They certainly weren’t born with leadership qualities. In fact, like ordinary people they too had bad habits and failed a few times before finally becoming the renowned heroes that they are. So what exactly is their secret? Did they and all the other successful leaders have a formula for being the best at what they do?

Be it in business, warfare, or society in general, these leaders all share certain qualities that get them ahead of everyone else.

1. Vision

Everybody can have an idea, but it takes a person with vision to actually look beyond that concept and see the possibilities – and other ideas – that can be generated by that one thought.

2. Conviction

Of course, the next step is propagating that idea. The question “Is it worth it?” matters little to a successful leader. What is important is that he believes in it, because from there he gets the self-confidence, the courage, and the commitment to follow through.

3. Focus

A person who has decided to fight for his convictions must do so through hard work and perseverance. All successful leaders exhibit this behavior: they are unwavering in their dedication to their cause, and will find ways to see things to the end.

4. Willingness to take risk

Successful leaders know that all things involve risk, but this does not stop them from pursuing their goals. They prepare themselves for choices that have to be made, and are aware that some can be harder than others, but eventually they take comfort in the knowledge that it’s all part of the learning process.

5. Humility

Great leaders have a healthy attitude when it comes to the work at hand. They know they can’t do everything alone, and aren’t ashamed to ask for help. They are willing to admit their mistakes, and find ways to make things right. They can admit when they’re wrong and do not point fingers, and apologize when the situation calls for it.

6. Foresight

One remarkable trait of successful leaders is having the sense to put a back-up plan in place. Being committed to and focused on a cause are admirable qualities, but without foresight, this attitude becomes useless and irrelevant – simply because that person didn’t take it one step further.

7. Communication

Finally, to be like any successful leader, one must know how to communicate with the people he works with. He has to learn to develop interpersonal skills, enough to be able to inspire and motivate others. Through empathy he gains their loyalty and respect, which naturally work to his advantage: it makes reaching the goal much easier and faster, with very little issues along the way.