It is well known that there are two types of people in this world, leaders and followers. A society needs both types to function and there is nothing wrong with being branded as the latter. In fact, followers probably enjoy less stress in life than leaders as they live without the responsibility, competition and complications that come with being a leader. However, it is also true that the most financially successful people are leaders. But what defines a leader? What are the characteristics that make a leader?


The first and foremost obvious trait is individuality. Individuality is sometimes misconstrued as an outer quality, as people wear different clothes to stand out or adopt unique traits to be deemed as original. However, it is nothing but an inner quality. Individuality isn’t necessarily originality. It is simply trusting yourself and making your own decisions.

In life we often turn to others for advice and there is nothing wrong with this. However, while leaders may still turn to others for advice, they’re aware that the final decision always rests with them.


Independence is a trait that needs to be built and maintained all throughout life. In order to be fully independent throughout life one must not do anything that jeopardizes their independence, unless it’s absolutely necessary.

For example, taking out loans put you in debt to other people, which relegates your independence. You should not take out a loan – unless it’s absolutely necessary – if you have ambitions of being a leader.


A leader makes decisions for others and of course, leads. This means that they are given responsibility over the lives of followers, albeit to an extent. For this to be possible and for leaders to be given this trust, they must have foresight. Foresight is the ability to plan for the future and effectively live in the future, always staying one step ahead of the game.

It is very rare – if not impossible – to have perfect foresight and always judge future situations perfectly. However, it is expected of a leader to always attempt to look past the present and tackle the future. If one rationally tries to look past the present, they will effectively judge the future accurately most of the time.

Attention to Detail

Leaders must see things others do not. Those who do not simply aren’t fit to lead. This means that they must pay attention to detail.

In a financial sense, attention to detail is a key component of being a business owner. For example, it was reported a while back that several SME owners – thousands in fact – missed out on thousands of pounds in 2011, due to failing to claim back their tax refunds. This is despite the existence of firms such as that on, who are there to help business owners find out if they are owed anything in the form of tax refunds.

Failing to pay attention to detail means you will miss invaluable tricks and pieces of information.


An impatient human being is an irrational human being. Patience is the ability to stand firm and resolute in the face of trials and tribulations. A leader must have patience – particularly in the most challenging situations where others might yield, give up or change strategy.

Patience requires a strong belief in one’s own principles and ideas and this ties in with independence.

Comments are closed.