10 Top Leadership Qualities for Entrepreneurs, Managers, and other Business Leaders
Being a good leader is more important than ever. Whether you’re dealing with difficult economic times, the need to diversify your workforce, or another pressing issue, the way you lead your company makes a huge difference to employees’ motivation and your future success.
Leadership skills can be learned, so it’s important to develop leadership qualities.
According to the 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer, 64% of people expect CEOs to take the lead on policy rather than wait for governments. But how can you lead effectively if you don’t feel confident as a leader? A good leader makes a good team, so it’s important to develop leadership qualities.
The good news is that leadership skills can be learned. In this guide, I’ll share ten top attributes of a great leader that entrepreneurs, managers and business leaders should work on.
Why It Pays to Develop a Good Leadership Style
Before we get into the key characteristics of a leader, let’s look at why it matters to your business. One of the key words to describe a great leader is inspirational—someone who excels at motivating others to take responsibility and to excel.
Good leadership sets an example that others in the organization will follow. That’s why Inspirational leaders get more from their employees. And that, in turn, makes for a happier and more productive workplace.
Some of the key qualities of a good leader include communication, social responsibility, integrity, empathy and vision. In the rest of this guide, I’ll explore these and other leadership qualifications, outlining what they are, why they’re important and how you can improve or develop these skills.
Communication is the act of, or ability to, give and get information. Communication isn’t just about listening and speaking, or reading and writing, but also about observing non-verbal cues.
Unsurprisingly, good communication is one of the most important qualities of a leader. Being able to communicate well means everyone on the team will understand your expectations. Equally important, you’ll understand what matters to employees and what’s happening in any interaction.
Some ways to improve your communication skills include:
- Learn to read body language and other forms of non-verbal communication.
- Ask questions to encourage team members and employees to share their thoughts.
- Focus on key points to avoid wasting time.
When thinking about what makes a great leader, the ability to connect with people throughout the organization in a genuine way is another important quality. When people feel connected to you, then you’ve got a stronger company that’s better able to cope with whatever situations it finds.
T-Three Consultancy says you can become a more connected leader by:
- learning more about your employees
- helping them to deal with challenges and develop skills
- being vulnerable, and asking for help when you need it
According to Edelman, 56% of people don’t trust those who stay silent on important issues. More than ever, customers expect businesses to show their ethics—and abide by them. In other words, companies and their leaders must do the right thing.
One key reason to do this is to safeguard your reputation. Ethical businesses also result in better employee performance and retention. If you’re going to show your integrity as a leader, it makes sense to:
- Define your values and the company’s values.
- Create a code of conduct or code of ethics.
- Make ethics part of performance evaluations.
- Live by the code you’ve set out.
Find other resources on how to be an ethical leader in:
- Social Responsibility
Some people see big business as having a “take, take, take” attitude. But what they want to see, especially young consumers, is businesses that put something back.
Like integrity, showing corporate social responsibility can help your brand get known for the right reasons. And you can help people, too. So, consider:
- purchasing resources for a charitable organization
- donating money for a good cause
- encouraging employees to raise funds for a good cause
At some point, a leader’s got to lead. A big part of that is making timely, well-informed decisions. Get it right, and your business will thrive, but even a decision that later turns out to be wrong can provide valuable information.
While decisiveness is one of the key qualities of a leader, you’ll need to develop this skill by:
- creating mechanisms for collecting key business information
- communicating regularly with executives and employees
- using dashboards and tools to help you to understand and evaluate information
- having a clear perspective on your business goals
Empowerment is all about helping people in your company to grow and succeed. It’s important because people who feel stuck or unhappy will want to leave. In contrast, those who feel empowered will stick around. That gives your business the benefit of their experience.
So, what is a good leader to do to empower employees? Try:
- understanding what interests them and how they’d like to progress (performance evaluations or informal chats can be a good way to find out)
- giving employees a chance to take responsibility for a project, and supporting their decisions
- providing training and learning opportunities for employees
- mentoring employees to help them to develop their own leadership skills
Empathy is one of the leadership qualities that’s sometimes underrated, yet it’s one of the most important. It’s essential to see your employees as whole people rather than worker drones. And it’s also important to understand that their lives outside the office might affect their performance inside it.
If you want to lead, it’s important to have a sense of empathy.
As an empathetic leader, you’ll develop a deeper, more trusting relationship with your employees. After all, 90% of employees believe empathy is an important workplace value. Often, they’ll be inspired to put more into their work, which will be good for business.
To work on empathy, try this:
- Ask more questions.
- Listen attentively to the answers.
- Avoid judgment.
As an employee, one of the most annoying experiences you can have is having a leader who micromanages. It suggests that the leader doesn’t trust you and it’s a huge disincentive to stick around.
One of the best leadership qualities is knowing how to delegate a task. Successful delegation stops leaders from being overwhelmed and develops employees’ skills. To delegate successfully, you must:
- Choose the right person for the job.
- Set out your expectations clearly in terms of outcomes, deadlines and accountability.
- Provide support without taking over.
You can also provide incentives for successful completion of important tasks.
Learn more about leadership and business in the following article:
People work more effectively when they understand what they’re working towards. That’s why transparency is another of the characteristics of a good leader.
When employees feel that information is hidden, it creates a culture of mistrust, and rumors can run rife. Put everything out in the open, and it quells the rumors and creates an atmosphere of openness.
Some of the ways I’ve seen leaders cultivate a culture of transparency include:
- creating dashboards with key business metrics that all employees can access
- sharing roadmaps for product development openly
- blogging about the company culture, achievements, and even failures
As a leader you need to know where your business is going. Having vision is all about the big picture about where you want your business to end up. Your vision will incorporate many of the other leadership qualities. You’ll think about what your business stands for as well as its products and services.
Having vision as a leader will help you steer your business the right way. Here are some more resources to help you articulate and act on your vision.
Culled from Envato
Empowermentthe act of conferring legality or sanction or formal warrantMore (Definitions, Synonyms, Translation)