7 Skills of a Successful Leader (and leaders who exemplify them)

Leadership skills vary greatly depending on the leadership style and industry context. However, studying today's best leaders, commons skills begin to reveal themselves. Learn what leadership skills are tablestakes and how you can start to develop your own.

Being a leader is a delicate balancing act. It requires a combination of skills, traits, and experience to truly be effective. But what are the key skills that set successful leaders apart from the rest? In this listicle, we'll take a look at seven skills that are essential for any leader worth their salt.


A leader with a clear vision for the future is someone who can inspire and guide their team towards a common goal. A leader with a vision is able to see the big picture and make strategic decisions that will move their organization forward. An example of a leader with a clear vision is Melinda Gates, who co-chairs the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, has a clear vision for creating a more equitable and healthy world. She has the ability to identify key issues and come up with innovative solutions to tackle them.


In today's fast-paced business environment, leaders must be able to adapt quickly to changing conditions. A leader who can roll with the punches and come up with a plan B when things don't go as planned is someone who can keep their team moving forward, no matter what obstacles they may encounter. A leader who has demonstrated adaptability is Oprah Winfrey, media executive, and philanthropist, she has adapted her career from a television host to a successful media mogul, and has made the move from traditional to digital media in her career.

Emotional Intelligence

A leader with high emotional intelligence is able to understand and manage their own emotions, as well as those of their team. They can build strong relationships, communicate effectively, and inspire trust and loyalty among their team members. A leader who has demonstrated emotional intelligence is Ursula Burns, the first African American woman to become CEO of a Fortune 500 company, leading Xerox Corporation through a major shift in technology and business models. She has a reputation for being a leader who inspires and motivates her team.


A leader who can make quick and effective decisions is someone who can keep their team moving forward. A leader who is able to weigh the pros and cons of different options and make a decision that is in the best interest of the organization is someone who can be relied upon to make things happen. A leader who has demonstrated decisiveness is Sheryl Sandberg, former COO of Facebook. She is known for her ability to make fast and effective decisions, which has helped her to lead the company through rapid growth and expansion.


A leader who can communicate effectively is someone who can get their message across to their team clearly and concisely. A leader who can communicate well is also able to build strong relationships with their team members and stakeholders. A leader who has demonstrated effective communication is the former CEO of IBM, Ginni Rometty, she is known for her clear communication style and ability to connect with different stakeholders.


A leader who is passionate about their work is someone who can inspire their team to be their best. A leader who is passionate is also someone who can lead by example and set the tone for the entire organization. A leader who has demonstrated passion is the founder of Salesforce, Marc Benioff. He is known for his deep passion for business and technology, and his ability to inspire his team to work towards ambitious goals.


A leader with integrity is someone who can be trusted to do the right thing, even when no one is watching. A leader with integrity is also someone who can set a positive example for their team and build strong relationships based on trust. A leader who has demonstrated integrity is Howard Schultz, founder of Starbucks. He is known for his strong sense of integrity and commitment to social responsibility, which have helped him to lead the company towards becoming a global brand that is known for its commitment to ethical practices and community involvement.
Being a successful leader requires a combination of different skills, but the above-mentioned skills are considered essential to guide a team towards a common goal, help organization grow and be successful, as well as building trust and inspiring team members. Every leader is unique and has their own way of leading, but having a clear vision, adaptability, emotional intelligence, decisiveness, effective communication, passion, and integrity will certainly help them along the way. The examples provided above demonstrate how female business leaders have successfully exhibited these skills and brought success to their organizations.
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