A Guide to Becoming an Effective Business Leader

8 Min Read
What skills and attributes do you need to develop to become an effective business leader? There are five key traits you'll need to cultivate.

There are many things that can have a direct influence on the success of a business. For example, one of them is who you have leading the company! But what is a business leader? And what skills and attributes do you need to develop to become an effective business leader?

Larger businesses may have more than one leader for different areas. However, the productivity of the team, processes, and organization is affected by how good these leaders and managers are at their jobs. You can start working towards becoming someone who can effectively manage and lead a business with ease. This guide will give you all the answers you need.

What Is a Business Leader?

Business leaders are at the heart of the company. However, there can be more than one within any organization.

Despite the obvious business leaders being in positions of power — such as the CEO, director, or president — smaller team leaders and managers are also business leaders. They may be responsible for different elements of the company. However, they are there to motivate employees, set goals, and achieve targets to work towards the overall aim of the company.

5 Key Traits of an Effective Business Leader

Of course, goals and outcomes will differ between business and industry. However, there are some key skills that will be present in all effective business leaders.

1. Excellent Communication Skills

Communication is the foundation of success, not only in business but in most aspects of life. Effective business leaders are able to communicate expectations, goals, and instructions with clarity and assertiveness. Likewise, they are also skilled at creating a space where employees feel comfortable to ask for help and guidance.

2. Creativity

An effective business leader is creative in the way that they approach challenges and problems. They are able to develop innovative ways to improve processes, organization, and productivity within their team. On top of this, they can influence employees to also begin thinking through this critical lens and solve problems for themselves.

3. Ability to Give — and Receive — Constructive Criticism

Nobody is perfect, and a business leader knows this. They have the ability to give constructive feedback to their staff in a manner that is not demoralizing. After all, they want their employees to grow, learn and develop their skills too. However, effective business leaders do not just give constructive criticism. They are also open and eager to receive it, using it to better themselves and their leadership style.

4. Ability to Self-Judge

Whilst receiving feedback from others is very useful, an effective business leader can notice their shortcomings themselves. They are able to pick up on areas of themselves that require improvements and work on them. Not only this, but they are not afraid to admit when they make mistakes. Mistakes lead to growth and growth leads to better business outcomes.

5. Works to Motivate and Encourage

A good business leader knows their employees’ professional strengths. They set goals and targets that are achievable and realistic, keeping team members motivated and giving them a sense of achievement. Additionally, effective leaders praise and thank their employees regularly. When people feel appreciated and rewarded, they work hard. An effective business leader knows how to use this to encourage productivity, loyalty, and determination.

Becoming an Effective Business Leader

You will not become an effective business leader overnight. The journey is a learning curve that twists and turns the whole way through your professional career.

And you must never forget that you cannot be perfect. There is always something to learn and further growth to be pursued. However, these methods will have you marching down the right path.

Practice clear communication.

The importance of communication cannot be highlighted enough. If employees aren’t sure what you want from them, you are not going to see the results you want.

Whilst communication is a two-way road, as a leader, you have to set the foundations. Organizing regular team meetings where clear goals can be set and people can provide updates on progress is a great place to start.

Communication as a leader is also about picking up on subtle hints and needs of employees, showing empathy, and being aware of your non-verbal communication. Take note of your tone of voice and body language when talking with employees. You want to be encouraging and open to make them feel comfortable and engaged.

Always look for ways to improve yourself.

You can always make improvements! This is true both personally and as an organization.

For example, studying for a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) will give you the advanced knowledge and skills to be able to solve complex business problems and develop professionally. Ashton University’s online DBA course has been designed for business leaders, professionals, and future executives to develop an understanding of processes through links to theory, applied research, and in-depth analyses.

Always take the initiative to make improvements to yourself. No matter how big or small, consistently make self-improvements to work towards becoming an effective business leader.

Listen to others.

Listening is a large part of communication. Honing this skill is absolutely critical. As a leader, listening covers a wide range of aspects.

You have to actively listen and respond to your employees. All of them. Whether they are asking for guidance, voicing their concerns, or putting forward a potential idea. You want them to feel respected and valuable, so make time for them and their concerns.

They are coming to you with hopes of change, improvements, or growth. You need to respond in a way that shows they are heard, their contributions to the company are important, and how they are feeling matters to you.

Lead by example.

Everyone has had or has heard about the lazy manager type that barks out orders to everyone else and then floats around not really doing anything. Don’t be that person.

You are the business leader, and if you aren’t working hard, why should your employees? Seeing you actively taking on tasks yourself, working towards the company vision, and putting in effort sets an example to everyone else. You show what is expected. You motivate them to want to work hard for you.

There are some key skills that all leaders possess. Now you know what they are and how to develop them. You are well on your way to becoming an effective and admirable business leader.

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