When we are talking about the anatomy of a great business leader, we are talking about the skills and qualities they possess in order to thrive when making it out on their own. There will be some aspects of their character that they are born with, and others that they have acquired through years of training and experience. We will take a closer look at these attributes below. When reading, ask yourself this question. Do any of these qualities apply to me? You may not possess all of them (but well done if you do), but there may be some aspects you can work on to improve your presence as a business leader.
A good business leader has…
The drive to succeed
It’s tough being in business, and there are so many obstacles in your way. From the threat of the competition to keeping up with the demands of the customer marketplace, a business leader won’t get far by quitting when times are tough. To succeed, you need to know how to beat your rivals, manage customer expectation, and have the thick skin to keep going despite the pressure and stress that comes with the job.
A head for business
Anybody can start a business, but not everybody is cut out to follow things through. There is so much to think about, including having clear objectives, being financially savvy, and having a knowledge of trading laws. In short, if you don’t know what you are doing, you are going to run into a whole world of problems. Admittedly, some of us can learn as we go along, but a little bit of business sense is necessary at the beginning.
An understanding of finances
Money makes the world go round, and this is particularly true in business. While a business leader can rely on an accountant for advice regards some financial decisions, there still needs to be an awareness on where to cut back or spend money on a daily basis. A good business leader will invest money where it matters, such as staff training, but will cut back on simple expenses, such as sourcing cheap printer cartridges rather than going for the expensive option.
A pleasing personality
People person or not, the business leader needs to have the ability to impress the people that matter in business. Staff, customers, and clients are just some of the people who need to have confidence in the business leader. How this is shown is up to the individual, but generally, a nice smile, the ability to listen, and good manners, are all attributes that make up a pleasing personality.
The ability to communicate effectively
Tied into the previous point, but there are so many facets to communication. Whether face-to-face, on the phone, or through the written word, the business leader needs excellent communication skills. This includes communicating their vision to the staff team, spreading the word about their business to the outside world, and being able to interact with customers in a professional and courteous manner. A good communicator also knows when to take the hard line, being unafraid to be firm with a slacking employee, for example, or having the ability to successfully finalise a business deal.
The ability to delegate
We can’t all be a master of everything, so a good business leader has the ability to know when to delegate or outsource particular jobs. This takes humility, with the willingness to let one’s weaknesses be laid bare. This also involves wisdom, as even though the leader may have the skills for the work at hand, they will be burning themselves out if they take on too much responsibility.
A hard-working attitude
Asking the employees to stay on task, while not practising the same attitude, is not a successful attribute of a business leader. Instead, there is the need to lead by example, and this includes getting their hands dirty with the more menial tasks within business. When the employees recognise the hard-working attitude of their boss, they will be encouraged to perform with the same zeal. On the other hand, a lack of dedication and laziness will demotivate staff, and the business won’t succeed if the hands driving it belong to a shirker!
The initiative to make decisions
The business leader will face many problems during the day. While some of these will be easy to solve, there will be others that are more demanding. They will require the leader to make an informed choice, which may sometimes be to the detriment of something else. A leader who dithers and procrastinates is not going to get the job done. From clients to employees, the leader needs to deal with the issue at hand for the betterment of the entire business.
An honest approach
A good reputation is everything in business, so the business leader needs to retain an honest approach in all aspects of the job. This includes not making false promises to staff or customers, and not being underhand with finances and third-party information. There are many unscrupulous business people, but the leader needs to have the moral strength to avoid anybody who may impact both personal and professional reputation.
The ability to take responsibility
Not everything goes to plan, and if the business leader makes a mistake, they need to own up to their responsibility for the matter. Trying to shift the blame onto somebody else is an unwise and hurtful move, and trying to cover up the mistake may have repercussions down the line. Instead, the leader needs to own up to the mistake, as while there is the risk of losing face, they will maintain their credibility and integrity as a result.
These are just a few of the aspects we think are integral to the make-up of a business leader. How many did you relate to? It’s possible you can relate those attributes to others you have met during your time in business, so learn from their good or bad examples. It’s not easy being a leader, but if you have what it takes, you do have the ability to go far in your chosen field.