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14 Leadership Traits to Empower Your Employees to Work Harder

Written by Guest Author · 5 min read >

Leadership traits that empower employees to work harder don’t always come easy. Even the most seasoned owners, CEOs, directors, and managers need to cultivate new leadership traits to keep their team working effectively.

Possessing powerful leadership traits helps empower your employees to work for success. Empowered employees can excel at what they do and feel as if they can accomplish their role’s tasks, from mailroom to boardroom. Whether you are a savvy startup founder or a business owner, building influential leadership traits is essential.

Let’s take a closer look at how you can lead the pack with these 14 leadership traits.

Passion is a Foundational Leadership Trait

Passion is a foundational leadership trait to possess. Passion is contagious. When your employees see you emotionally invested in your company or a project, they feel motivated to share your journey.

Light a fire of passion in your employees, from new hires to those who have been with you from the beginning. Passion as a leadership trait is also a two-way street. Empowering your staff means showing support for their passions as well.

It makes sound business sense to empower your staff by assigning them to projects they are hungry for, or training them to succeed in an area they want to convert from a passion to a professional skill. Offering professional skill enhancement, like onsite negotiation training, to your team can make all the difference to their enthusiasm and performance.

Great Leaders Are Seldom Content

Often, one of the worst things a leader can be is content. Not being content doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t enjoy your achievements, however. Refusing to be content is a leadership trait that simply keeps your vision moving forward in a powerful way.

Not being content means you continue to expand your horizons to succeed in bigger and better endeavors. Your growth could mean expanding your client base through a string of successful negotiations, or could mean investing in yourself with up-to-date training to polish up your skills for future ventures.

Whatever form your growth takes, letting your employees see your hunger, drive, and commitment can empower your staff to want to achieve more as well. When your employees want to increase their wins, business often rolls down the path of success.

Develop a Team with Powerful Potential

Great business leaders know the importance of surrounding themselves with a strong team. Remember to focus recruitment on employees you see potential in. Having the skills to detect these individuals is an invaluable leadership trait.

Steve Jobs was a genius when it came to surrounding himself with a strong innovative team. In fact, he said that the first 10 people of any startup would be the measure of that startup’s success.

Being Tough Is a Vital Leadership Trait

The corporate world is a tough world to navigate and negotiate, and business leaders have to be just as tough, if not tougher, to survive. This makes toughness a vital leadership trait to keep you moving up the ladder to success.

Stand up for yourself and meet challenges head-on in order to dominate in your career field. Great leaders know how to navigate tough times and negotiate difficult situations while still coming away with a positive result for their team.

Great leaders are often great negotiators, and knowing key negotiation skills, like when to be silent and when to take action, define a confident leader and negotiator.

Don’t Let the Haters Influence You or the Direction of Your Business

Did you know Walt Disney was fired from the Kansas City Star because the newspaper thought he lacked imagination? Walt Disney went on to famously create one of the most imaginative worlds in entertainment.

Do what Disney did, and don’t let the haters influence you or your business, a leadership trait many other successful people have followed. At the end of the day, people can sometimes be frightened and envious of innovative people.

Be Fierce and Break Down Barriers

The digital era is full of innovative leaders who value the leadership trait of being fierce. Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Richard Branson, and Jeff Bezos are all exceptional examples of being fierce and breaking down barriers. If you want to become a great leader, regardless of your innovative ambitions, be fierce and take calculated chances.

The One Must-Have Leadership Trait: Persistence

Without the one must-have leadership trait, persistence, your first obstacle could end your career or your startup. Persistence keeps you moving forward, despite the obstacles in front of you.

Your persistence also shows your team that you are intending to succeed, and your employees will most likely want to be a part of the win. If you combine persistence with self-confidence and your deep belief in your vision, you can achieve greatness.

Make Mistakes a Mentoring Moment and Not a Negative Leadership Trait

Even leaders can make mistakes. Mistakes are simply a fact of life, especially in the fast-paced business world. Making mistakes does not make you a bad leader or mean you have a negative leadership trait or flaw. Mistakes show your team your human element.

Turn your mistakes into a positive leadership trait by using them as a mentoring moment. If you simply fail to own up to your mistakes, your credibility as a leader is compromised. The deletion of George Orwell’s books from Amazon Kindle was a big mistake, and Jeff Bezos knew it, owned it, apologized, and the company moved on in a positive way.

Make Your Vision Larger Than Life

One leadership trait many people fail to possess is to dream big. Sure, owning a few stores, or hitting a specific net worth, is a big dream, but why not go even bigger? Making your vision larger than life is a formidable leadership trait for success.

Many of today’s Silicon industry leaders could have called it quits long ago after making their fortunes, but many continue to step outside the box.

Become an Influencer to Empower

Have you ever had a boss you simply couldn’t stand? Most people have, and there is a leadership lesson to take from your own experience. One great leadership trait is to become an influencer in order to empower your employees to work harder.

Your team is unlikely to perform at optimal levels with passion and enthusiasm for a leader they don’t like. Show an interest in your employees’ lives and their own personal passions to connect with your employees at a human level.

Likewise, it pays to show interest in your employees’ career goals by ensuring their development. Enrolling your employees in the onsite training they need to achieve the goals they share with you, such as advanced sales and negotiation training, to hit their own performance targets, is one tangible way to be influential as an employer. Become an influential leader your staff can aspire to, not loathe working with.

Encourage Employee Feedback

Encouraging employee feedback helps your team become the dynamic workforce you envision. On-the-spot feedback is also valuable, empowering your team to communicate effectively.

This leadership trait does come with ground rules, such as constructive criticism only with solutions being added to the feedback to keep a project moving forward, not backward.

Flexibility and Delegation

Moving up the career ladder takes a certain type of flexibility. Then, once you have reached the leadership rung, that flexibility is even more essential. Empowering your employees to work harder often comes with letting the reins go at times.

Your team has skills you admired in the interview room, so why not let them use those attributes? You can identify key areas and projects members of your team will excel in and assign them accordingly. It makes sense for your strongest negotiator with the most training to be heading up your most high-profile company negotiations, especially if, as discussed above, it is their passion.

The leadership trait of delegation also allows you to free up your schedule to focus on other elements of your business.


Strong leaders who empower their team to take action with a flexible approach also know to develop boundaries. There will be times when a task or project is beyond the skill set of your team. Do you simply hand them the project and hope for the best?

Great leaders know to challenge their employees with new tasks and projects. However, great leaders also ensure an employee’s self-confidence is not at risk. Developing boundaries of what your team can do and not overstepping those boundaries solidifies trust in your leadership abilities.


Become a transparent leader and let your employees understand how things really work. More often than not, a disconnect builds between team and leader, making it difficult for employees to see what exactly their boss does.

In order to keep attitudes positive, be transparent about what is happening in the company or department. Transparency often involves clear communication and employing the negotiation skills needed to keep employees happy. Being a transparent communicator can also empower your employees to begin thinking and acting at the executive level. Executive level thinking by any team harnesses success through passion and ownership of projects.

In Sum

Empowering your employees to work harder can be easily achieved by employing a few key leadership traits. You may not have all of the above traits, but adding a few more to your repertoire certainly can be incredibly beneficial. After all, your achievements may depend not only on your own skills but also the skills of your team.

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