What makes a great leader in business? Are these skills inherent or can they be learned and honed? Let’s dive a little deeper to find out…
Leaders by Occupation or by Attributes?
When it comes to business and entrepreneurship, a leader’s role is to craft a strategic, high-level vision and help propel their team forward. This can be easier said than done, as managing and motivating a team can be hard work (just ask anyone who’s ever done it). Plenty of people claim the title “leader,” but how many actually make thoughtful decisions, motivate effectively, and truly inspire their clients and teams?
While there are many valuable traits and characteristics that make for a successful leader, these eight stand out as some of the most critical…
1. Show Integrity
Being honest and setting high ethical standards builds trust with clients and teammates in a business setting. True leaders hold themselves accountable for their actions, which builds client and employee retention and encourages successful performance all around.
“Do what you feel in your heart to be right, for you’ll be criticized anyway.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
2. Seek Advice
In many instances, a leader is sought out to give advice. After all, their opinions are valuable and they typically have firsthand knowledge and experiences worth sharing. But a good leader knows they don’t have to have all the answers and is also willing to seek advice from mentors, team members, and other thought leaders in their industry. Seeking advice from other leaders or team members demonstrates a confidence in their ability to provide valuable insights, and they’re sure to appreciate being asked!
“It’s okay to admit what you don’t know. It’s okay to ask for help. And it’s more than okay to listen to the people you lead – in fact, it’s essential.” – Mary Barra (CEO, General Motors)
3. Continue to Learn
In the world we live in, things are always changing. Staying in the know and continuing to learn helps develop and adopt creative and innovative strategies to further business success. Continued learning can also help keep a leader on par with (or even ahead of) their competition, adding more value to the business and helping to increase client retention.
“The ability to learn is the most important quality a leader can have.” – Padmasree Warrior (CEO & Founder, Fable)
4. Serve the Team, Not the Leader
Being a servant leader means prioritizing the greater good over an individual’s needs. Teams thrive when they have a leader who works toward collective goals everyone can celebrate. This support can help empower team members, build confidence, and allow for better collaboration. By using this approach, a leader can help propel their business or brand forward by way of a communal, inclusive work environment—and yes, your customers will notice!
“Leadership is not a person or a position. It is a complex moral relationship between people based on trust, obligation, commitment, emotion, and a shared vision of the good.” – Joanne Ciulla (Author & Educator)
5. Be Decisive
Making decisions, both large and small, comes with the territory of leadership. A decisive leader exudes confidence in their abilities when they make informed decisions. Sometimes it can be difficult to determine an appropriate course of action; having a leader who can see the big picture and weigh the options for the best possible outcome is necessary to success. With that, a good leader makes the choice that is collectively the best decision for the group or client, not the decision that they alone feel is best.
“People respond well to those that are sure of what they want.” – Anna Wintour (Editor-in-Chief, Vogue)
6. Practice Strong Communication
We’re not just talking about verbal communication, but also communication through action. By using communication as a means to create action and lead others, you can help improve efficiency, boost productivity, and influence others in a positive way overall.
Something to keep in mind: Communication is about more than talking. To effectively communicate, it takes a great deal of listening and receptiveness, otherwise there’s likely to be a disconnect between you and the people you’re communicating with.
“Ninety percent of leadership is the ability to communicate something people want.” – Dianne Feinstein (U.S. Senator)
7. Express Passion
People are energized by leaders who are passionate about what they do. When someone is passionate, it shows they’re genuinely interested and invested, which lends to creating an emotional connection. In business, passion can be a huge (often underrated) differentiator in why a client or employee chooses to work with you over a competitor.
“Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.” – Oprah Winfrey (Media Executive & Philanthropist)
8. Take Risks
There comes a time when there is an opportunity to take a risk and try something unconventional. While it can be a bit daunting to take risks for fear that maybe it won’t really work the way you plan; a true leader knows that failure is a part of the process. You have to take some risks to discover new avenues and innovations. Additionally, risk-taking leads to learning and becoming more efficient at being strategic for future business decisions.
“Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” – Muriel Strode (Poet)
More than Qualities… It Takes the Right Environment
All in all, there’s no recipe of qualities that make for the “perfect” leader. In fact, there are plenty of other traits that can contribute to success in any industry. While some of these qualities are inherent to certain personalities, anyone has the ability to practice and learn ways they can become a more effective leader.
At Asen, we know behind every great leader there’s a strong, hardworking, and qualified team supporting initiatives for success. Using marketing strategies that empower teams and elevate businesses, we’re proud to help leaders find continued success through collaborative work environments and open, honest communication.
Ready to take your team to the next level? Let’s chat to see how we can help you grow, rise, and thrive!