After some recent work in schools with educational think tanks the SEC and the APFC who are investors in the future of young students, I have learned a lot about what kind of careers these kids are looking at. Somewhat surprisingly, they are all looking to become the next Spiegel or Zuckerberg and become the President, CEO or Director of a business rather than some commission-based salesman or any other mundane position. They may not be aware of the sacrifices which they will need to make in exchange for this success just yet but I was keen to let them know.

I spoke with Larry Polhill Cafe Valley chief to gain some further insight into the characteristics required to be a business leader so that I could share it with the kids, and I wanted to share his tips with you as well.


Every business leader has faced adversity or failure at some point during their career and instead of seeing this as an obstacle which they cannot overcome, they have looked to it as a challenge to learn from. If you have any interest in being a leader in business then you also must show this kind of tenacity which can help you to overcome the worst things in the business world.

Drive and Hunger

In order to make it as a business leader you must be the most driven and committed person in the business. You must be prepared to work the long hours, make sacrifices and be at a constantly high level if you wish to make it.

Communication Skills

Business leaders are almost always excellent communicators and without this attribute you may struggle to gain the hearts and minds of you team in terms of the mission which you are trying to put together. If success as a business leader is what you are after, you must be able to speak and listen to a high standard and be able to heed advice and warnings as well as landing your message with clarity.

Ability to Inspire

Leaders must be able to inspire those around them and more importantly they must be able to know how to inspire people with different motivational needs. This is something which is absolutely key in your role as a leader and it is skill which you must possess if you are hoping for success in this field.


Leaders must be visionaries and look towards the future in terms of their business in order to win. Business leaders must be able to have the ability to keep an eye on what is happening in the present and what is coming up in the future in order to keep their business successful and prove their worth as a leader. If you do not do this naturally then you need to address this attribute and ensure that you add it to your arsenal.