10 Important Ways to Describe a Successful Leader

In my work as a leadership coach to top business leaders around the world, I see firsthand the growing influence of the field. These days, it seems, there are countless conversations, articles and blog posts about leadership. As awareness of the field grows, people are looking to define it, explain it and emulate it.

I find it fascinating that people want more understanding of leadership processes than the person behind the leadership—for people it’s always more about the how and less about the who. And for me, the who is more important before you can implement the how.

To address that need, here are 10 important ways to define successful leadership. Once you understand these elements, you’ll have the orientation you need to handle any process or theory:

A successful leader is an authentic leader. They are genuine; they are confident in who they are while remaining teachable. You’ll never hear them say they’re faking it till they make it. You can feel the confidence they have in their unique self.

A successful leader is a cognizant leader. They are mindful and aware, attentive to themselves and to those around them. They know how to apply knowledge and perception to their work.

A successful leader is an optimistic leader. They’re always able to view the glass as half full instead of half empty. Their sunny perspective means everything they do is encouraging and empowering.

A successful leader is a devoted leader. They are dependable and hold themselves accountable for their actions. You can count on them to be consistent and to stick it out until the job gets done.

A successful leader is a respected leader. A leader who fosters respect is a leader worth following—they are willing to give their all for the people they’re leading and the cause they’re working for.

A successful leader is a virtuous leader. Their integrity, honesty and character are reflected in everything they do. Their inner moral compass guides every thought and action.

A successful leader is a purposeful leader. The best and most successful leaders are those who are driven by their mission. They keep it centered as the most important thing to them, and that awareness keeps them on track.

A successful leader is a truthful leader. Their word is their bond. and the only way they know how to function is with honesty and honor. 

A successful leader is a courageous leader. They are bold in their thinking and determined in their actions, able to take risks in business and think creatively about the future. Uncharted territory is never off limits.

A successful leader is a humble leader. Self-effacing and appreciative, they recognize they can’t do it alone—and they’d never want to. They are thankful in knowing the value of their team and genuinely grateful for the contributions of the people they lead. Their leadership is centered on their recognition that success is shared.

In my opinion a successful leader should embody all of these important ways to be a leader. The degree to which you miss the mark in any of them is the degree to which your leadership can be compromised.

Lead from within: The best, most successful leader is one who doesn’t need anything from their people but serves in meaningful ways that become their blueprint for success.



#1  N A T I O N A L   B E S T S E L L E R

The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness


After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.

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Lolly Daskal is one of the most sought-after executive leadership coaches in the world. Her extensive cross-cultural expertise spans 14 countries, six languages and hundreds of companies. As founder and CEO of Lead From Within, her proprietary leadership program is engineered to be a catalyst for leaders who want to enhance performance and make a meaningful difference in their companies, their lives, and the world.

Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.

  1. Hamilton Lindley

    09. May, 2019

    It’s hard to do all ten at once. But I do see why they are important. I think that I have the most difficulty with being a cognizant leader. It’s hard to know how others perceive me. And when I ask, I don’t really know if I’m getting the right answer. How do you become more self-aware?

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  2. Victormalcalaw

    19. Jan, 2023

    Some people look for a job with an excellent salary, and sometimes they don’t bother if the workplace gives them so much stress. However, in my opinion, I prefer to work in a company that has a good salary while having a healthy working environment because our health is precious and must always be our priority.

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  3. Victor Malca

    29. Apr, 2024

    This is a beautiful blog! A great leader always sets an excellent example for his employees. I will share this with others.

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