5 Qualities Business Leaders Can Learn from Pro 'Fortnite' Players - Rolling Stone
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5 Qualities that Business Leaders Can Learn from Pro ‘Fortnite’ Players

Who knew there was so much to learn about business leadership from teenaged esports athletes? 


jjfarq — stock.adobe.com

Opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of Rolling Stone editors or publishers.

Millions of players new and experienced have thought of breaking into the professional side of Fortnite, one of the most popular games in the world. Players can experience a variety of skill levels in any given match. Some players, like Bugha, dominate their matches with superior building techniques. Others struggle to make it into the top 20, let alone earn a Victory Royale by surviving to the end.

The same is true for entrepreneurs and executives. While some rise to the top due to certain inherent qualities, other skilled business leaders plateau or stagnate before reaching their full potential.

The difference between an amateur and a pro — or a manager and a magnate — stems from the qualities residing within the individuals themselves, not just their inherent skill level. Anyone can have a good game in Fortnite or cut a good deal, but not everybody can consistently play or hustle at a high level. Here are five qualities that help distinguish the exceptional from the average in both esports and in business.


Before aspiring to become the next Bugha, players must understand that getting better at Fortnite takes practice and patience. For every one prodigy, there are hundreds more who have to make up talent with work ethic. The same philosophy rings true in business.

Amateur players may know the best spots to drop on the map or memorize every chest location, but none of that matters without the skills to act on that knowledge. However, building those skills can take time as pro players sometimes practice all day to keep their skills sharp. Not only is patience a quality needed for esports pros, but it’s also a necessary quality for successful business leaders. Having a work ethic is half the battle — cultivating patience is crucial to achieving long-term goals.

Lack of time can be a hindrance, but impatience can be an obstacle in its own right. Impatience can lead to frustration; frustration leads to poor performance or burnout. A true business leader has much to learn from this, since a company’s growth and an individual’s career trajectory rarely go exactly to plan. Only those who are patient enough to hold out through the early and often difficult stages of growth will ultimately succeed.

Hunger for Knowledge

Working in tandem with patience, pro players have a hunger for knowledge to keep improving. Part of this comes from the constantly changing nature of Fortnite and its updates. The other part comes from the fact that most pro players don’t go past their 30s in professional play. A 16-year-old teenager has faster reaction times than a 26-year-old adult, even without training.

To make up for this disadvantage, players need to be aware of all the tips and tricks available. Knowledge, especially in a game like Fortnite, gets far better mileage. It’s the difference between rushing a squad on a hill with low materials and picking off two squads skirmishing to reap the rewards.

This parallels business success too. If you want to succeed in entrepreneurship, you have to constantly be seeking out ways to take your game to the next level. Continuing education is a must for all successful business leaders, as the ever-changing market requires constant adaptation for one to remain competitive.

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Consistency is something that is of the utmost importance in esports. Traditional sports like football or baseball rely on players working together to secure victory. Fortnite can be similar, but one poor performance is much more detrimental. Because of the industry’s youth, in addition to the fast-paced nature of most of these games, a pro has to be consistent.

Just like an esports competitor, entrepreneurs have to remain consistent too. It’s easy to rest on your laurels after securing a big deal or partnership when, in truth, you need to build momentum in business rather than rest on it. In today’s fast-paced business environment, consistent performance is a stand-out quality in leaders.


Building in Fortnite is just as important as the other mechanics of shooting and movement. What to build, when to edit, where to edit, where to place a build, all of these questions fly through a player’s mind during a skirmish. A pro player will have the creative ability to deduce the best action needed in a build-off in tenths of a second.

The same is true in business. To succeed, you need to anticipate where the market is headed before your competition does. Then, you have to be the first to adapt to it by finding innovative solutions that respond to emerging market demands.


Making it to the pros, winning tournaments and earning a lot of money is a dream that can become a nightmare if not handled properly. Burnout is especially prevalent among pro esports players. Rounding off this list is discipline. A pro understands when to take a break and recover and when to set aside time to practice. Moreover, a pro knows how to stay out of trouble.

You guessed it — business leaders also have to be disciplined. Sure, consistent routines and showing up ready to work every day is crucial, as is managing one’s public image in a responsible way. But, listening to your body and mind is also key since you have to know when to step away from the office and take a break for the sake of your mental health.


Becoming a professional Fortnite player is not all about kill-death ratios. It also includes being a student of the game and eager to learn more with each patch. Having a creative mind to expand a player’s presence in-game and in real life is essential to building a pro brand. But that wouldn’t be possible without the drive to continually improve or possessing the discipline to maintain a high level of play expected by a pro.

If you want to make it in business, you also have to embody these qualities. Patience, creativity, consistency, discipline and continual education are the cornerstones of business (and gaming) success. Who knew there was so much to learn about business leadership from teenaged esports athletes?


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