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10 Traits Of Powerful Leaders

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Written by Timothy Sykes
Updated 1/31/2023 9 min read

So, let’s first start by asking what is a leader? And what are the trails of powerful leaders?

The other day I posted “10 Things You’ll Never See Millionaire Traders Do” and it was basically a list of do NOT dos…today I want to showcase a list of solid traits that powerful and successful people have, a followup to my all-important post from a few months ago entitled “A Key Trait You Need To Become Successful” as it’s CRUCIAL you learn the rights and wrongs in life if you want to be the best possible version of yourself that I know you can be.

In business, there are specific traits of powerful leaders, including vision, direction, and the ability to inspire others to follow on their journey.

It’s far from an easy role, and requires patience, integrity, and plenty of hard work, but it can REALLY pay off, in business and in life.

So how does one become such a leader?

Start by cultivating these 10 traits, and see how they inspire others to follow your lead.

1. Bravery. Who will follow your lead if you don’t demonstrate that you’re courageous enough to lead the way? A great leader must have enough bravery to see the difficulty and risk on the road ahead, and to forge a path anyway.

Of course, this isn’t to say that a great leader can’t be without caution. There’s comfort with risk and there’s recklessness. A great leader sees the risk and does all that he or she can to mitigate it, but nonetheless has the bravery to forge on ahead.

2. Self motivation. An inherent part of leadership is having the ability to lead the way. They won’t necessarily have someone holding their hand along the way, so it’s one of the most important traits of powerful leaders that they have a strong sense of self motivation so that they can make things happen.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that they have to work from the ground up. But it does mean that they have to have the wherewithal to seek out appropriate resources to help them accomplish their goals. For many of my millionaire students, signing up for the Tim Sykes Million Challenge team is an inspired way to begin working toward their dreams and leading their own path.

3. Purpose. Regardless of their style, career, or setting, every great and powerful leader has this in common: they have a sense of purpose. After all, to lead, they must be headed in a particular direction. People follow great presidents because of where they promise to lead the country. People follow great business leaders because they have a strong vision and the motivation to carry it out.

Whether you’re a trader or the owner of a dry cleaning business, get a sense of purpose if you want to be a great leader. Have specific goals, and figure out clear ways that you can attain them. Overall, this should not scare you. Your methods and goals can change and evolve over time; they may need to so that you can stay committed. But you must have a sense of purpose from the start even if that purpose changes or evolves over time.

4. Constantly seeking. Leaders are seekers. They are constantly seeking new paths, ideas, and solutions. Moreover, they get this way by constantly and continually learning as there is no magic formula or exact science for becoming successful or wealthy or even happy, you must test and test and test, then optimize, optimize, optimize over time.

There’s a reason why great leaders and businesspeople are addicted to learning, and it’s not just to increase their vocabulary or appear impressive. The more you know, the more ideas you have and the more flexible you are in various environments and predicaments.

For instance, as a trader, learning about how various industries work can expand your knowledge and inform whether certain trades are worthwhile risks or not. Constantly learning keeps your mind nimble and keeps you able to generate solutions and brilliant ideas. This is one of the most vital traits of powerful leaders. It’s a habit that I try to instill in my students via the Tim Sykes Millionaire Challenge.

5. Transparency. Nobody trusts a leader who holds everything close to the vest. It can be a difficult step to take, but to be an effective and powerful leader, a certain level of transparency is necessary. For one, it builds trust. Unless you happen to be a charismatic cult leader (and please don’t be), you generally can’t expect people to blindly follow you without knowing your goings-on. You need to be honest about how you are going about attaining your goals and dreams without shutting other people out.

Transparency isn’t always easy. It takes integrity and humility (more on that below). However, in the long run it will make you a more powerful leader…that’s why I show ALL my trades here (even though it’s a pain in the butt to keep it all updated all the time!)

6. Humility. If you look up the definition of “humility.” you’ll find things like “freedom from pride or arrogance” or “the quality or state of being humble”. It might sound from the outset that this is a suggestion to be meek. But truthfully, it’s quite the opposite.

Humility doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take pride in your accomplishments. Quite the contrary: shout them from the rooftops! However, what it does mean is that as you gain power, money, or influence, you shouldn’t use it to abuse or alienate others, nor should you take it as an indication that you are better than anybody else.

As a leader, humility means, basically, not forgetting who you are. Remember what you’ve had to do to get where you are, and be humbled by it. Use your power for good, and don’t forget all of the people and things that have helped you along the way.

Look how humble my 2nd millionaire trading challenge student Tim Grittani is:

7. Awareness. Powerful leaders must be extremely aware. This is on a few levels, so let’s explore.

First off, a leader must be aware of the goings-on of their surroundings. In business, this means knowing what is going on in current events and in the business news.

However, it also goes internally, too. Great leaders must have a strong sense of self awareness. This is what allows them to identify their strengths and weaknesses. Knowing their good and bad points allows them to work on the negative and highlight the positive. It also allows them to have specific personal goals and to continually work on bettering themselves.

8. Enthusiasm. Have you ever noticed how much more pleasurable it is to be around successful people who love what they do, as opposed to nasty people who just happen to be rich?

When you have enthusiasm and true, deep passion for what you do, it shows through. It gives you an authenticity that people gravitate toward, and your enthusiasm will be contagious. It’s as simple as that. If you don’t love or have passion for what you do, why are you doing it. And further, why should people follow your lead?

Listen to how pumped up my upcoming Millionaire Trading Challenge student Steven Dux is talking about his passion for studying:

9. Accountability. Mistakes and poor judgments happen to everyone. Even leaders and visionaries like Mark Zuckerberg aren’t immune from making mistakes.

Overall, it’s not a lack of making mistakes that makes a great and powerful leader. It’s how they react after making a mistake.

For example, have you ever noticed what happens when a so-called leader tries to deflect blame on another person, thing, or circumstance? People see him or her as weak, lacking in credibility, and they quickly turn on that person. However, when someone in power is brave enough to admit that they made a mistake and to do all that they can to move forward differently, people can appreciate that.

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10. Generosity. Great leaders are generous.

Perhaps the most obvious is that they can give back with money. Doing things like establishing schools is one of the ways I give back, for instance…this $1 million donation I made is one of the proudest achievements of my life, if not the single proudest!**

However, it can also be with their time. It’s a hallmark of a powerful leader that they are available to be a mentor or guide to those who aren’t as far along in their career. If you’ve ever heard the phrase “you get what you give”, this is it in action.

These ten traits are extremely common among powerful leaders. If you want to cultivate leadership in your own career, see how cultivating these traits of powerful leaders can help you on your way.

Leave a comment and tell me which trait you think is most important and/or which traits do you have? I’m curious to hear your thoughts!

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Timothy Sykes

Tim Sykes is a penny stock trader and teacher who became a self-made millionaire by the age of 22 by trading $12,415 of bar mitzvah money. After becoming disenchanted with the hedge fund world, he established the Tim Sykes Trading Challenge to teach aspiring traders how to follow his trading strategies. He’s been featured in a variety of media outlets including CNN, Larry King, Steve Harvey, Forbes, Men’s Journal, and more. He’s also an active philanthropist and environmental activist, a co-founder of Karmagawa, and has donated millions of dollars to charity. Read More

* Results are not typical and will vary from person to person. Making money trading stocks takes time, dedication, and hard work. There are inherent risks involved with investing in the stock market, including the loss of your investment. Past performance in the market is not indicative of future results. Any investment is at your own risk. See Terms of Service here

The available research on day trading suggests that most active traders lose money. Fees and overtrading are major contributors to these losses.

A 2000 study called “Trading is Hazardous to Your Wealth: The Common Stock Investment Performance of Individual Investors” evaluated 66,465 U.S. households that held stocks from 1991 to 1996. The households that traded most averaged an 11.4% annual return during a period where the overall market gained 17.9%. These lower returns were attributed to overconfidence.

A 2014 paper (revised 2019) titled “Learning Fast or Slow?” analyzed the complete transaction history of the Taiwan Stock Exchange between 1992 and 2006. It looked at the ongoing performance of day traders in this sample, and found that 97% of day traders can expect to lose money from trading, and more than 90% of all day trading volume can be traced to investors who predictably lose money. Additionally, it tied the behavior of gamblers and drivers who get more speeding tickets to overtrading, and cited studies showing that legalized gambling has an inverse effect on trading volume.

A 2019 research study (revised 2020) called “Day Trading for a Living?” observed 19,646 Brazilian futures contract traders who started day trading from 2013 to 2015, and recorded two years of their trading activity. The study authors found that 97% of traders with more than 300 days actively trading lost money, and only 1.1% earned more than the Brazilian minimum wage ($16 USD per day). They hypothesized that the greater returns shown in previous studies did not differentiate between frequent day traders and those who traded rarely, and that more frequent trading activity decreases the chance of profitability.

These studies show the wide variance of the available data on day trading profitability. One thing that seems clear from the research is that most day traders lose money .

Millionaire Media 66 W Flagler St. Ste. 900 Miami, FL 33130 United States (888) 878-3621 This is for information purposes only as Millionaire Media LLC nor Timothy Sykes is registered as a securities broker-dealer or an investment adviser. No information herein is intended as securities brokerage, investment, tax, accounting or legal advice, as an offer or solicitation of an offer to sell or buy, or as an endorsement, recommendation or sponsorship of any company, security or fund. Millionaire Media LLC and Timothy Sykes cannot and does not assess, verify or guarantee the adequacy, accuracy or completeness of any information, the suitability or profitability of any particular investment, or the potential value of any investment or informational source. The reader bears responsibility for his/her own investment research and decisions, should seek the advice of a qualified securities professional before making any investment, and investigate and fully understand any and all risks before investing. Millionaire Media LLC and Timothy Sykes in no way warrants the solvency, financial condition, or investment advisability of any of the securities mentioned in communications or websites. In addition, Millionaire Media LLC and Timothy Sykes accepts no liability whatsoever for any direct or consequential loss arising from any use of this information. This information is not intended to be used as the sole basis of any investment decision, nor should it be construed as advice designed to meet the investment needs of any particular investor. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future returns.

Citations for Disclaimer

Barber, Brad M. and Odean, Terrance, Trading is Hazardous to Your Wealth: The Common Stock Investment Performance of Individual Investors. Available at SSRN: “Day Trading for a Living?”

Barber, Brad M. and Lee, Yi-Tsung and Liu, Yu-Jane and Odean, Terrance and Zhang, Ke, Learning Fast or Slow? (May 28, 2019). Forthcoming: Review of Asset Pricing Studies, Available at SSRN: “https://ssrn.com/abstract=2535636”

Chague, Fernando and De-Losso, Rodrigo and Giovannetti, Bruno, Day Trading for a Living? (June 11, 2020). Available at SSRN: “https://ssrn.com/abstract=3423101”