Business needs change with time and what an enterprise needs in a leader shifts with the company. Some firms may look for an innovator, others for a captain who can simply steer the ship effectively. Others yet may want someone who can speak well and inspire others. In that regard, there truly is no “best set” of attributes that all leaders should have – rather, what defines optimal leadership skill sets is affected by the time, place and the company in question.

That being said, there are a number of attributes many firms do find desirable. Here are four of the more noteworthy ones:

1. The ability to influence others
Few firms want managers who lead by positional authority and nothing else. Being an effective manager relies heavily on understanding the individual needs of employees and using the influence style that works best. If leaders are not getting the results they want, they need to rethink how they utilize influence.

2. The ability to identify talent
Leaders always have to think one step ahead, and that starts by being able to recognize the leaders and managers of tomorrow, today. There are some businesses that seem to be able to put forth effective leader after effective leader, no matter who leaves the company or retires, and that is in large part due to some firms’ ability to pinpoint talent.

“It takes a village to make amazing things happen,” Forbes explained. “That’s why great leaders surround themselves with other great minds. Steve Jobs was always on the hunt for talent in unique ways, like accepting invitations to lecture at universities so he could scout potential employees. Jobs personally interviewed over 5,000 applicants during his lifetime, managing all the hiring for his team.”

3. The drive to sally forth
The common stereotype for the most successful businesses is that they start from the most humble beginnings and blossom into something huge. The leader may start the company while at school or on a shoestring budget, working from his or her parents’ garage. But ultimately, these professionals have the drive to keep on keeping on until they accomplish their dreams.

Leaders do not have to take that specific route, but they do need to have the drive to keep on moving forward, even when they run into obstacles.

4. Accountability
Leaders have a lot of responsibility within the office and it is critical they are able to accomplish the tasks they are assigned. However, there will always come a time when, for one reason or another, they cannot accomplish everything they set out to do – perhaps resources got cut short or the scope of a project was too grand from the get-go.

In that case, it is critical that businesses are accountable for their actions and do not try to pass the buck. Businesses need a straight-shooter who is reliable and responsible.