What kind of business leader are you? Are you effective or struggling? Do people brighten up when you waltz into the room or do your employees scurry for cover? Well, it’s hard to tell, because people will always be people. Besides, there are many kinds of leadership – effective or not.
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Still, to be the leader in a wolf pack, you must embody some characteristics. You have to be brave, strong and ferocious – you know, the full package. In business, you need that and more. I mean, you have to be a leader made of steel but with a soft inside. That last part is especially important since it wins over your team earning you admiration and respect.
If you’re looking to learn how to be a successful business leader, today’s post shines light on seven universal traits you must master. Sure as the sun rising in the East, you can learn and hone these traits, and come out the other end a leader teams love anywhere in the world.
Sounds amazing, right? Read on to learn how you can up your leadership game.
7 Traits of a Successful Business Leader
A great leader is authentic to the core. They are self-aware, and have a keen understanding of their strengths and weaknesses.
If you don’t know your weaknesses, you’ll only play to your strengths, which ultimately makes you and the business you represent vulnerable.
On the other hand, masking your weaknesses will only stop you from getting solutions, which is just as bad.
Stay true to who you are from the word go. How? Find inspiration in everything that transpires around you. In other words, be genuinely interested in your business, employees and so on.
In some circles, they call this being real. If you’re true to yourself, you will have the mettle to conjure pragmatic approaches in every situation – good or bad.
Highly successful business leaders embrace the uniqueness and distinctiveness of their authentic leadership style. Only by doing so will you achieve the extraordinary. In other words, forget labels, social constructs and trying to win the approval of others.
Successful business leaders are a charismatic lot with an overdose of optimism. They are as enthusiatic as they are inspiring. It is the kind of folk you want to hang out with at all times.
And do you know why they seem to radiate energy? It is all because they are super-excited about their goals. Where does this leave you? Constantly re-evaluate and remind yourself of your goals and dreams.
Have a clear picture of the future you so wish to create, and then excitedly work towards achieving that vision.
If you’re excited about your goals and the work you do, you’ll find inspiration in every moment as well as inspire employees who look up to you.
That’s why it’s critical to do what you love. Passion is the most attractive trait of any successful business leader. Or as Steve Jobs once said:
“People with passion can change the world for the better.”
Legendary leaders lead by example, so strive to show (and not tell) your team what true enthusiasm and dedication to excellence looks like on a daily basis.
It goes without saying that if people will follow you, you must lead with passion. Look at all legendary leaders throughout history; they were all passionate people who inspired the masses to achieve the impossible.
After all, who is willing to shed blood, sweat and tears for someone who is lazy and less enthusiatic? Not you, we know that for sure.
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Don’t get it twisted, bravery in our context means having a cocktail of virtues such as courage, endurance and self-confidence among others.
When storms comes, and come they will, organizations that survive have fearless leaders at the helms. A successful business leader is never a victim of fear.
Instead, they remain resilient and steadfast even when everybody around them wants to throw in the towel. And since fear doesn’t incapacitate great leaders, they aren’t afraid of taking risks and trying new ideas – a quality that often saves many a company from the brink of collapse.
A fearless leader offers a company the strength and glue it needs to stay put in the face of challenges. As such, you should have the self-confidence to decide and take action, and back your stand no matter the opposition.
At the same time, you don’t want to be inflexible, since leading with an iron fist usually results in fear, indifference and subjectivity – all the things you don’t want.
Even the best of plans go awry for one reason or another, but no matter what happens, you have to persevere.
You must remain unruffled and persist in achieving your goals, whether or not you have all the answers at any given time. In other words, always believe in yourself and keep pushing forward. Sylvester Stallone says it better in Rocky Balboa:
“…it ain’t how hard you hit. It’s how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. It’s about how much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!”
It’s true you can’t possibly know everything that is there to know. Still, it pays to have factual and timely information regarding your company and the marketplace at all times.
Knowledge is power they say, and to be a great powerful leader, you need to keep up with the latest news, trends and learn continuously.
According to Maryville University, present-day businesses are looking for tech-driven employee training methods and structures to manage workers (especially remote workers). This means there’s a growing demand for forward-thinking and modern leaders who can bring about organizational change.
Don’t get comfortable in your corner office and fall out of touch with your industry. Successful business leaders keep a finger on the pulse of what’s happening, meaning they can stay ahead of the curve at all times.
Yes, I know you have shiny academic and professional accolades from the best institutions. But successful business leaders are life-long learners because they are aware that business, just like the world around them, is constantly changing.
It takes a lot of creative juice to come up with new ideas that push your business agenda forward. The ability to come up with innovative ideas is what keeps successful leaders thriving.
Making a company profitable is no small feat. What’s even harder is keeping the company afloat and profitable for many years to come.
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As such, you need all the creativity you can get to survive in the market. Remember, just like all the other traits of a successful business leader in this post, you can learn creativity with time, training and effort.
There are many ways of learning how to be creative, so you’re covered in this regard. Odd as it seems, simple ways of triggering your creative genius include:
- Listening to music
- Playing (including video games that require physical movement)
- Reading, obviously and
- Prompting yourself to think of new ideas among others
Couple creative ideas, knowledge and strategic planning, and you have the power to take over the business world by storm. But first, you must come up with ideas that leave people wondering, “Wow! How did they do that?”
Creativity makes you a highly competitive business leader. If you ask around, each successful leader puts a lot of thought and effort in ways to remain creative.
You won’t get your team to respect you by flashing your superiority badge around. Earning respect within your company without remind people you’re the shot caller/boss/CEO/founder is the true definition of integrity.
Integrity also means you have high moral standards, firm principles and people hold you in high regard. A respectable leader is humble yet assertive, hardworking, a team player and understanding among other things.
Integrity has everything to do with your ego. Master your ego, and integrity follows. Learn how to make firm decisions, but give humility a chance to shine by remaining open to the input team members offer.
In other words, be a noble leader, both at and out of work. It’s empowering when you embody qualities such as honor, loyalty, honesty, fairness, accountability and selflessness among others.
A honorable leader provides direction and purpose in any business. With time, this sense of integrity (or nobility) is embedded into the culture of the company.
Integrity in your company starts with no one else but you. And yes, it includes abiding to company principles and ideals as well as general business ethics.
Effective communication is a key ingredient of any successful relationship be it business or personal. I can’t recount the number of times I have found myself in a tight spot due to poor communication while running my business.
A lot of problems in any company can be solved with good communication skills. In most cases, the problems wouldn’t arise in the first place were it not for poor communication.
And if you had no idea, poor communication causes a number of problems such as negativity, mistrust, low morale, abseentism and bad interpersonal relationships among other things.
For this reason, you must know when to speak and when to shut up and listen. Every successful business leader must perfect the art of communicating.
How else will your team know what you want? They need to see and understand your vision the way you see it in your mind.
Other than that, how can you ever hope to persuade anyone to join your cause if your communication skills suck? As you can see, poor communication presents a lot of problems, and it’s unbecoming of a leader worth their salt.
Express your ideas clearly and without ambiguity. If your team doesn’t know what you want, they will fall short, so be as specific as you possibly can.
Becoming a successful business leader involves building your character, expertise and soft skills so you can take your business to the next level.
Just master the traits in this post keeping in mind there exists many other traits you can learn to transform into a formidable leader.
This post is simply a good starting point for your leadership journey. Note that mastering each of these traits takes time and practice.
Do you know other traits of a successful business leader? Please share your tips, thoughts and questions in the comment section below. Cheers and good luck champion.