Leadership is perhaps the most important ingredient in every business success story. Here are the six top traits every leader needs to deliver success.
1. Effective planning
Leading an organisation requires, as a crucial first step, the knowledge of where you plan to take it. Proactively mapping the desired goals of the business, identifying potential problems and laying out contingencies will ensure that challenges are overcome and opportunities are seized on in the course of attaining clearly established goals. It is also important that any target is within reach – both in terms in obtaining maximum buy-in from employees and maintaining momentum.
2. Clear communication
It’s not enough to know where you want your business to go, it is essential those goals are shared effectively with the rest of the organisation. Effective and flexible communication skills enable these goals to be understood at all levels of the company, not simply the boardroom or upper management.
3. Team building
Recruiting, training and ultimately empowering your team is perhaps the most important investment a business leader can make. Great leaders understand the role that a skilled and motivated team can play in delivering an organisation’s results, and continually strive to surround themselves with the best possible people.
4. Continuous learning
The best leaders understand they can’t know everything about running a business or developments in their sector. And while reading the latest management books, subscribing to magazines or attending conferences are important, it is important to have access to mentors and advisers – inside or outside the organisation – who have encountered the same challenges. Avoid “yes men” and instead seek people who can provide real-world insight to help you grow personally and professionally.
5. Setting an example
Nothing motivates a team as much as the leader’s commitment to the company – to many, if not all, employees, good leadership is measured by what they do, not what they say. A good leader will be seen to be tackling challenges, proactively addressing issues and striving for improvements, and most importantly, doing so with integrity and transparency.
6. Accepting responsibility
As a leader, the buck stops with you – and you need to demonstrate it to the team. If your staff is poor, you need to accept that the hiring and training strategy is yours. If mistakes are made, it’s your company, under your leadership, who made them. Good leadership identifies problems early, accepts them as their own, and works to put them right. Delegating blame is always disruptive and counter-productive.
An ancient Eastern proverb says "To lead, one must learn how to follow." The following video is a perfect encapsulation of that point.
Do you have any additional leadership tips or leadership skills that you would like to share with us? Share your thoughts.