4 SMART Traits That Every Business Leader Needs

In today’s business world, the big no longer beat the small, it is the fast that beat the slow. Being fast and adapting to the needs of the marketplace requires having and continually developing SMART skills your business needs.

Having a great business idea and the necessary capital doesn’t mean you will automatically become successful. You need to develop certain skills to not only start your business but take it to the next level. These SMART skills are what a business needs for success.


Successful people have a high degree of self-awareness (also referred to as self-knowledge or introspection). Self-awareness is described as being aware of oneself, including one’s traits, feelings, and behaviors. They know how they are perceived and their impact on others, as well as their strengths and weaknesses. This will help you understand what areas you need to work on, and what skills you can leverage the most to have the greatest impact.

Personality tests can help. They can provide profound insight to help you handle life in more healthy, balanced ways. They help you better understand your strengths, weaknesses, and give you a higher level of self-awareness. Self-awareness is essential to success. If you don’t understand what motivates your behaviors, it’s difficult to cultivate positive growth.

The more you know yourself, the better you can adapt to changes in the market. Research shows that self-awareness is directly related to emotional intelligence and success. Because you know your strengths and weaknesses, you can better set achievable goals. Self-awareness helps you choose the right opportunities that best fit your personality. They also know when a task is outside their realm of expertise and aren’t afraid to ask for help.

How do you know if you have the characteristics of a self-aware person? If you answer yes to these questions, it’s likely you’re self-aware. If you answer no, take time to develop these characteristics so you can continue to grow as a leader.

  • Can you sense how others will react to you?
  • Do you know your strengths and limitations?
  • Do you identify changing situations?
  • Do you routinely assess yourself?
  • Can you correctly anticipate feedback?
  • Do others view you as you view yourself?

Self-awareness requires being humble, being open to feedback and routinely seeking it, and taking the time to assess yourself and the different situations you are in.


Self-development is intrinsically linked to self-awareness; each supporting the other and raising your capabilities and skillsets. There are many sources and events that can help you decide on a self-development direction. These include:

  • Personal strengths
  • Personal weaknesses
  • Current or future roles
  • Your business needs
  • Your interests
  • Mentor’s advice
  • 360° assessment

Once you identify a self-development direction, you need to identify activities to get started on the right path and help you gauge your progress. These activities can take many forms, from taking a course to seeking out experiences. 

Selecting the right developmental activities is critical to achieving your goal. If you’re struggling with the marketing side of your business, then you can take a look at the Legendary Marketer program. There are also free business courses available, such as accounting and customer service.

When reviewing different self-developmental activities, you should always keep in mind:

  • Personal learning-style preferences
  • Desired outcomes
  • Time and resources you have available
  • Other environmental factors that may hinder the successful implementation of the activity

Make sure you gauge your progress toward accomplishing your goals. You might not identify the right activity at first. The important thing is to stick to it, noticing what works and what more you need to do to move toward achieving your goal. Remain flexible to alternatives that might work better and refine your goals and activities as needed.


Good communication is vital for any leader. You won’t get far if you’re unable to clearly communicate with others. You need to develop a wide range of communication skills, from negotiation skills, conflict management, public speaking, and even being able to craft a good email.

A successful business leader should be able to adapt their message to the audience, both written and verbal. Having good interpersonal skills is very important, it helps you communicate more effectively with each other, your bosses, subordinates, and partners.

When communicating, be kind to one another and use forms of communication that are best suited to those you are speaking with. You need to take into account what others have been through when communicating. Nothing is going to get done without clear communication!

Hiring the Right People

You can’t build a great company without great people. The hiring decisions you make or break your chances for success. A lot of business owners are reluctant to hire staff, but at some point, you will need help or you will end up burning yourself out.

Think of the hiring process as an investment process. When choosing an investment, you want to choose the most appropriate investment for your needs. In a similar fashion, you need to hire the right employee for what your company needs.

Don’t rush the process, it takes a lot of resources to train someone so it is better to wait to find the right person. Check references, conduct a proper interview, ask them to provide samples of their work, and be creative on how you assess their skillsets. Most importantly, make sure they are people of integrity that can balance the skillsets you need.

Time Management

Time management is critical to your business success. It involves performing and using techniques, behaviors, or strategies to effectively use time and gain greater productivity. Effective time management allows you to accomplish the following:

  • Balance broader organizational responsibilities with day-to-day activities
  • Prioritize effectively
  • Set subordinates up for successful use of time
  • Ensure that senior leaders’ vision and orders are understood, communicated, and executed effectively

Time management doesn’t come naturally for everyone. Here are questions to help you determine if you are making the best use of your time:

  • Do you dedicate time to strategy, planning, and scheduling?
  • Do you get your work done during “normal working hours” without having to stay late or take work home?
  • Do you anticipate things that can go wrong and take action to prevent them and limit their consequences?
  • Do you allow for leeway in your schedule to attend to pressing or unexpected issues?
  • Do you delegate assignments that others could or should do instead of yourself?
  • Do you invest in the development of your employees over the long term so that you’re able to distribute work among all available personnel?
  • When tempted to put off tasks, do you set deadlines for yourself?
  • Do you accurately estimate how much you can accomplish in a given time period?
  • When given a new assignment, do you assess its importance and prioritize it within the context of other assignments?
  • Do you spend more time planning/supervising than working on details?
  • Before you initiate a project, do you make sure the results will be worth the effort required and that the necessary resources are available?
  • Do you regularly confirm your priorities to make sure they’re aligned with your organization’s strategy and goals?

Based on your answers, work on time management techniques so you have established a pattern of effective time management practices. Focus on making the best use of your time and keep your answers to these questions in mind.