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As entrepreneurs such as Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffett have known for years, to become a truly great business leader, it is important to see the world as employees, customers, and clients see it. Providing a stellar product or service in the business world is all about leveraging the strength of interpersonal relationships and understanding differing viewpoints in order to reach a superior level of excellence. Here are just a few great interpersonal qualities to develop as a leader, and why they often open the doors to real success.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask

Too often in life, people are afraid to ask questions for fear of admitting that they don’t have all the answers. The good news is that the ability to ask questions is actually a positive trait in the cutthroat worlds of customer service and leadership. It might seem scary at first to ask questions and show vulnerability, but truly exceptional leaders see value in drawing on the expertise and viewpoints of others.

Develop a Reputation for Openness

Most businesses, from family-owned corner stores to multinational corporations, value an employee’s ability to work as a cohesive member of a team with unified goals and upstanding character. Remaining open to the opinions and viewpoints of others is a key way to show others that they are valued and that their concerns have meaning. Openness is a great leadership quality that demonstrates to employees and customers alike that you genuinely care — a characteristic that is of the utmost importance.

Be Serious About Your Responsibilities

The nature of human society at this point is, unfortunately, that you cannot trust in the fact that a person’s actions will match their words. Talking a good game can persuade others to take your side, but ultimately if your actions don’t follow suit then your long-term results will be less than desirable. This is why it is so important for leaders to develop a sense of follow-through on their promises. As the actions of many successful leaders will show, business success is a marathon, not a sprint!

Make Customers and Clients Your Focus

When internal drama and/or stress are abundant, it is easy to forget that company success hinges upon the happiness of customers. Without customers, after all, a business would not last long. Life can and will be stressful at times, but overcoming problems to deliver stellar service is the mark of a truly great leader. It also sets a fantastic example for your team, providing them with a behavior and conduct model for all of their customer interactions based on leadership.