Leadership 101: The qualities of a great leader

The best leaders in business share some personality traits, some assets, and a charisma that could make us think of leadership as an innate DNA characteristic. Nevertheless, it is possible to train and improve our leadership qualities, making our work group a real team with shared goals. Here’s some precious expert advice about the assets good leaders should work on to get appreciation and develop the power to easily influence their team’s beliefs and behaviors, multiplying their chances to be successful.

Having a vision and sharing it

“Probably the most important quality for a successful leader is the ability to have a vision and share it,” explains Alessandro Ricci, president of the big pharma giant Aurisco in the US. “For instance, in the pharmaceutical world the American market is currently one of the most interesting and opportunity-rich, but it is also one of the most competitive and difficult.  In order not to make mistakes, it is essential to have a well-defined strategy. The United States offers enormous opportunities for companies and professionals who wish to expand their business.  Entering a market as large as it is complex, however, requires a vision and preparation.  These are elements that no one, not even the largest companies, can afford to underestimate or neglect,” says the Italian entrepreneur, who is the mind behind the success of many pharmaceutical companies and medicines in this country.

“Having a vision means more than just wanting to do something or go somewhere: You have to be able to articulate a goal and inspire others to believe in your goal,” states Larry Lawrence, financial professional with more than 20 years of experience, presently Head of Corporate Sales at Loop Capital Markets. “True leaders are very focused and tend to be unwavering in the belief of their vision,” adds Mr. Lawrence, who also worked as Head of Credit Sales for the French bank Société Generale.

Empowerment and Empathy

A good entrepreneur should be empathetic. “Successful leaders are not selfish. They empower those around them to succeed, understanding that the victories of the many will always outweigh the victory of the one or few. A leader knows that if everyone feels empowered, they will see the vision as a shared one and everyone will be willing to work to attain a common goal,” explains Mr. Lawrence, who used to be a professional basketball player in the NBA and Euroleague.

Competitive Spirit

Facing the business world with an athlete’s mentality is a characteristic many leaders have in common.

“Being an entrepreneur is very much like playing a sport. Champions learn early on that it’s not only the shots made that matter, but what you learn from the multitude of attempts getting there,” Mr. Lawrence says. “There are countless stories of entrepreneurs who failed multiple times, only to learn from each experience and come back smarter and more determined. Most successful entrepreneurs are extremely self-confident. Not that they are the smartest people in the room, but that given the chance, they can and will find a way to reach their objectives. For the successful ones, failure is, and never can be, an option. They look at setbacks as pauses, along the way, never wavering in their belief that the next shot will go in the basket.”

In their daily life, people can choose to see challenges as hurdles or opportunities to shine. For instance, “nobody can predict market movements or when a pandemic might strike and have volatility spike everywhere. However, we can decide how we respond to adversity, choosing a positive perspective and mindset, focusing on what can be done, as opposed to lamenting what’s not done. So many people, be they minorities, women, elderly or young, find excuses as to why something is too hard or too difficult. Yes, there’s absolutely discrimination of all kinds, everywhere we look, but to yield to those who would hold you back, only gives them power over you,” the financial professional explains, adding this inspiring message for everyone: “When you can, choose to own your path and success, be positive, lean into your journey. Fight every day to enjoy the ride”.

A strong competitive spirit is evident also in Alessandro Ricci’s approach to life and business: “I learned from my passion for marathon running that we need to train every day to get to our goal, fighting every mile to get to the finish line”.


Integrity, good example. Tough decisions

“Setting a good example and showing integrity are two crucial elements in business,” Mr. Ricci says. “A good leader should be able to make tough decisions in a timely way. Recognizing the success of others, motivating their team and being an inspiration are other essential abilities,’ he adds.


“In the United States, investing in the right kind of marketing is crucial to make your company known. It is necessary to devise a communication strategy suitable for a market that drives communication on a global level,” Mr. Ricci explains.

Consistent reliability and honesty

“Leadership requires a supportive attitude and a multifaceted approach, incorporating personal qualities of integrity, honesty, transparency, and consistent reliability,” says El Moe Kane, CEO of Torodo Capital and other companies operating in a wide array of sectors, from real estate and energy to natural resources and food security.

Trust and ethical human relationships

“This approach generates trust and loyalty, enabling the engagement and empowerment of others, thereby ensuring the occurrence of progressive change,” adds Mr. Kane, entrepreneur with 20 years of experience in asset management with great expertise in acquisition & development. “The process generates in others motivation and commitment, ultimately leading to the development of organizational success with valuable positive and ethical relationships. This creates unique bonds that enable a competitive advantage for unparalleled accomplishments.”


“If having a good culture is useful, but not indispensable, the importance of having a bit of luck is not negligible,” says the Italian entrepreneur Cesare Sassi, CEO of Sasco Financial and other companies.

The article was prepared by journalist Valeria Rubino