Top Tools Successful Leaders Use

Great leadership can’t be forced, but using the right tools can help you get on the right track.

Successful business leaders are sure to use a wide range of software tools. With the range of modern apps, leaders can use tools for business planning and insight, communication, productivity and more. But for this post we want to focus in on one crucial element of successful leadership: collaboration.

“Global virtual teams are the norm, not the exception. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, videoconferencing, and a host of other technologies have put connectivity on steroids and enabled new forms of collaboration that would have been impossible a short while ago.”


~ Harvard Business Review

The success of a company is dependent on much more than the sum of its individual parts. In this post, we explore several popular collaboration tools and how they have been used by business leaders.



Slack is primarily a group messaging app that offers collaboration features. Users can participate in open discussions, direct messages and take advantage of the deep search feature. The tool features file sharing and integration with other collaboration tools like Dropbox and Google Drive.

More than anything, leaders can use slack to break down barriers in communication. As one user says, “Everyone can contribute ideas and participate, using instant messaging so there is no need to use corporate emails within Slack.”



Trello is a free collaboration tool based on the Kanban organizational system. Users can organize tasks and to dos in individual cards, complete with deadlines, reminders, attachments and collaborative ability.

Leaders will find the app helpful in encouraging employees to take on more responsibility in project management. One user notes that it helps add accountability to projects: “It helps administrators to get a sense of how the team is doing and set priorities.”



Airtable is billed as a collaboration platform for everything from product management to content pipelines. The flexible platform lets users build personalized workflows and collaborate on calendars, card tasks, forms and documents. The collaboration features include tagging, direct messaging, group chat and more.

For leaders, the biggest draw of Airtable is its functionality mixed with user friendliness. One manager concludes: “The combination of a minimal learning curve and features make Airtable a win.”



Asana is a pure collaboration and task management product. The tool goes beyond project management by allowing easy tracking and collaboration on tasks, projects, conversations, documents and dashboards. Leaders can even use the app for time tracking and GANTT charts.

One co-founder notes how the app improves communication in the team that he leads: “The comments feature in each section, task and subtask allow all the tag people to view the questions and comments of the assigned team members.”



Basecamp doubles as a project management and collaboration platform. Features include to do lists, file sharing, time tracking, messages and task management. Users can customize the platform to their needs.

One director highlights how Basecamp helps her involve team members in decisions and keep communication clear, saying the platform lets her “generate ideas, make plans, and hold team members accountable.” The benefit is a clear inbox and an empowered team.

Brooklin Nash writes about the latest tools and small business trends for TrustRadius. When he’s not writing, you can find him reading YA dystopian fiction (with guilty pleasure) and cooking.


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