These five characteristics make a successful business leader. Do you have them?

Although there is no direct correlation between academic high-fliers and high achievers, your time in education give employers indication that you are smart and, therefore, a good learner.

4) Entrepreneurial attitude

In order to reach the top of an organisation – especially of a commercial organisation – your main trump cards are your commercial acumen and, more broadly, your entrepreneurial attitude. 

You need to know how to take carefully calculated and considered risks, as well as how to manage those risks. You also need to be able to push the boundaries and achieve results by enabling your senior team members. 

You won?t reach the top of an organisation simply because your ego wants you there, but because you are keen to take that organisation to new levels of success and for a lasting success you must understand the importance of sharing achievements with those around you.

5) Creativity

What really sets great leaders apart is creativity; those who are capable to think completely outside of the box, happy to sail unchartered waters, open to the untested. Top leaders of today are movers and shakers ? they cause disruption in the market, set trends, and make history. 

The buzz word is innovation, which is a focused form of creativity. Top leaders combine self-confidence with creativity and know how to unleash creativity across an organisation in a result-orientated way.

This list is seriously demanding, but of course not everyone is expected to (nor will want to) reach the very top. It requires hard work and a lot of sacrifices, not unlike aiming for Olympic gold. What is interesting is that the various requirements for a high-flying career can be presented in a cumulative way.

Being creative will, in itself, not get you to the top of the corporate ladder. If creativity is your dominating strength you are likely to be happy pursuing an artistic career. There is more to a fulfilling life than pursuing a corporate career!

Being entrepreneurial will not, in itself, ensure a promising corporate career either. In fact, when you have very strong entrepreneurial traits it is more likely that you will feel the itch to set up on your own business, rather than survive and thrive in a complex organisation.

But should you take the corporate route, the ability to draw on these gifts, skills, attitudes, and talents over the years will help you scale the slippery slopes of a corporate career, and possibly even reach the dizzying heights of the very top.

Professor Maurits van Rooijen is rector and chief executive at London School of Business and Finance (LSBF), and chief academic officer at Global University Systems (GUS).

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