The way we think inevitably influences the way we act. Positive thoughts grow into positive attitudes which, in turn, grow into positive outcomes – and negative thoughts unfortunately have the tendency to do the same.

So how do successful leaders manage to think differently from the rest of us on a consistent basis? We take a look at five key traits.

1. They don’t just think of themselves but include others – you’ll find that while most of us talk about our hopes and dreams in terms of, ‘I hope I get’ or ‘ I want to do this or that’, successful leaders will always put others first. They’ll talk about their team or the people they lead and put them at the forefront of their plans. Linked to this, rather than thinking of success as something to be achieved as an individual, great leaders will understand that it’s the diverse strengths of a team which are more likely to create and maintain outstanding results.

2. They see solutions not problems – this is a real mindset one. Of course problems inevitably come along from time to time and they need our attention to solve them. The danger with only thinking about the problem, though, is that it can just throw up more problems. Successful people have the knack of focusing on solutions rather than getting bogged down with the original problem. This frees them up to see more opportunities.

3. They simplify – it’s all too easy to get wrapped up in the detail and before you know it find you’ve made things much more complicated than they need to be. Successful leaders are skilled at cutting through any unnecessary information so they can focus on the heart of the matter. This is what enables them to solve problems quickly and effectively.

4. They stay focused and don’t get distracted – modern life is distracting, there’s no two ways about it; emails bombarding you from all directions, phone calls, social media… It’s sometimes difficult to have the discipline to keep your mind on the task in hand. Successful leaders have the strength of purpose, however, to see things through to completion, no matter what’s going on around them.

5. They ask ‘How can we do this with excellence?’ The temptation to cut a few corners when timelines or budgets are tight may sometimes arise. A successful leader, however, won’t approach a project with an attitude of ‘Now let’s get this done’ but rather ‘How can do we do this with excellence?’ This runs through everything they do, leads them to give their all and inspires those around them. As a result, this kind of thinking leads to remarkable outcomes.