10 Key Qualities That Make an Effective Business Leader

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Mar 2015
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Author : Pete Peranzo

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Have you ever wondered how these and various other successful business leaders are/were able to wield such a strong influence in the world of business?

The answer lies in the question itself. They are Successful Business Leaders.

Cinema, Computers, Communication and Creative Arts – Steve Jobs played a massive role in changing how the world looks at these domains.

Indra Nooyi, the CEO of Pepsico made it to the Forbes list of ‘The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women’.

In spite of all the criticism, Larry Page has been successfully running the most influential company of the digital era – Google.

So a great follow up question will be – what qualities make them effective business leaders and help them stand apart from the competition?

Read on to find out.

1. Great Leaders. Great Communicators.

Leading, Planning, Organizing, Staffing and Controlling- there’s one golden thread that ties all these business activities together.

Clear Communication.

Consider this.

The historic two-minute powerful speech given by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863 at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania not only changed the course of human history but also set a standard for future leaders.

Famous business leaders are known for their skilled communication with employees, vendors, investors and clients. This is a trait you must have. People appreciate transparency and truth. Skilled communication can help get your message across in the right manner.

Mastering the art of communication is exactly what it takes to reach new levels of leadership excellence.

2. It takes real courage. It takes grit.

Inevitably, the tenuous state of economy has created immensely high levels of anxiety and forced many entrepreneurs to curl up in a ball.

But you can’t be in your shell for eternity, can you? You’ll have to manage your stress levels and at the same time take risks. Guts – that is what is needed to take those risks!

Who says it’s easy? But only those who step ahead with courage and lead change during downturns will come out real winners.

Dust off. Go ahead and take that decision which you have been planning for a long time. Invest in new ventures. Own up to your mistakes. Entertain new ideas. Explore.

3. Optimism- a key ingredient of innovation

So, how do you see that glass of water- half empty or half full? It is the way you perceive the world that matters the most.

In times of change, chaos and turbulence- optimism helps you keep going. It can be one of the most powerful strategies for your business.

Management, creativity, financial performance, and personal-professional balance- are some of the issues a lot of business leaders struggle with. You can cope with all these issues and more with a big dose of optimism.

Optimism is magnetic and enables open-mindedness. It helps you focus on opportunities and encourages confident decision making.

4. A Persistent leader refuses to give up

Failures are inevitable. But it is the ability to get back up after being knocked down that helps achieve real success. It is how you deal with failures that determine business outcomes.

There’s absolutely nothing that can take the place of persistence.

Facebook’s success speaks volumes about itself. According to TechCrunch, “Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg has been a key advocate of persistence. Determination, drive, tenacity or persistence is the most important variable, demonstrated by Mark through his relentless coding early on to launch Facebook to catch the Winklevoss brothers off guard; adding colleges; attacking MySpace and defending against the subsequent lawsuit from the twins.”

5. Making great decisions is a feat in itself

When it comes to business, there are dozens of decisions that need to be made every day. For e.g. hiring employees, firing them, repositioning them; or sharing a new marketing strategy with important stakeholders; sharing the bad news with your stockholders etc.

Great leaders understand how to balance emotion with reason and make decisions that positively impact the people surrounding them. Making good decisions in difficult situations is a feat in itself as they involve change, stress and at times lack of support from others.

If your dream is to become a good decision maker, here are some of the key things you must keep in mind:

Be quick. Be committed. Be analytical. Be thoughtful.

6. Mastering the art and science of team building

What is any company’s greatest asset? No, it’s not the products, brand or technology. It’s the team.

According to Jack Welch, “This whole game of business revolves around one thing, you build the best team, you win.”

Jack Welch, the former CEO of General Electric built a name for himself over a period of 20 years. Welch is well-known for his talent-centric management style and has long preached that companies are only as strong as the people who keep them running.

How do you build a great team? Here are some tips:

• Understand the needs of your team members.
• Define their role and responsibilities.
• Cookie-cutter approach is not allowed.
• Continuous improvement needs proactive feedback.
• Explain the significance of the change, the decisions you make.
• Give your team reasons to support you.

Team building is a difficult task, one that requires a keen understanding of people, their strengths and what exactly motivates them to work as a team.

7. A great Pursuer is meant to be a great leader

Are you satisfied with traditional business practices, static thinking, conventional wisdom, or common performance? If no, you possess one of the most essential leadership qualities – Pursuit.
Leadership is pursuit – pursuit of many things- excellence, elegance, of truth, change, value, results, knowledge, service and of something bigger than yourself.

Rule of Thumb: Pursuit leads to attainment. This leadership quality will determine the paths you travel, the people you associate with, the character you develop, and ultimately, what you do or don’t achieve.

8. Envisioning your desired result

Vision is about building a bridge; one that helps those who don’t know how to traverse.
It is an act of courage and generosity. In fact, vision is the root of leadership success.

For being a great business leader, you need to be able to clearly see where you choose to be in the future and formulate the necessary steps to get your organization there. Creating and sustaining a vision for an organization calls for discipline and creativity.

9. Passion fuels everything.

Passion is the crux of all great achievements. Think of all the great leaders and one common quality they share. They were driven. They were passionate. Only if leaders are truly passionate, employees feel like they are a part of the process – the process of creating important things. Passion for your vision is what encourages others, gives them a sense of belonging and excites them about accomplishing the same.

To get your team to connect with your vision and feel the passion that you share for the company, you need to kindle their interest in the same.

10. Embracing Humility

Humility is one of those leadership traits that are often overlooked. But latest research conducted on 1500 leaders and their employees clearly highlights humility as one of the key strengths of effective business leaders.

According to the research findings, “Leaders with a strong self-insight demonstrate a good understanding of their own needs, emotions, abilities and behavior. On top of that, they are proactive in the face of challenges.”

Being humble is not synonymous with being wishy-washy or a chump. Humility is all about:

• Being open to the opinion of others.
• Caring about the needs of others.
• Admitting mistakes.
• Engaging in self-reflection.
• Having faith in others.

If achieving extraordinary accomplishments is what you truly desire, you should know how to lead the pack. To create an extraordinary business organization these are the qualities you absolutely must have in your armory.

 

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