May 9, 2023

Want to be a great leader?

Business success usually lies in the hands of a leader. From setting goals and making crucial decisions to motivating each team member, leaders take on many roles and responsibilities.

Now, you may be wondering, “What makes a good leader?” or “What leadership skills and qualities do you need to become an effective leader?” Keep scrolling to learn more about these characteristics and how you can develop them.

Empathy

Want to be a great leader? Make sure you’re empathetic with your team. Show compassion. Learn how to connect with them. Listen to their needs and concerns. By putting yourself in other people’s shoes, you can understand their thought processes and actions, avoid judgment, and show them that you genuinely care. Having such emotional intelligence fosters trust, hence allowing you to build a stronger relationship with your team members.  

Communication

Solid leadership requires solid communication skills. You should be able to communicate business goals, expectations, and tasks clearly. Whether it’s a one-on-one or group conversation in-person or via social media and other online platforms, you’re expected to maintain smooth communication with your team members or staff. 

Of course, being a good communicator also means being a good listener. Let your team express their concerns and motivate them without invalidating their feelings. This way, you can build a meaningful relationship with them.

Courage

One of the most important leadership skills and qualities, especially in the business industry, is courage. You should have the courage to speak up and do what is right but at the same time challenge ideas, innovate, and face difficult situations. 

You must also be courageous enough to accept feedback and own up to your mistakes. You’ll then gain the trust and respect of your team members and inspire them to take the leap, increasing your chances for business success. 

Self-Awareness

Self-awareness, authenticity, and humility result in exceptional leadership. You need to determine your strengths, acknowledge weaknesses, and strive to improve them. Wondering how to become a more self-aware leader? Gather feedback from your peers or team members. Stay open-minded and accept constructive criticism. This way, you can embrace an authentic leadership style that reflects who you are while still recognizing that you can keep improving as a leader.

Flexibility

Things don’t always go as planned, both in business and in life. That’s why you should be a flexible leader. Prepare yourself for the twists and turns. Learn to improvise and negotiate. Listen to your staff’s concerns, and be willing to apply the necessary changes. Regardless of how small or serious the problem is, you should have the adaptability and creativity to solve them. 

Vision

Being a good business leader means having a vision. You don’t simply visualize it, you also share it with your team and then urge everyone to work together to realize the vision and its purpose. You should be able to communicate why the team is pursuing a certain direction as well as present realistic action plans to achieve those goals.

Influence

A great leader has the ability to influence — not manipulate or control — others. You’re able to create positive impacts on other people’s behaviors and lives. To do this, you should inspire trust and confidence among your staff. Show transparency and authenticity. Involve the team in important business decisions and changes. Understand their values and needs. Build a connection, so you can influence them in a good way. 

Integrity

Integrity is about walking your talk. A leader who practices integrity is honest, ethical, and reliable. When you commit mistakes, you hold yourself accountable and do not point fingers or make excuses. You should also practice the company’s values and treat each team member fairly. This way, you can build trust and respect and inspire others to show integrity as well in everything they do. 

Eagerness To Learn

Successful leaders never stop learning. Hence, you should always be willing to learn and grow. Improve your skills or acquire new ones. Keep yourself updated with the most recent business trends. Learn new perspectives, so you can view your business from different angles and come up with different game plans. Attend leadership training and conferences. Don’t hesitate to seek help from others when you need to. While you learn and grow as a person, so does your business, so it’s a win-win situation!  

Delegation 

Being an effective leader also means knowing how to delegate effectively. Delegating tasks to different team members may be more challenging than accomplishing your own tasks. However, it’s delegation that promotes trust, autonomy, and at the same time, teamwork. They’ll feel that they've contributed greatly to the team, and you can also focus on other important tasks. What a way to let your business and the whole team grow!

Honing Yourself To Be a Good Leader

Some people may be born leaders, but leadership is something you can also develop with practice and experience. To help improve your leadership skills and qualities, perform the following. 

Determine Your Strengths and Weaknesses

Start by reflecting on your strengths and areas for improvement. List them down, and be specific. It’s often hard to remain objective when assessing yourself, so you might want to gain feedback from other people. Keep track of your improvement with a journal.

Establish Your Goals

As mentioned, a good leader has a clear vision. Hence, determine your goals first so you have a foresight of where your team or business is going. What are your short-term and long-term goals? Once you’ve identified them, develop specific action plans. They should be realistic and measurable.

Keep these goals aligned with the talents and skills of your team members and your business strategies. Then, communicate these goals clearly to the whole team, so they’ll feel valued, respected, and motivated.

Stay Disciplined

A clear vision without the discipline to stick to and realize your goals is useless. Simple things like attending meetings on time, following deadlines, and keeping commitments can make or break your business. Presenting a business proposal? Be disciplined enough to prepare for your presentation and do your research. Staying disciplined and dedicated will urge your team members to follow suit.  

Admit Your Mistakes and Move Forward 

Being an effective leader doesn’t mean you never commit mistakes. In fact, even the most influential leaders still make mistakes. It’s through these mistakes that you continue to grow. What matters is you make yourself responsible for these mistakes and correct them. 

If you’ve failed at something, be brave enough to assess what went wrong and how you can avoid committing the same mistake. Seek input from your team members. It’s not a sign of weakness. Rather, it just proves that you’re willing to grow and you value your team’s insights. At the same time, you’re promoting a culture of respect, learning, and growth.

Take Leadership Courses

Taking leadership courses can help strengthen your leadership skills and qualities. You will gain new knowledge and perspectives. You’ll know what mistakes to avoid and learn from real-life examples. You can also expand your network, giving your business more opportunities to grow. 

You will obtain certificates that will help boost your credibility and influence on your team and other people. With several leadership courses available online, you can continue learning at your own pace while effectively handling the team and your business. 

Get a Mentor

By having a mentor, you’ll receive proper guidance and adequate support to become a better leader. From identifying your goals to working on your areas for improvement and widening your network, a great mentor will help you achieve greater things for the team and your business.

Find someone who’s honest, credible, and trustworthy. Anyone can be your mentor, like a professor you trust, admire, and are comfortable with, or another successful business owner that inspires you. Meet with them as often as you can, listen to their stories, accept their constructive feedback, and learn from them.

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Luigi Prestinenzi
Co-Founder at Growth Forum

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