It’s a term that is branded around a lot in the business world, but ask the Average Joe what “leadership” really means and you’ll probably be returned with a blank face. In truth, it’s become a bit of a buzzword – and a little clarity is required.

This is the reason we have enlisted the help of Stephen Varanko III. Varanko is someone who knows all about leadership, having enjoyed a very successful career in business. We have spoken to him about what really defines the word, and what any budding businessman or woman should be looking to act like.

Attribute #1 – Vision

The very best leaders in the world have a vision and will do everything in their power to stick to it. One only has to take a look at Steve Jobs, and his defiance on certain elements of the Apple business, to see this in action.

Rather than following someone else’s vision, true leaders will define their own. Not only this, but they will proceed to inspire others in a bid to make such visions a reality.

Attribute #2 – Empathy

This is one of those attributes that is often undersold, but truth be told empathy is something that the very best leaders in the world have in abundance. Some will refer to it as emotional intelligence; the ability for a leader to think about a situation from someone else’s perspective and think how they are feeling.

Any person who can do this will prove to be extremely versatile and be able to position themselves to anyone ranging from their own customers, to their senior management team.

Attribute #3 – Risk taking

A caveat should be added for this next point. After all, there is taking risks, and then there is taking calculated risks. It should go without saying that the best leaders in the world fall into the latter category.

When it comes to risk taking, few would disagree that an element of bravery comes into the picture here. True leaders are those which are comfortable making those tough decisions, after calculating all of the possible repercussions.

Attribute #4 – Continuous improvement

A true leader is someone who doesn’t accept their current situation, but instead looks to continuously improve. They will find ways to improve in both themselves and other people, and take actions to initiate this improvement. In other words, they are happy to accept that they sometimes don’t have certain strengths, but will take the required steps to at least try and gain them in the future.

Attribute #5 – Motivation

It is down to a leader to motivate a team and ultimately get the best out of them. This point links up a lot of the others we have talked about; whether it’s continuously improving the team, or attempting to help them follow the vision. If the leader of an organization cannot motivate, it’s safe to say that those below him or her are going to struggle to do so as well.