5 traits of a successful leader
24 August 2017

Leading your company is more than just being a boss to your employees. Here are five traits every leader of a flourishing business should have:




In a study on Singapore leaders’ work ethic, one senior executive surveyed noted that “though business leaders here are very good in terms of process thinking…they tend to lack mental flexibility in navigating changes”i in the increasingly volatile global market.


Things that work in the past might be as effective in future, especially given the rapid rate of technological change. Maintaining an open mind ensures that you see with clarity, when tactics that used to work no longer do, and enable you to spot openings in new opportunities.


Personal adaptability when managing your team is also vital. Recognise that your team does not respond to a one size fits all type of management. This allows you to make personal connections with your team, partners and even clients to get the best out of them.




Adaptability is best fostered by the drive to learn and stay agile in a tumultuous business landscape. A good leader is constantly trying to learn, stay up to date and gain the competitive edge. As Business Insider highlights:

“Leaders continuously experiment with new approaches…And they take time to reflect on their experiences so they can learn from successes and failures.” ii

Initiatives like SkillsFuture make it easier for leaders to gain new skills and knowledge through courses and training, keeping you sharp and in touch with the latest changes in the industry.



One of the most effective ways for leaders to earn the trust and respect of their team is through honest communication. To maintain a level of honesty within your business, it’s important that you lead by example. Ensure that you stick to deadlines promised to your clients and your team. Set clear goals and KPIs, and foster a culture where everyone gives and receives feedback so you improve as a company. 

Hyflux founder and CEO Olivia Lum attributes her company’s success, even across regions, to clear communication.

She explains that “communication is increasingly important to building a common group culture,” adding that it is “integral in transmitting our vision, mission, and shared beliefs and values to our entire staff across the different markets.”iii


As Grab CEO Anthony Tan advises, “[h]ire people who are smarter than you and faster than you, while at the same time are humble and can take feedback.” iv

Maintaining humility and an open mind not only helps you identify new business opportunities, it ensures that you don’t restrict yourself or your business by neglecting the help of people with talents and experiences outside your own. When handling your team, ensure that you are receptive to their ideas and feedback, whether it’s regarding business operations or your own leadership.




A great leader manages their workload and drives the business in the direction they intended. They also know when to pull back, and delegate tasks to team members instead of overloading.


Entrepreneur highlights that when delegating tasks, it’s important to build accountability by ensuring “that roles are clearly understood, expectations are clearly set and success is defined up front and then measured.”v When delegating, play to each of your team member’s strengths. Brainstorming can be handled by more creative, open-minded members of the team, while planning and keeping track of projects can go to the more organised in your business.


Possessing all the above traits is not a necessity, but are definitely values that could generate more out of your teams and ultimately, your company’s performance.


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