Good business leaders are bred, not born. So lest you think there is some innate quality that imbues a person with leadership ability, think again. With proper knowledge, training, and experience, anyone can become a good leader. But you have to be willing to learn, listen, and adapt as needed, at the very least. And you have to spend some time developing the skills that will make you a valued and trusted leader in your industry. Here are just a few essential qualities you must embody in order to become a great business leader.
- Public speaking. As a business leader you will be expected to effectively deliver instructions to employees concerning work to be done, as well as communicate with executives, partners, vendors, clients, and possibly even a board of directors. In other words, you need to be confident, eloquent, concise, and compelling. It’s a tall order, but an essential one if you want to be an effective and respected leader.
- Almost as important as your ability to effectively communicate your directives to others is your willingness to listen to what employees have to say. They are an invaluable resource when it comes to pinpointing problems and areas of waste that could be decreasing productivity. And you need to be aware of instances of dissatisfaction and low morale as these can also affect your profits. Properly incentivizing employees to ensure the best possible performance is part of being a leader, and this often requires you to pay attention to those you supervise, listen to what they have to say, and make appropriate changes. Remember that the lines of communication flow both ways.
- You expect your employees to work hard on the company’s behalf. And you must demonstrate the same level of commitment, or even greater drive. This could mean long hours. It could mean taking the time to resolve employee disputes or make yourself available to address questions and concerns. And it definitely means working just as hard as (or harder than) everyone else to achieve goals and be successful.
- Positive attitude. Okay, let’s be clear on this point. You never want to let negativity undermine your ability to lead and encourage productivity. On the other hand, there’s no need to affect a falsely positive air. If things are going wrong, bring the issues out in the open so that you can discuss them and find a way to move on and do better in the future. Honesty is just as important as maintaining a positive environment, and often the former contributes immensely to the latter.
- A plan for success. Whether you’re running a small business or operating a multi-national conglomerate, you can take a page from the Naisa Global playbook when it comes to leadership development: planning is essential for success. It’s always good to encourage employees to be creative and let them know their contributions are appreciated, but you’re the leader for a reason. So create a plan, allowing for some measure of flexibility, and carry it out to completion.