just do it’ but for me it is also about being brave enough to say ‘no’. Brave enough to stop, reflect and change your mind. Brave enough to park the stuff you cannot fix. Brave enough to protect and put first those around you, so that they can feel secure in their role and in their work.

Humility – never stop learning, never stop listening, never stop asking. Never think you are better and accept you will never be perfect. Build trust with authenticity – never be scared to admit you were wrong. Sometimes it’s as important to acknowledge an error, as it is to rectify it.

Perseverance – I hate to fail, I have done it, a lot, and it sucks. Sometimes it hurts your pride, sometimes it hurts your lifestyle – sometimes it hurts others. It’s not about believing you will succeed, instead it’s about believing in the mission enough never to give up on it. When it goes wrong (and it will) dust yourself off, look up, catch your breath – then keep moving.

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Jon Tait
Deputy CEO
Areté Learning Trust

Here are some of my favourite quotes on leadership:

* Leadership is about taking people to places they could never reach on their own.
* Leadership is not about being in charge, it is about taking care of the people in your charge.
* Leadership is not about the crown you wear, but the person you are.
* Leaders are like tea bags, you never know how strong they are until they’re in hot water.

Dominic Bonaker
Founder & CEO

1. The will to win – If you don’t have that drive and desire to win, when things get difficult you will just quit.
2. Patience – You will not be an overnight billionaire, it’s not how it works. take time, perfect your craft and the results will come.
3. Leading by example – This is the only way you will get people on your side. Show them that you will do what needs to be done to succeed and they will follow.

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Susan Mcghee

Asked to share my top three traits of a gifted leader, all in just 100 words, yikes!

Be Bold; Aim high and don’t be afraid to fail, learn from mistakes and share the learning. Keep moving towards your goal.

Be Humble; Know that you cannot do this alone, recognise your people and never grab the glory. Your frontline operatives may know the answer to a challenge before you even know the challenge exists.

Be You; Be authentic, show your true colours and never compromise to fit other people’s expectations of you. Know you, be you, do you…and do it well!

Cary Curtis
Founder & CEO
Give A Grad A Go

1) Surround yourself with people who care about the business, and what it does, as much as you do. If your people aren’t passionate about what they do they won’t care about how good a job they’re doing. You need a high performance culture if you want your business to succeed. Look at any successful team, there’s a common goal, an understanding of what everyone is contributing. They succeed and fail together.

2) Treat your people how you’d want to be treated yourself. Having people coming to work with you and for the business, is one of the most humbling experiences of running your own company. Their faith is not just in what the business does but it’s also in you and the Leadership team. Repay their faith with a great place to work, exciting career prospects, investment in their future. Don’t expect loyalty, earn it.

3) Know when to give yourself a pat on the back and also when to give yourself a kick. Both are equally important but try not to be too hard on yourself. Lots of things you’ll try will not go as planned, keep putting yourself out there and remember to take some credit when things do go well. Try to enjoy the ride and remember to take some breaks.

Tom Hamlett
Godiva Bearings

Be accessible to everyone – suppliers, customers but above all staff, after all what they have to say is extremely important, maybe not always to you but definitely to them. Giving them “air time” is great and leads to, in most cases, thoughtful and constructive discussion. – That’s where a lot of great ideas come from. the other is to always be courteous and have good manners – not just in business but in general. It’s a lot easier to do business with people who are this way inclined. They can still drive a hard bargain but the process will be more enjoyable!

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Ian Finch
Managing Director

Can articulate a vision so that everyone who follows can understand and see their part in it.

Is relentlessly consistent and authentic and people know they’re safe with this leader. This leader can be trusted.

Sets other people up for success. Supporting them to be the best version of themselves.

Glyn Johnson
Managing Director

Delegation is absolutely key to successful leadership. Your skills and time are best used to oversee, to steer and to nurture, not to get caught up in the minutiae of every role, function or process. A jack of all trades is master of none; so concentrate on the job in hard, which is to lead. Great leadership also comes from cultivating a positive workplace environment. A happy team is a committed team, contented colleagues work to the best of their ability and have pride in the difference they make every day. Finally, a great leader never loses sight of where they came from. Be thankful for your success but don’t take it for granted, stay focussed on your goals.

Richard Robertson
Managing Director
Clarus Motorpark

1. Vision! All business leaders have a vision of where they would like to see their company. The same can be said for their employees. Getting the buy in of the people who will make your vision come true and giving them opportunities to be a part of it will only improve your chances of success.
2. Use your ears and mouth in the ratio that they were provided. That is, listen twice as much as you talk. Sounds basic, but solutions can come quickly if you truly listen to all invested parties.
3. Be Social. Getting everyone involved in social activities, importantly create a social atmosphere where people come because they want to, rather than have to. The facts are this costs money. The business does need to foot the bill at times, but the increase in efficiency and reduction in staff turnover more that mitigates this!

Angela Carney
Joint Owner
Carney Consultancy

My 3 top traits -be accountable, kind and genuine. Any Leader of a successful business will invariably be focussed & driven. However, every successful leader also needs a successful team and to attract and keep a positive, happy and productive team, you need to be accountable, kind and genuine. This will create a team who want to work, learn from and support you and the business. I’ve learnt so much from my mistakes I own them with pride. People buy from people, if you’re not kind why will anyone want to deal with you. Being genuine, speaks for itself.

Paul Hargreaves
Cotswold Fayre

In my newly published book, The Fourth Bottom Line, I go through 50 characteristics of good leaders, so difficult to choose three, but here goes:

1) Self-awareness. If more leaders were more aware of their strengths and weaknesses and had greater awareness of how they came across to others, we would all be better for it!

2) Interdependent. The Covid pandemic has made us all realise just how interconnected we all are. Leaders who know their interdependence with humanity and the planet will be the leaders of the future.

3) Servant-like. Great leaders serve their people and know that as a privilege. The days of command-and-control leadership are gone.

Charlie Sharman
Managing Director

Be as mentally flexible as a self-levitating Yogi.
Give ideas room to breathe and space to grow.
Never form an opinion without verifiable evidence.

Mustansar Iqbal
Auto Coin

First and most importantly, “BELIEF”, you may say you believe in your idea, in your business, but how strong is it? You need to be fully committed, without full devotion and belief others will see cracks. Show confidence in yourself and your ideas.
Secondly, “EDUCATE”, by this I mean educate both yourself and others. If you want to be a great leader, not just a good one, you need to understand that you may not always be the smartest person in the room, but you can try to be. Continue to learn and educate yourself throughout your life. Educating others and imparting your wisdom is an important part of leadership. If you want to grow then help others grow around you and they will do the same in return.
Finally, build the right “TEAM”, a leader is only as good as the team they lead. It’s important to surround yourself with people who share the same passion, energy, and most importantly vision.

Ron Lento
Green Oak

1. A good gifted leader never say never! The world has changed so much in the past two years for both the good and bad. Who is to say what is good or bad anymore, as it flips either way daily. 2. A gifted leader believes people have something to learn every single day. My Father once said to me “If you think you know everything, dig a hole, jump in and wait for death as you have nothing more learn or to live for.” I agree fully with this thought. 3. A gifted Leader has good hearing. To many of us spend our life talking at people without listening to what others have to say, it’s an art to listen, try it sometime and see what you’re missing!
3. A gifted leader lives and loves life and other in it. Live your life like its your last precious day and you will find that you see things differently..

Harry Cowan
Power & Water

For me, a key aspect of gifted leadership is embodied in a definition I heard many years ago:
“Wisdom – the appropriate application of Knowledge!”
To be a great leader you have to find a way of being engaged and involved in the business, communicate clearly, manage conflict BUT don’t try to instruct every team member on how to do their job!

Vipul Patel

Mental Strength and Resilience:
I can safely say it’s never a straight road running a business and so much can go wrong and does. Having the Mental Strength to come through challenging times and show true grit, dig dip, stay calm and focused during stressful times is so important and skill you cannot buy or teach. It will either break you or make you!

Communicate and Listen:
You must have excellent Communication skills a trait I learnt working in my fathers shops, having the confidence to express yourself, build a relationship and connection with your clients is vital to the success of your business.

All of the above can only be achieved if you Listen to your clients, give them a voice. Its amazing what you will learn and what can be achieved purely by listening.

Be yourself:
Don’t try to be someone you are not, you will be found out very quickly. No one is perfect at their job and its ok to say you don’t know, we all make mistakes but make sure you learn very quickly from them.

Kind Regards

Matt Flint
Yogurt Top Marketing

Leading a team or brand/business forwards is challenging and there’s no rule book that has all the answers.

However, my experiences to date, have taught me that to be a gifted leader, you need to lead by example with honesty and integrity. You have to be dynamic with your decision making and allow others to take control; micro-management is something that most leaders battle with and is one of the biggest barriers to growth. Invest in a great team and trust them to help drive the business forward.

Phil Lynagh
World Wheel

Make decisions swiftly. You can never have all the information you may want to mitigate all the risks involved, but that’s why you are relied upon by stakeholders to make the best decision with the information you have at the time. If the decision turns out to be questionable, you can act swiftly and remedy the situation. Remember, if you learn from your failures you’re successful.

Your intellectual property is your product. No matter how attractive a proposition may appear, if anyone is asking for proposals, e.g. creative input, strategic insights, etc., without offering payment in return, then they don’t value your product. It’s that simple. Make sure to get paid for what you and your company produce.

Lead by example and get your hands dirty. Know the business you’re in the best you can and get involved when you can. This will generate tremendous goodwill and respect from your colleagues and the stakeholders of the company you lead and will ultimately build confidence in your leadership.

Paul Harrison
Not Just Travel

Lead by example – inspire people with your actions not just your words… don’t just tell people what to do but show them how and why.
Focus – Stay focused on the task at hand until complete. real leaders do not get distracted or do half a job.
Trust – for people to follow there must be trust… to influence others, they must have trust in you.

Brett Jacobson

1. Value your people – understand that you’re there to serve them and help them progress, not the reverse.

2. Surround yourself with people who are better than you – but appreciate the role you have in ‘joining the dots’

3. Set (and protect…) the culture – happy people = great work = great results.


Abdurahman Ibrahim
Managing Director
Kwayse Marketing

1. Integrity

Simply put, integrity is the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles. Integrity is vital for the employee and origination. It is especially important for those in a leadership role, as they will need to lead by example for others to follow suit.

2. Communication

You’ll need to communicate in a variety of different ways, from delivering information to teaching your team members. Active listening is also a key part of communication.

3. Ability to delegate

As the saying goes, there is no ‘I’ in team, and an effective leader knows how to delegate tasks to the right team members in accordance to their individual strengths and abilities.

Camilla Chandler
South Bristol Youth

Be optimistic no matter what the circumstances
Value your people. They are the organisation
Treat everyone you meet with respect and dignity

Peter Henrickson
RAM Building Consultancy

To know when to talk and when to listen. You never get any knowledge from talking. So many times I have been in so called conversations where the other party is simply waiting for me to stop talking, so they can start, all the time they have not heard a single word I have been saying. I find it often suits me to have almost one-way conversations, where I allow the other party to fill the silences.

Very, very few people can handle the truth. It is important to remember this, because sometimes it is in the wider interest to deliver only the version of the truth they can accept.

Stuart Woolgar
Global Guardians Management

1. Attentive listener. The truly gifted leader is able to actively listen to what their team is saying, even if what is being said is hard to take, they will welcome feedback and will strive to listen to exactly what is being said to them. A gifted leader works on their listening abilities every day and with every encounter to try to improve.

2. Empathy for other people. If you can truly put yourself in another’s person’s shoes you can help support their growth and give them an environment in which they can thrive. It overcomes the fundamental attribution error and allows the gifted leader to understand the impact and triggers that might be affecting their team’s performance. Without empathy, no trust and no bond can be built.

3. Courage to help people find their place. This is very important in order to provide truthful and accurate feedback to help someone grow as a professional and a person. This trait helps a leader have difficult and necessary conversations with people out of consideration for the individual, the team and the organisation.

Hope this helps!

Manu Sareen
Green Facilities Management

I am not an expert in this field but below are my three cents:
• Gifted leader knows how to execute and make things happen. They can get jobs done, turning an idea into reality.
• They have the ability to build a team and then hold the team together during difficult testing times.
• Gifted leaders are good listeners. Active listening detects problems and helps with their early resolution. But listening is also caring and caring, provides a healthy work environment.

Marc Davis
Co-Founder & CEO
In Professional Development

Put simply, they are resilience, perseverance and belief.

Whether or not you are starting a new enterprise or simply are trying to grow an existing one, obstacles will emerge at different points. How you tackle these will often determine whether or not you are successful.

An in-built resilience will enable you to be ready for all challenges that lie ahead, and alongside a desire underpinned by perseverance, you will be able to drive forward and deliver success. Passion is what makes you stand out and helps you reach for the stars. With it, you stand out from the crowd and bring those with you along on your journey to success,

Nathan Singleton
Lifeline Projects

1) Vision – Be clear on what you want to achieve, what is most important to you.
2) Identity – Be secure in who you are. Often routed in your values. Take some time to consider these. Without this you can be blown around by the wishes of others.
3) Purpose – Apply vision and identity into action. Don’t just think, but do something. Even if you do the wrong thing, you’ll know not to do that same thing next time. It’s still learning.
Apply these top yourself and to those you lead.

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Phil Mochan

Ability to let the team shape your vision into operational reality.

Always be asking the question “how does the customer see this?”

Communicate the strategy into nuggets of wisdom that are actionable.

Garry Smith
Medaille Trust

1. Surround yourself with gifted people and then empower them to use their gifts and skills for the benefit of your organisation

2. Keep learning – “every day is a school day” don’t rest on old knowledge but learn new skills and gain new insights

3. Share conversations with people at all levels in your organisation, you’ll be surprised at what you can pick up, and always remember we were blessed with two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak

Evelyn Timson

1. Have humility – be willing to hire people smarter and better than you, and then make sure you listen to them.

2. Create clarity – define the one or two wildly important goals for the business and make sure everybody is working towards them.

3. Give space – trust that if you take care of your team, they will take care of the customers and ultimately the business.

Richard Lane
Co-Founder & CEO

In my experience, the top 3 traits of a gifted leader are, (i) the ability to not only talk-the-talk but, more importantly, to walk-the-walk; leading by example, (ii) to have a calmness of mind and inspirational outlook that draws others forwards even when the going gets tough, and (iii) to be humble, recognising and praising others rather than seeking glory oneself.

Pavel Guzminov
Finlab 2000

I would put the top 3 in the following order: for obvious reasons the first one is Integrity. Then, the Ability to delegate responsibilities to people who know the subject better than you. Finally, Courage enables leaders to step up when necessary and put things in the right direction.

David Mond

Being prepared to listen.
Being prepared to change track.
Having a sense of humour.

Jordan Kensington
Invincible Media

A gifted leader should be able to inspire, motivate and bring out the best within their team. Inspiration is very important, if a team is not inspired by what they hear, feel or see your team will effectively not engage in bringing about successful results for themselves or the company. In terms of motivation, a gifted leader should be unconventional in the methods they use to motivate their team, and finally, a good leader should be keen on bringing the best out of their team. Every team member has a vision of themselves based on their past experiences. Your job as a gifted leader is to look for the XFactor within them to encourage their creativity and passion,

Katy Stevenson

“I am now CEO of a successful regeneration charity, but I started work as a Customer Service Secretary and worked in Administration for the first ten years of my life, working up through the ranks over 20 years.

My best advice is: take opportunities offered even if you don’t feel quite ready. When you falter, don’t see it as failure, see it as learning. Take advice from mentors. Treat others as you wish to be treated. “

Richard Thornton
Deputy CEO

Empathy – I think gifted leaders will typically have a high EQ, which arguably over the course of time is a more important characteristic than IQ in today’s business environment. People and great talent make good companies. They also are a product of good leadership and gifted leaders with empathy and the ability to relate to employees at all levels and put hierarchy and egos aside will drive the best cultures.

“Walk the Talk” – Be prepared to tread the path shoulder to shoulder with the team or have walked it before. A good leader often leads by example and it is healthy and humbling to get into the weeds now and again. Respect is earned through demonstrating experience, knowledge and the ability to be able to impart that in a way that is inspiring.

Listen – As the saying goes, we have two ears and one mouth for a reason. Listening is often over-looked and over-rated, especially in a world that demands instant responses. Know the moment to speak and engage and when it is more fruitful for others to do so. The loudest voice in the room isn’t necessarily the wisest and it is too easy to create a “Hippo” culture (Highest Paid Person’s Opinion) as a leader. Don’t.

Ying Tan
Founder & CEO

1) When you say you’ll do something, do it: Integrity is such an important trait for any successful leader. I try my best not to make promises that I can’t keep and always follow through on those that I do. If I say I am going to do something, it is because I believe I can and will do it.

2) Transparency: As a leader, you often end up having to make big decisions that people might not, on the surface, understand. A good leader will try to explain the decisions that they make and help others to understand and accept them. The more people understand the decisions you are taking, the more secure they will feel and the harder they will work.

3) Lead by example: You build a loyal team when you lead by example. Never ask someone to do something that you wouldn’t be prepared to do yourself. Leading from the front creates a positive environment and enables a leader to talk with authority and display greater empathy for the challenges faced by his/her team.

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Nick Gardham
Community Organisers

1. Ability to listen
2. Views the team like a jigsaw puzzle – each person an integral part to the bigger picture
3. Developing a compelling vision that everyone can see that they contributed to

Tara Spence
Home-Start In Suffolk

Keep it real – let’s be honest we can all spotter a faker a mile away, we naturally engage to people who are real and genuine, being smooth, perfect and putting over a persona of perfection isn’t necessary, making mistakes, having bad days and an un-ironed top on occasion doesn’t change who you are, it helps people get to know you, gives a message that we understand the challenge and pressures people are under and that we don’t expect perfection.

Ask – The ability to ask why, break the mould, question process, get others challenging their views and challenging your view……. just because we have been doing something this was since 1901 does not mean we should be doing it in 2021, of course we need to be proud of our history and the journey, but equally we should be proud of the ability to change.

Lip service – just don’t! Don’t promote ‘people friendly’ and treat your team poorly, don’t say you promote equality, and then hold one training session a year to tick a box, any many more examples I’m sure you can add- with all areas, Understand it, Resource it, Support it, Report it and care.

Sally Higham
CEO & Founder

1. Always keep your foot on the pedal. If you ease up, there will be ramifications down the line with your team around you.

2. Surround yourself with an amazing team, and then trust them to do their job. I always like to push people’s boundaries as that is when they really understand their own potential and achieve.

3. Shut out the noise. Everyone will try to offer you advice, be prepared to listen but move on if you decide it is a distraction as it will waste your valuable time.

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Gareth Kaminski-Cook

At this time I am concentrating on a few key things:
1. Talk to each individual in the company – about things other than work and be prepared to just ramble – it is good for you and good for your people to see the human side. It might sound obvious, but with less opportunities for informal (corridor and coffee machine) banter there is a huge risk that your only communication is a transactional one. Being authentic is not just a buzz phrase.
2. Join as many calls with customers as possible at every level – you are always responsible for growing and retaining business – not just sales. It motivates the sales people and impresses the customer contacts – every point of difference matters right now and those formal senior meetings aren’t happening like they usually do
3. Have on-line “all hands” meetings with everyone in the company at least once per month. Set up screens on the factory floor, in multiple offices and of course home dial ins – all safely distanced. I have found by asking each location to tell a story about how they are coping, or share some issue or positive bit of news, that people want to speak up and it becomes a total sharing experience, not a top down management communication. And the teams love to see everyone.

Rob Russell
Joint CEO
AC Group

The aim that I have always tried to achieve is to run a company that I would want to work within and therefore strive to make it a place that people enjoy working and enjoy coming to work.

1. Communicate a clear vision that everybody can quickly understand and relate to and appreciate their own role
2. Listen to and learn from the team and empower them to move the business forward in line with the vision that you have set out
3. Passion – you have to love what you do and be passionate about it because if you aren’t how can anybody else be!

George Brooksbank
Fairway Capital

1. Be ambitious – without pursuing dreams, life is mundane. Having big dreams, embracing reality and having the determination will bring you a successful life. Decide what you want and have the courage to run after it.

2. Fail well – nothing in life is easy and obstacles in all aspects of life are inevitable. When you crash, learn, get better and crash less. Learn from you mistakes. Be brutally honest with yourself about why you failed. Seek criticism from those you trust and respect. “Critics are our friends, they show us our weaknesses.” Benjamin Franklin.

3. Balance – “work hard, play hard.” Escapism be it family time, sport, a night out, etc. key to having a clear mind and enhances productivity.

Goes without saying that you need a good work ethic, to act with integrity and transparency to gain trust from others and build long and meaningful relationships.

Chris Bingham
Craggs Energy

Having a vision of a better future has to be central to any leader who wants others to join in their journey, but you also need resilience, lots of it. That will manifest itself in the years of hard work, high levels of stress due to the implications of failure, and constant doubt from those who wish to slow you down or don’t see, or like, the vision.

Finally, a level of self awareness to understand that all adventures need a major slice of good luck if you are to succeed and whilst a great vision and huge amounts of staying power from the leader should increase the odds, the level of success you and your team achieve will have been impacted by things outside of your direct control – so if things don’t work out, pick yourself up and try again. If they do work out, be humble enough to recognise it was never inevitable, let others take the glory and be grateful that luck will have been on your side.

Charles Watkinson
CEO & Technical Director

Capability: Know what you are talking about or let someone who does do the talking…No using ten words where one will do and no waffle.

Determination and Clarity: People often give up too easily and are negative without reason…Can’t do that…Why not? ….Err, silence! Don’t beat your head against the brick wall it is easier to go around or over it but don’t give up until you know for sure it’s not working. Then make a decision, don’t delay, don’t over think, be decisive. Be clear and precise in what are the goals and objectives, don’t be afraid to give instruction…Do it like this! And don’t ever accept upward delegation!

Sincerity: Only do what you believe in, don’t do it if you don’t believe. Tell it how it is and give encouragement and praise where praise is due. Work in the same way you expect your employees/colleagues to work. First to start the day and last to finish works wonders 🙂

John Yarham
Interim CEO
Careers & Enterprise Company

1) Create a vision with others that they can engage in
2) Establish a great team – empower them to push further and listen to them
3) Be ambitious about the results that you desire

Patrick Keefe

Having observed many styles of leadership in my 43 years of work so far, I aspire to the following:
1. Know and communicate what the organisation you lead stands for and where it is going.
2. Manage people as well as lead them – don’t assume you know all the answers and both ask questions and give credit for good ideas.
3. Try to be the one your staff want to succeed rather than the one they are frightened of.

Stephen Chamberlain
Active Learning Trust

(1) Be Humble-‘Humility’- a number of research studies have demonstrated that humble leaders listen more effectively, inspire great teamwork and focus everyone (including themselves) on mission, vision and values more effectively than leaders who appear arrogant and over-confident.

(2)Live to Serve- ‘servant leadership’- share power and influence with those around you and put the needs of your people first. Help them develop and perform as highly as possible. Instead of the staff in an organisation like a trust working to serve the CEO, the CEO exists to serve the people.

(3) Be Authentic- ‘authenticity’- is about building legitimacy through honest relationships with your team where everyone’s input is valued decisions are built on a sharing a clear moral purpose.

Toni Vicars
VP of Marketing

1.) It starts with a clear, powerful vision that they use to lead, applying motivation and encouragement. Using this gifted leaders can navigate the ups and downs of business with confidence and more importantly, empathy.
2.) They don’t need to be the smartest person in the room; they have the courage to know their shortcomings and reach out to others to fill the gaps and the humility to give credit where credit is due.
3.) Key is their ability to understand how to have fun as well as work harder than anyone. Leading by example, but finding the time to build authentic relationships with people with that funny bone intact so that they aren’t continually operating on stress level 10 but rather with a healthy perspective.

Dave Moyise
Sales Director

1 Listen – Listen to those around you, they can elevate your understanding of any situation. listening will engage your colleagues and make them feel that they are a valued member of the team.
2 Learn – Learn from those you employ, why employ intellectual staff to micromanage and restrict their potential.
3 Teach – Teach those around you, the experience you have gained in your industry that has lead you to your position of leadership should be passed on. The more your employees grow the business will follow.

For me, leadership is a responsibility, not an entitlement. You have a responsibility to your employees to ensure that they thrive and grow.

Richard Sharpe

To be frank I don’t know if I am qualified to say. However there are a few things I have learnt over the 30 years I have been starting and running businesses:

1. Be honest and open with colleagues customers and suppliers. Its easier than weaving a tangled web. By that I mean with colleagues make them part of the business I have always had employee/shareholders. With customers make sure they know how you do business, in our case we will do the best job we can , you the customer need to be honest with us and pay on time. With suppliers make sure you tell us the bad news in plenty of time so we can adapt.

2. Run the business as if it will be your lifes work, never think about a sale or dressing it up for a sale, If it is a good business then good things will happen.

3. Don’t beat yourself or your team up about losing business., If you are as good as you think you are then that customer will find that the grass is not as green on the other side and they will be back. The trick is to ensure you are still in business to welcome them back.

Samantha Sweet
Sweet Squared